A personal psalm reminds us of a personal God

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Back in the old days, when trains were a primary means of transportation, a family set out to visit relatives across the country. They had to spend the night on the train, but discovered that their compartment didn’t have room for their young daughter. So they set her up in the next compartment. They assured her that they were right next door and that if she needed anything, all she had to do was call out and they could hear her and they’d be right there.

They thought she was settled in when she called out, “Mommy, are you there?”

“Yes, dear, I’m right here.”

A few minutes later, “Daddy, are you there?”

“Yes, I’m right here.”

Trying to sleep in the next berth on the other side was a weary salesman, returning home from a convention. When the little girl called out again, “Mommy, are you still there?” the salesman couldn’t contain himself.

With growing irritation, he said, “Listen, Mommy’s here, and Daddy’s here, and I’m here, too, so let’s cool it and get some sleep.”

A moment later, the little girl broke the silence with “Daddy, was that God?”

People are naturally curious about God. What is God like? Psalm 23 reminds us that “The Lord is my shepherd.” He’s a personal God who invites us to have a personal relationship with Him.

This is a personal Psalm. As you read through this short passage that Henry Ward Beecher called “The Nightingale of the Psalms,” we find that the writer uses “I,” “my,” and “me” 17 times. Martin Luther declared “The heart of religion lies in its personal pronouns.”

This great Psalm has brought encouragement and inspiration to people through the ages. Charles Allen wrote about a nervous, anxious executive who met with him for counseling. The man told Allen about work pressures, marital stress, and other troubles that were robbing him of peace in life. The man had tried prescriptions that were not helpful, so Allen took his pad and wrote out another prescription: “Read Psalm 23 five times a day for the next seven days.” The man did and it helped him find peace.

I encourage you to take a moment to read it and meditate on it.

Someone wrote:

The Lord is my Shepherd …
That’s relationship!          
I shall not want …
That’s supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures …
That’s rest!
He leadeth me beside the still waters …
That’s refreshment!

He restoreth my soul …
That’s healing!
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness …
That’s guidance!

For his name’s sake …
That’s purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
That’s challenge!

I will fear no evil …
That’s assurance!
For thou art with me …
That’s faithfulness!

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me …
That’s shelter!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies …
That’s hope!

Thou annointest my head with oil …
That’s consecration!
My cup runneth over …
That’s abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life …
That’s blessing!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord …
That’s security!
Forever …
That’s eternity!
 


Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville. The church is located at 352 McDonough Road, just past the driver’s license office.  The church family invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org and like them on Facebook.