Psalm 23: Not Just for Funerals
Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. It is made famous by hearing it over and over again at Christian funerals. It is usually printed on the back of the memorial folder containing a short biography of the person who died.
Words for the Dying!
As a hospice chaplain, I frequently read the Psalm 23 beside the bed of someone who is minutes away from dying, with the family gathered around the bed. It stirs emotions. Often tears flow. This is the end. My loved one is leaving us. Never to return in the same way again. Psalm 23 in our culture is associated with death.
Joy for the Living
The original intent of Psalm 23 is Joy for the Living. When David pens this song, he hopes his song will be associated with JOY. Joy over how awesome our Shepherd is. Our shepherd leads us, provides for us, and walks with us throughout life.
Green Pastures & Deep Darkness
Our Shepherd sometimes leads us through Green Pastures (vs.2). We love the Green Pastures! A place of rest…relaxing, enjoyable, peaceful. Our Shepherd also leads us through deep darkness (“shadow of death” vs. 4). We hate darkness. In the dark we are afraid, alone, and insecure.
OUR SHEPHERD’S HOUSE
Whether your Shepherd is leading you through green pastures or deep darkness … you belong to him. He cares for his own. Your Shepherd is walking with you on your journey to your final home: OUR SHEPHERD’S HOUSE (vs 6). What a house He has prepared for you … A new heavens & new earth (Rev.21). Green Pastures everywhere. No darkness anywhere!
Don’t let Psalm 23 be just a funeral home mantra. Let it be a song of joy in your heart!