We are living in a society that is increasingly becoming ignorant of the scriptures. But if you were to take a poll, I would guess that the two passages that might still be known by many would be John 3:16 and Psalm 23. "The Lord's my Shepherd" comes from Psalm 23, often called the Shepherd Psalm, probably the most beloved of all the Psalms. This passage is often used at funerals and people probably love it because it speaks of green pastures and still waters and restored souls. But more than that, it speaks of an all-knowing, all-powerful Shepherd who devotes full attention to our care and feeding. It assures us of God's loving presence in our lives, both now and forevermore. Over the years a large number of different lyrics and musical arrangements of these words have appeared. The most familiar and well known musical version of this Psalm is that which is found in the "Scottish Psalter of 1650" set to the tune Crimond. In 1562, a collection of metrical psalms was published under the title, "One and Fiftie Psalmes of David in Englishe Metre". Some of these had been translated by Thomas Sternhold, who died prior to their publication. In the 1640s, Francis Rouse (or Rous) (1579 - 1659), an English Puritan, translated all 150 Psalms into metrical English. As a result he is often listed as the author of this hymn. "The Lord's My Shepherd" as a song has its roots in the Reformation, when Luther and Calvin, especially Calvin,emphasized singing psalms. Calvin advised: "We shall not find better songs nor more fitting for the purpose than the Psalms of David, which the Holy Spirit spake .... And moreover, when we sing them, we are certain that God puts in our mouths these, as if He Himself were singing in us to exalt His glory." Though it was well-loved in Scotland, "The Lord's My Shepherd" did not enjoy popularity outside the Church of Scotland for nearly 300 years. It finally appeared in the Methodist Hymnal of 1876 and later the Congregational Hymnal of 1916. But it wasn't included in an Anglican hymnbook until 1965. The hymn version of Psalm 23 remains faithful to David's psalm. Its popularity in England grew in part because of its use during the 1947 marriage ceremony between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Since that time, it's become a well-known hymn, often requested for weddings and funerals. This Psalm is a beautiful psalm with application to all aspects of our life. Let me close this blog by sharing a line by line outline that someone recently shared with me. The Lord is my shepherd = RELATIONSHIP.; shall not be in want = SUPPLY; He makes me lie down in green pastures = REST; He leads me beside quiet waters = REFRESHMENT; He restores my soul = HEALING; He guides me in paths of righteousness = GUIDANCE; For His name's sake = PURPOSE; Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = TESTING; I will fear no evil = PROTECTION; For you are with me = FAITHFULNESS; Your rod and your staff they comfort me = DISCIPLINE; You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies = HOPE; You anoint my head with oil = CONSECRATION; My cup overflows = ABUNDANCE; Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life = BLESSING; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD = SECURITY; Forever = ETERNITY. As you meditate this week on this psalm and on this hymn, remember that God provides all that His flock needs.
1 The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want;
he makes me down to lie
in pastures green; he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.
2 My soul he doth restore again,
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of righteousness,
e'en for his own name's sake.
3 Yea, though I walk through death's dark vale,
yet will I fear none ill;
for thou art with me, and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.
4 My table thou hast furnished
in presence of my foes;
my head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.
5 Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me;
and in God's house for evermore
my dwelling-place shall be.
You can listen to it here. LISTEN
if you enjoy music by male groups, you might enjoy this as well. LISTEN2