Preaching and Praying in Prosperity and Predicaments

April 11, 2012 at 11:32 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 4 Comments
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John 3:16 and Psalm 23 may be the most well-known passages of Scripture in the Bible. Even non-Christians are usually at least a little familiar with these verses. At most major sporting events, the reference of John 3:16, if not the actual text, can be seen on a sign or banner. Seldom do we see a movie or TV program depict a funeral without someone reading from Psalm 23. However, I wanted to point out just a couple of lessons from this Psalm that you might not have heard mentioned before.

First, notice the change in narrative mode. What I mean is, the first three verses of the Psalm are in “first person.” They are declarative statements about the Lord, and they sound very personal to the psalmist.

[A Psalm of David.] The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psalm 23:1-3

We read, “I,” “me,” “my,” and “He.” These statements are from the point of view of the psalmist, and seem to be spoken to us. But, suddenly, in Verse 4, there is a change. The psalmist begins to address the Lord directly.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:4-5

Why the change? Why go from talking about the Lord to talking to the Lord? Perhaps this is a reflection of the change in scenery. In the first three verses the psalmist does not lack anything good. He has green pastures, still waters, a restored soul. We tend to talk about the Lord when things are going great. Sometimes, though, it takes a valley of shadowy death to make us talk to Him.

In church, we spend most of our time talking about God. We need to always try to remember to take some time in church, though, to talk to Him in prayer. One day born-again Christians will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. In the meantime, we meet at His house in an assembled congregation at periodic times to worship Him, and to not only talk about, but to actually thank Him personally for, His goodness and mercy.


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