Sunday, June 09, 2013

Psalm 23 In Its Original Desert Context

I took this photo of a shepherd with
his sheep in the desert wilderness of
Israel, above the Dead Sea
When my friend Hal Ronning (Hebrew University and the Home for Bible Translators) spoke at Redeemer on "Psalm 23 From the Perspective of the Desert," he gave us his Ps. 23 translation as understood in light of its original context.

Hal and his wife Mirja (herself a great Old Testament scholar, also teaching at Hebrew University) have lived in Jerusalem for 40 years. They are familiar with the desert terrain that Psalm 23 is situated in. Linda and I have been there, too. To me this Psalm comes alive when you realize just how barren that area is, and how rare and precious still waters and green pastures are.

I suggest that you print this out and carry it with you for a few days, using it to meditate on. When God speaks to you write it down in your journal.

Here it is!

"When the LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing!

He is able, even in dry inhospitable desert terrain with a multitude of circling confusing paths, to lead me to the right path that brings me to the rare grassy patches and by restful waters, where I can lie down completely satiated. He refreshes my soul! He does all of this for His name’s sake!

Even when I walk in a ravine with shadows bearing deathly dangers, I fear no evil, because YOU are with me. Your rod of leadership and your leaning staff - comfort me.

You prepare a banquet table in front of my enemies and you pour good oil on my head – my drinking bowl is full to the brim! Nothing but goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life and I will stay in the Lord’s dwelling place for days on end."