‘The Lord Is My Shepherd’

As a boy I was enchanted by the story of my namesake, David, the shepherd boy, who defeated the giant Goliath in mortal combat, armed only with his sling and a well-aimed stone, and so became a celebrated archetypal national hero. Apparently, at one time, the courageous, devoted, risk-taking David was not only a man after my own heart, but also ‘a man after God’s own heart’ (Acts.13:22)

The beautiful heart-felt songs of David, the shepherd-boy singer-songwriter, have resounded through the centuries, touching the hearts of generations of people of faith, until this very day, when thousands of years after it was written, the Authorised English Version of his most famous poem is, without doubt, still the most well-known, well-loved song in the whole of the bible.

Psalm 23 expresses a deep, personal, faith in God as a God of love; portraying God as a good shepherd, leading, feeding and looking after his flock, whom, according to tradition, he knows individually by name, protecting them with his ‘rod’ and ‘staff’ and providing for them ‘in green pastures’ by ‘still waters’:

‘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.

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.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’

Psalm 23:1-6

Dave Andrews

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