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The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
This is one of the most well-known passages of scripture, if not the most well known Psalm. We see it all of the time at funerals, which is fine, but I'm not sure that is the context for this.
This was written by the guy that snuck into the enemy camp, while the army of the enemy was sleeping, and spared his arch-enemy. (1 Samuel 26 is like an action movie) This was written by the guy that snuck out of his own house while his wife stuffed the bed with goat fur and a household idol (?!) that the king's men came in and attacked.
This Psalm was written by a man almost constantly on the run protecting sheep as a kid and leading an entourage of ex-cons and felons on the run from a crazy tyrant king as an adult.
As you read and pray this Psalm today, read it with action. Don't think of saccharine funeral home music and Precious Moments figurines. This was written by an exhausted, body-odored, man that was exerting himself to run after God's plan for his life.
This Psalm was not just written for funeral homes, but upon a newly silent battlefield through blood, sweat, and exhaustion.