Psalm 23 – The Chill Shepherd

handwritten copy of Psalm 23 from Bible with Alter Eco Dark Velvet organic chocolate (47% cacao content)

Today’s passage: Psalm 23

Today’s chocolate: Alter Eco Dark Velvet organic chocolate

Psalm 23: a mainstay of everyone’s “favorite psalm” lists. I can’t recall ever memorizing it for any of the children’s church Bible memory programs I was involved in, yet somehow it got drilled into my head through sheer exposure. Well, mostly, anyway; when I tried to reproduce it from memory today, I found I was rough around the edges on verses 5 and 6.

Sometimes I have trouble going to sleep. My mind keeps thinking about everything under the sun, and it refuses to shut off. But when this happens, I often recite portions of Psalm 23 to calm myself down, notably the first three verses–which explains why I get rusty toward the end. But it works! The repetition helps keep my mind from running with no direction from problem to problem, anxiety to anxiety. It focuses my mind and calms it down so I can sleep.

Consider: “He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters” (2). There are so many calming words here: “lie down,” “green pastures,” “quiet waters.” And God’s taking the lead. Imagine that you can be made to lie down. When you can’t get yourself to relax, how comforting is it to know that it’s not in your hands? Verse three, “He restores my soul.” You just let God do his thing. You quit trying to shepherd your own life and let him cause you to chill out.

wrapper/packaging of Alter Eco Dark Velvet organic chocolate bar    interior of Alter Eco Dark Velvet organic chocolate wrapper w/ fair trade cacao farming story

We’ve got a new chocolate today: Alter Eco Dark Velvet. I was a little skeptical when I saw “47% cacao” on the label, which didn’t seem nearly dark enough, but it’s milky and sweet without compromising that dark-chocolate bite. And of course it’s fair-trade. Check out that label for the cool true story of a group of Alter Eco’s Peru-based suppliers, and how they got out of the drug trade and into cocoa farming and environmental restoration.

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5 thoughts on “Psalm 23 – The Chill Shepherd

  1. This is great. I have experienced many restless nights, and I always want to fix it. I think that if I change my thought pattern, focus on nothing, or get lost in a calming daydream, I will find rest. It rarely turns out that way though because I forget to rely on God to give me rest.

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    1. Well, as useful as Psalm 23 is for getting to sleep, it’s not a magic bullet. I’d love it if God would just knock me out for eight hours at 11 PM every night, but…y’know, if he let David go through some restless nights, we shouldn’t be surprised if sometimes he lets the same happen to us.

      But I think you get that. Scripture memory and mental recitation isn’t a way to strongarm God into letting you sleep; as you put it, it’s a way of relying on God to give you rest and peace. Thanks for the comment, Courtney!

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    1. Good thoughts, Jon. I especially liked the point that Jesus’ emphasis is on himself as shepherd, dedicated to the well-being of his sheep–not on us as sheep, stupid and largely incompetent. And like the most dedicated shepherd possible, he’ll even die for the sheep! Thanks for sharing your post. :)

      Liked by 1 person

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