March 30, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 37



Monte Holland

This is the thirty-seventh in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or 

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 36

Today’s photographs feature Holy Trinity Church in Ligonier, PA.  To view click on:

Images of God – Psalm 23

     Some Bible passages are much more familiar than others. We have already studied the very familiar Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40). One of the most familiar chapters in the Bible is Psalm 23, which has words of comfort that are often shared at funeral services. Many persons can recite Psalm 23 in the King James Version. Let us use that most familiar version:

Psalm 23 (KJV)

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

   2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

   3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

   4Yea, 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.

   5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

   6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

     In living the Godly, moral life relating to God is essential. What images of this eternal, invisible God do we have? As visual-oriented people, how do we “see” God?

     Psalm 23 starts with an image that made much sense to the Old Testament Israelites—the shepherd. I don’t personally know one shepherd, and I suspect that you don’t either. Yet we have an image of what a shepherd is, much of which comes from reading the Bible.

     Shepherds first and foremost care for sheep. Jesus taught that a shepherd with 100 sheep would leave ninety-nine that were grazing together to seek out one that had strayed and was lost. The shepherd carries a crook that can capture a sheep on the run, and has a sheep dog that he could order to keep the sheep herded together.

     The Lord God as our shepherd is a comforting image—God provides our basic needs, God leads us to green places to rest, by still waters, and along paths of righteousness. Even though enemies are around, God puts a bountiful table in front of us. God is with us even in the face of the greatest threat, death. God is a shepherd, a protector, comforter, and most of all a deliverer—delivering us into the eternity of God’s presence once life on this earth is over.

     There are no specific instructions about the Godly, moral life here, but one gets the idea that God expects us, in thankfulness for God’s presence and care, to live the Godly, moral life. Nothing less is appropriate for the Shepherd that we come to know so well through the Shepherd Psalm.

Exercise: If you do not know Psalm 23 in the King James Version, spend some time memorizing it for future inspiration in times of trouble and grieving.

Continue on to the next lesson on A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: 38 by clicking on:  A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 38


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Monte and I welcome any comments you might have on the Lenten posts. Use the COMMENT box below to respond. For details on the COMMENT CONTEST click on:



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