Psalm 23-A New Take

You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

Psalm 23:5 (The Message)

I have always loved Psalm 23, and reread it often. Actually, there are many passages in the Bible that I return to often. Whether for encouragement or because they give words to what’s in my heart. But to hear these familiar passages or to read them in a new way is often so helpful! It can shed light on something familiar. And make something new and fresh. It also helps me to remember why my God is so worthy of worship!!

The Message Translation of the Bible does these things for me so often. It forces me to really pay attention to the language of God’s Word, rather than breezing right through it.

Here is all of Psalm 23:

1-3 God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

I love the imagery that these words evoke… He lets me catch my breath, He makes me feel secure and revives my drooping head. His beauty and love chase after me EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE!

Eugene Peterson, the man who translated The Message from the original Greek and Hebrew, says that he did so because he realized that the adults who were in his Bible classes weren’t experiencing “the vitality and directness that [he] sensed as [he] read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek”. So he wrote straight from the original text, and brought into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. It was his intention to engage his congregation and readers in the same way that he knew the early readers of the New Testament were captured, engaged and impacted by the writings.

I think he’s been able to do just that, for The Message is certainly an engaging read!

Here’s another favorite verse: Isaiah 26:8

We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger
in the path sign-posted with your decisions.
Who you are and what you’ve done
are all we’ll ever want.