You Are With Me

Since several have asked for the copy of Psalm 23 that I read on April 22, I have decided to share my preaching notes for that sermon. After you read this, I encourage you to look at several translations of Psalm 23 and create your own version.

May God’s word bring you peace,
Bob Clark

You are With Me
Psalm 23
April 22, 2018

 Introduction

After Jesus was raised from the dead he spent time with his followers.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul lists a number of the occasions when Jesus appeared to and spent time with his followers after being resurrected. Why? The point, or one of the points, it seems to me, is teaching us about the presence of God. God is with us.

This had been an important teaching in the Old Testament. God repeatedly communicated to people that he was with them, he was in their midst.

God is pictured walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden

The Tabernacle presents God as present with the people as they travelled around. If the tabernacle alone were not enough, there was a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night to remind them all – God is with us!

And then there was the temple….

When we open the New Testament, we discover Jesus is our Immanuel – God with us.

And, of course, these post-resurrection appearances remind us in that time between the death of Jesus and the promised coming of the HS at Pentecost, that God is with us still.

So in times when we don’t have the words to comfort one another, perhaps the best thing we can do is remind each other of the presence of God. When I have no words of my own to share…I remember God is with us, that Jesus is our Good Shepherd.

So today I want us to spend some simple, quiet time with our Shepherd. I have found that in times when we have no words of our own, we are better prepared to hear God’s words.

Some of you may want to open your Bibles to Psalm 23.

Others may want to close your Bibles and just listen.

I am going to read Psalm 23 today; that’s all, just read Psalm 23 so we can focus on the presence of God; to know, to feel, to experience the Good Shepherd being with us.

As I read I will be piecing together five translations – NIV, NRSV, CEB, NLT, and MSG.

To get us ready, let’s imagine we are sitting down beside a stream, with a pool of still water…and let’s be quiet….

Listening to God’s words

The Lord

The Lord is

The Lord is my SHEPHERD

The Lord is MY shepherd

God, my shepherd!

 

The Lord is my shepherd…

 

I lack nothing.

I shall not want.

I have all that I need.

I don’t need a thing.

 

The Lord is my shepherd,

I lack nothing….

 

He makes me lie down in green pastures

He lets me rest in grassy meadows

In green meadows

Lush meadows

 

The Lord is my shepherd,

I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures…

 

He leads me beside quiet waters

Still waters

Restful waters

Peaceful streams

He finds me quiet pools to drink from

 

The Lord is my shepherd,

I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters…

 

He refreshes my soul

He restores my soul

He keeps me alive

He renews my strength

He lets me catch my breath

 

The Lord is my shepherd,

I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he refreshes my soul….

 

He guides

He leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake

The proper paths

True to his word, he leads me in the right direction

 

The Lord is my shepherd,

I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

 

Even though I walk through the darkest valley

Even when I walk through the darkest valley

Even when the way goes through Death Valley

 

I will fear no evil

I fear no evil

I fear no danger

I will not be afraid

I’m not afraid

 

For you are with me

YOU are with ME

You are close beside me

You walk at my side

 

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me

They protect me

They protect and comfort me

Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk

through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

 

You prepare a table before me

You set a table for me

You serve me a six course dinner

You prepare a feast for me

 

In the presence of my enemies

Right in front of my enemies

 

You anoint my head with oil

You bathe my head in oil

You honor me by anointing my head with oil

You revive my drooping head

 

My cup overflows

My cup is so full it spills

My cup is overflowing with blessings

My cup brims with blessing

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk

through the darkest valley,

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 your goodness and love

Your goodness and mercy

Your goodness and unfailing love

Will follow me, pursue me, chase me

As long as I live

Every day

All the days of my life

 

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I’m back home in the house of God.

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk

through the darkest valley,

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 your goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever.

 

Contemplation

Which line stands out as you hear it?

Which line brings you the most comfort?

Which lines functions to help keep you grounded in God?

Let’s read it one last time…listen….

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk

through the darkest valley,

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 your goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever.

 

Conclusion

We are not alone. May we always be aware of the presence of God, whether we are deep in the valley, or high on the mountaintop.

God is with us.

You are with me. Thank you, God.