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In response to a writing prompt recently, I prayed and asked God to reveal to me times when He had used “a small thing to make a big difference” in my life. I was immediately reminded of all the many times in my life when God revealed to me that He had been with me all along. Over and over again, I could see throughout my life, as I would go through a crisis, the “small thing that made a big difference” in my life was the Twenty-third Psalm. It is small when compared to other Psalms, it only has six verses, and yet God has used it to make a big difference in my life, helping me experience His Peace and enjoy His Presence in the midst of every crisis.
When I wake up at 2:00am, I meditate on the Twenty-third Psalm, and gently drift back off to sleep praying…
The Lord is my shepherd;
I lack nothing.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Yea, 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 runs over with blessings.
Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
When I am praying for others, I picture Jesus, my Shepherd, in the green pasture of the 23rd Psalm. As I pray, I take whatever concern I have, or the person for whom I am interceding by the hand, I walk out to the meadow, the green pasture, and I place my concern, or the hand of the person for whom I am interceding, in Jesus’ hand…knowing that He is sovereign, He loves me, and He loves the person for whom I am interceding more than I do. He has a plan, a hope, and a future for each of us…and I walk away, thanking God for how He is working in my life and in the lives of those for whom I am interceding. I experience a feeling of peace…as Catherine Marshall prayed, “Lord, I trust You…You know what You’re doing…I relinquish my will to Yours.”
…as Catherine Marshall prayed, “Lord, I trust You…You know what You’re doing…I relinquish my will to Yours.”
When a brokenhearted friend calls with news of the sudden homegoing of a loved one, we pray the 23rd Psalm…
O Heavenly Father, we ask you to wrap Your Loving Arms around us today. You are close to the brokenhearted and You save those who are crushed in spirit. You are our Shepherd, we lack nothing. You make us lie down in green pastures, You lead us beside the still waters. You restore our souls. You lead us in the path of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for You are with us. You are Emmanuel, God with us, we are absolutely certain, You are with us at this time. Your rod and Your staff, Your Holy Spirit and Your Word, they comfort us. You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. You anoint our heads with oil, our cup overflows with blessings. Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
The 23rd Psalm begins with David talking to someone, probably himself, as he says, “The Lord is…He restores me…He leads me. All of a sudden, when he faces a crisis, the valley of the shadow of death, he immediately begins to speak directly to the Lord, “For You are with me”…When we go through a crisis, it is a matter of talking to the Lord yourself, for He is with you, underneath (green pastures), beside you, in front of you (table), surrounding you, chasing after you (goodness and mercy), and ahead of you (house of the Lord).
For every need presented in this Psalm, God has a name to meet that need. For every circumstance, God has a name to overcome that circumstance. David knew the Great Shepherd. The LORD comes from the name Jehovah. He is the Great “I AM.” He depends upon no one. There are seven names of God paired with each verse in the 23rd Psalm…
There are seven names of God paired with each verse in the 23rd Psalm…
JEHOVAH-RA’AH—The Lord is my shepherd;
JEHOVAH-JIREH—The Lord, my provider—I lack nothing.
JEHOVAH-SHALOM—The Lord, our peace—He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.
JEHOVAH-RAPHA—The Lord, my healer—He restores my soul:
JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU—The Lord, our righteousness—He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
JEHOVAH-SHAMAH—The Lord, ever-present—Yea, 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.
JEHOVAH-NISSI—The Lord, our banner—You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies:
JEHOVAH-RAPHA—The Lord, my healer—You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows with blessings.
JEHOVAH-JIREH—The Lord, my provider—Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Ask people which scripture they love the most and which has meant most to them, and many would point to the Twenty-third Psalm. The Lord has used it to dry many tears and lift many out of the pit of despair and discouragement. This small Psalm deals with almost every adverse circumstance in life and how to win over it…truly, a small thing that makes a big difference, amen?
* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ