The Sweetness of the Twenty-Third Psalm
Many of the very young people in our church are learning Psalm 23 as part of their Sunday School program. To help the psalm stick in our children’s minds, the families have been asked to read Psalm 23 in their homes as often as possible. In the evenings, with my wife and three young girls, we’ve been reading, reciting, singing, and talking about this beautiful psalm.
As I sat at my desk considering what I was going to blog about, I glanced over at Charles Spurgeon’s The Treasury of David. As Psalm 23 was in my mind, I thought I’d see what Spurgeon had to say on the subject.
What I discovered was a lovely quote by Henry Ward Beecher on the sweetness of Psalm 23.
“David has left no sweeter Psalm than the short twenty-third…
It has charmed more griefs to rest than all the philosophy of the world. It has remanded to their dungeon more felon thoughts, more black doubts, more thieving sorrows, than there are sands on the seashore. It has comforted the noble host of the poor. It has sung courage to the army of the disappointed. It has poured balm and consolation into the heart of the sick, of captives in dungeons, of widows in their pinching griefs, of orphans in their loneliness. Dying soldiers have died easier as it was read to them; ghastly hospitals have been illuminated; it has visited the prisoner and broken his chains, and, like Peter’s angel, led him forth in imagination, and sung him back to his home again. It has made the dying Christian slave freer than his master, and consoled those whom, dying, he left behind, mourning not so much that he was gone as because they were left behind and could not go too.
Nor is its work done. It will go on singing to your children and my children, and to their children, through all the generations of time; nor will it fold its wings till the last pilgrim is safe, and time ended; and then it shall fly back to the bosom of God, whence it issued, and sound on, mingled with all those sounds of celestial joy which make heaven musical forever.”
— Henry Ward Beecher, quoted in C.H. Spurgeon’s The Treasury of David (Volume I)
You may have noticed that I’ve been quieter than usual on the blog of late. One significant reason is that I experienced the unwelcome sting of grief. During those days and weeks I read Psalm 23 often.
Reading Beecher’s words today—in a far more beautiful way than I ever could—he described the sweetness and the soothing balm that this psalm was to me during my pain.
Consider Psalm 23 today.
A sweet psalm indeed.
A Psalm of David.
1. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4. Even 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.
5. You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD