As a kid, my favorite Scripture was Psalm 23. After my pastor gave me my first real Bible, I hovered over that beautiful section frequently. The Bible was a lovely, children’s version that he had inscribed to me, in his flowing, elegant handwriting. Most likely he gave it to me because I was typically the kid showing up to Sunday School without a Bible. If I did have one, it was the tiny miniature style not really meant for study.
I loved the soft watercolor pictures of children just like me sprinkled throughout the text. Their faces appeared to know and understand God deeply. I wanted to be that kind of kid, one that had a content love for God.
In my Bible, Psalm 23 was paired with a picture of a shepherd boy relaxing in a deep field of green, gazing hopefully toward the sky. I memorized every section of that painting and the words alongside it. They became a sweet balm for my spirit. As a child, I longed for a heart like the shepherd boy’s. I wondered if those words could really be true for me, too.
Now as an adult, Psalm 23 has become a prayer when I can’t sleep. It is a reminder of how God’s words sing true, even after all these years. As you may know, the Psalms were written around the time of Moses, up until Babylonian captivity, from 1440 BC to 586 BC. Of the 150 Psalms about half were written by David, along with other less familiar names like Asaph, who wrote twelve, and the sons of Korah, who wrote nine. I think it is interesting that there are fifty-one Psalms for which we don’t really know who the author was.
The Psalms were not written to document history, although there are some historical accounts sprinkled throughout them. Truly, they are about honesty, love, desperation, hope, fears, and longings for our God. They are poetry and song, shouts and whisperings, the very human heart seeking the touch of our Father. They are the lurkings of the soul. I find it surprising, yet perfect, that our God would not just give us a Bible with guideposts, rules, history, and lessons, but it includes the honest heart words to show us how He cares for and understands us.
This summer, I will be walking through book of Psalms as an opportunity for renewal in the homeschooling walk. Each month, I will be writing about a selection from Psalms and sharing thoughts for how we might consider them in a fresh way. I will be referencing a resource called, The Book of Psalms by Robert Alter that gives commentary and a rich study of each Psalm. But truly, your trusty Bible and journal are all you need to journey along with me.
When I first read Psalm 23 as a nine-year-old, it was a calming, relaxing sanctuary to me. My parents were in the midst of a painful divorce and my mother was coming unglued from the stress and pressures of raising five children alone. I was worried constantly about what would happen next for our family. Yet, God was there. The church and the sweet community became the one thing that I could count on—the solid rock of safety, the sweet refuge of His love. The pastor, in his knowing ways, placed that Bible in my hands and it became something good to hold on to. It was the start of a journey of learning God’s healing ways and that hope in Him would sustain me. In many ways, Psalm 23 started it all for me.
My prayer is to revisit the Psalms this summer as a way to recapture that child-like faith. Let’s pour over the passages of healing balms and rich words to be reminded of His vast provision. Let’s journey together through the Psalms to refresh our faith in vibrant ways, discovered beautifully during the season of splendor.
Come Walk through the Psalms….
- Read Psalm 23 slowly and as if for the first time.
- Journal about how the Psalms have influenced your faith walk.
- Ask God for abundant rejuvenation this summer. Ask for vibrant refreshment in Him and His word.