This Sunday, we will read the familiar words of the 23rd Psalm. Although I can sing you a musical setting of Psalm 133, and I can more or less tell you the words of Psalm 121, this psalm--Psalm 23--is the only one that I really know by heart. It's the only one I've taught to my children. It's as familiar to me as any part of the bible, yet I still see new things within its words.
Today, as I sat with someone and offered a few lines from that psalm, I heard something different. As the NRSV puts it,
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Who does? He does. The LORD, my shepherd, does. Not my pastor. Not my counselor. Not my therapist. Not my spouse. Not my mentor. Not even me. Who does? He does.
Although I'm not arguing for a gender-specific understanding of God, it was the repeated pronoun "he" that grabbed my attention. Saying it over and over felt like God was drilling that truth into me. It is not I who find green pastures. It is not I who seeks out still waters. Instead, like a sheep, I am led by the good shepherd to that place of peace and restoration. I cannot find it on my own. Only he can lead me there.
Whom are you following? What are you following? Are you letting God lead you, or are you still fighting for the front of the line?