Rewriting Psalm 23… I’ve done this exercise many times and I’ve found so much life in it. I’ve found that the Spirit will highlight different part of this brief chapter each time I reflect on it, and out flows a different version of the words.
Recently, two things were of special notice.
1. Jesus Himself is the green pasture! He is leading us into Himself to experience his love and live by his own divine life.
2. It seems odd that Jesus would be preparing a feast for us while our enemies are closing in around us. Unless of course, He has already defeated all our enemies and knows that they have no real power over us. When we realize this, we need only to rest and feast at the Lord’s table, where He sustains us and feeds us with His life. Taking on this posture of ignoring the enemy at our feet and resting peacefully at the Lord’s table shames the enemy and displays Jesus’ own character to the world.
Here’s my paraphrase with these two themes highlighted.
Psalm 23: Mark’s Paraphrase
Thank you Jesus that You are the Perfect Shepherd, and in Your life, we have everything that truly matters. We only need to keep our eyes fixed on You, and You guide us into the greenest pastures – Your Life! By Your Spirit, these pastures that are green and vibrant beyond all compare, are located inside of us. In faith, we look within to find You and we rest in Your presence. Your life in us gives a peace so that we can relax, like taking a long nap next to a bubbling stream. We are healed and restored to our true selves as we sit with You. From this place of rest and trust, we follow You anywhere You lead, and those who see us recognize You and call us by Your name.
Even when the path to Your green pastures winds through dark and dangerous valleys, we keep our eyes on You and fear nothing. Your gentle and patient leading brings an inner contentment despite our circumstances. Even when we are surrounded by enemies on all sides, You invite us to rest and feast in You, the Bread of Life. While we have no power in ourselves, our resting and feasting in Your life in all things brings shame to any who stand against You, and renders them powerless against us. True religion is on display to the world as we dine at your table in rest and joy. Meanwhile Your Spirit, Your scent, Your being blooms inside of us so that we overflow with Your life.
We are joined together with You for all eternity, and we will live with Your family in Your house forever.
Follow the Life!
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