Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lamb Reflections

A little while ago, I was illustrating my way through the Psalms.  It was an excellent way for me to relate to God's word helped me remember what I was reading, and let me respond in a way that was new and fresh and exciting, and kept me coming back for more.  Since we're on sheep this week, I thought I would share what I wrote in my journal when I encountered the 23rd Psalm.
"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  
He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
he leads me beside still waters, 
he restores my soul.  
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  
Even though I walk through the valley of shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me.  
Your rod and your staff they comfort me."  v. 1-4

I learned this Psalm when I was in my pre-school Sunday school class.  In unison, my class and I would chant this and the Lord's prayer every Sunday.  I had no idea what it meant, but I could repeat all of the words back to you if you asked- King James Version.  (My Sunday School teacher, Aunt Sis, as everyone called her, was THE matriarch of our church.  You did what she told you to do. She was hard-core and awesome.)  So because I can quote it from rote memory, its not a Psalm I read often, or even think about much because it seems like such a "cliche" Bible verse.

But this time when I read it, I really took my time to digest and ponder all that it means.  It is so rich in symbolism and imagery that it is not difficult to illustrate.   I always have loved Biblical imagery about shepherds and sheep because I grew up on a 30 acre sheep farm.  (Yes, I was a 4-H nerd.)  I feel like I can vividly imagine what a shepherd looks like as he gazes over his flock.  I can smell the smells of sheep- wet wool and dewy grass, and straw, and yes, all the smells that come from sheep. I know how stupid sheep are and how dependent they are on their owner.  They are defenseless- they don't even have top teeth to bite their enemies.  All they can do is eat, walk, and produce wooly fleeces.  

I love the idea that God is my shepherd.  I love that He calls me a sheep.  It puts our relationship in perspective.  I can see how much he loves me.  I can see how much I should depend on him.  

I was a sponge when I read Psalm 23 this time. This is what I felt God was telling me through these verses.  

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  

As in, "I'm in control of you.  When you accept all that I have and all that I AM, you're not going to feel like you need anything else but me."    

He makes me lie down in green pastures.  

 "Here you go, here are all the rich blessings I want you to enjoy.  I'll take you exactly to the places where I know you can grow the most.  We're going to sit down in this place and just rest here together for a while."

He leads me beside still waters.

 "Stay right behind me, I know where I'm going.  I know this place where we can go together and you'll feel refreshed."

He restores my soul.  

 "Remember how you felt before you were so weary?  You're going to feel that way again, because it's going to be ME that does the healing, not you."  

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  

 "Follow me, and I'm going to show you the path that others before you have taken to heal.  The others that took this path remained righteous and upright because they trusted me.  They did this not for themselves, but because they wanted to honor me through their journey."

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.   

 "It didn't catch me by surprise that we're in this place together.  You were following me.  I know it is scary.  I know you can't imagine what we are doing here.  I know that shadows are cold and you miss the pastures and water.  But look what we are doing.  We aren't lying down and resting here. We're not stopping to drink.  We are WALKING.  We are moving.  Don't fear the shadows.  I placed them there so you'd stay close to me while we walk here together."

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.    

 "And if you don't believe me, look what I have in my hand.  See?  It's my staff.  I know there are going to be times when you're not going to want to listen to my voice.  I know there will be times when you question why we're here.  That's when I'll gently prod you and remind you that we have better places to go together.  This rod and staff are proof of that.  I wouldn't need it if this was the place I intended on staying forever with you."

I think it's funny how God puts images in your mind and uses them to prod you where you need to go.  For me, it was the staff- a curly swirl that I kept seeing over and over- in the wrought iron of my clock, in the branches of a tree, in the cream of my tea when I stirred it into my cup.  I just love how the gentle Shepherd prods, directs, comforts, guides, heals, and speaks in a way that each of us can relate to Him, even when we do act like stubborn sheep.      

If you are interested is delving a little deeper into the 23rd Psalm, I recommend this little gem of a book:  A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.  (It's $3.99.  Who can pass that up?)



  1. Megan, I love your psalms drawings. I love the idea of responding to Scripture in that way. And I love getting to hear your heart and witness your conversations with God. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. these words and images are beautiful, thank you for sharing :)