Engage with the Word Giver
A group of us are reading Psalm 23 daily in preparation for reading Life Without Lack by Dallas Willard. In our rush to read we might be tempted to focus more on quantity than quality. If we can only see the words we can miss their meaning. But if we change our reading style to one of reflection, contemplation, meditation; if we think about, ponder and wonder about scripture our reading shifts from gathering information to one of engaging in formation.
How do we do this? Let’s take the first phrase, “The Lord is my Shepherd” and consider the following questions to help us enter into thoughtful consideration of its meaning and particularly its meaning for us.
What does it mean to be a shepherd? What is the role of a shepherd? God implies that he, too is a shepherd. How do you experience God as your shepherd?
If one is a shepherd then there must be some sheep. How do you feel about being a sheep? Remember not to give the expected response, but the response that is authentic for you at this time in your life.
Are there times God leads you up rocky paths, paths that hurt your feet and are difficult to climb? Are you on such a path now?
Are there times you want to take over the rod and staff and become your own shepherd? When your life heads in your own direction do you recognize you are no longer following the Shepherd? How is it working out to be your own Shepherd?
Answering questions such as these helps us recognize who the Shepherd is and what role we allow the Shepherd to have in our own life. What discoveries are you making as you reflect on this psalm? What might God want to tell you through these 5 words?
When we reflect on phrases or brief passages of Scripture, we can uncover discoveries of deeper meaning for our current situation. Such conversation can help us move from a relationship with God based on information to one based on intimate connection.
So, read slowly, thinking deeply and wait patiently for him to speak to you.