We are frequently encouraged to “give,” but can only give what we have received. In simple terms, affirmation and gratitude are the receiving modes in spiritual life. When we give, what joy we feel when the gift is happily, enthusiastically received! How must God feel when we ask for and receive his blessings and promise of life abundant!
The Bible is filled with affirmations of God’s presence and glorious gifts. One of the most loved affirmations is Psalm 23, the “shepherd’s Psalm.” It is simply stated as fact. It is deeply personal: “The Lord is MY shepherd.” In contrast, the Lord’s prayer is both personal and universal: “OUR Father…”
Here are 2 versions: The well known, poetic King James version, and a lesser known by Ferrar Fenton (1832 – 1920). According to Wikipedia, “Fenton spent approximately fifty years working on his translation [of the Bible], with his sole goal ‘to study the Bible absolutely in its original languages, to ascertain what its writers actually said and thought’ ” And he restored the “Psalms into the musical verse form as close to the original as he could get.” – mjd
PSALM 23. A Psalm of David.
My LORD attends;–I shall not want;–
He lets me rest in verdant fields,
He leads me by the Pleasant brooks,
He brings me back, my life refreshed,
To skip with joy, and praise His Name.
Though I may walk through Death’s dark Vale,
I fear no hurt, for You are there,
Your rod and staff direct my way.
You spread my board before my foes,
With flowing cup have oiled my head.
Kindness and mercy follow me,
On every day I live;
And in the LORD’S House I shall dwell,
To lengthen out my days.
– Translated by Ferrar Fenton
The Bible in Modern English, Fourth Edition, 1906
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
– King James Bible