Poetry and Promises

Nothing mingles quite like poetry and promises. We see how beautifully they marry in the Bible, especially throughout the book of Psalms, which consists of 150 lyric poems. But Psalms also has a treasure hold on God’s promises.

During the month of April we’ll weave our way through this lyrical, non-rhyming, and foundational book, allowing its poetry and promises to encourage us…so that we might encourage others.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. Psalm 23:2

Psalm 23 holds a special place in my life. In the weeks prior to my uncle’s death (he was in his early 50’s) I would drive over and spend my mornings with him a few times each week. In addition to the cancer invading his body he was also blind. It was for this reason he always enjoyed it when I read to him. He loved passages on heaven but often requested his favorite psalm, Psalm 23. By the time I reached the sixth verse, I could hear his breathing shifting to a slower pace. The peace surrounding him was almost palpable.

 

God’s promises are powerful to the living, but they are a life preserver to the dying.

 

Phillip Keller’s A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 is a tremendous resource in learning more about the relationship between sheep (us) and the shepherd (Jesus). One of my favorite insights from his book is when he points out that sheep are the most useless, and dare I say, stupid animals. {Ouch!} He also shared how it’s almost impossible to get sheep to lie down and rest. Most refuse unless four requirements are met:

  1. They must sense a freedom from fear.
  2. They must sense freedom from tension with other sheep.
  3. They must sense freedom from aggravation from flies and.or parasites.
  4. They must sense freedom from hunger.

I don’t know about you but I see a lot of myself in the above four requirements. Countless hours of rest have been deprived over fears I’ve struggled with for years, or tension between myself and another person, or just the nit picky things that aggravate the fool out of me. Hunger? Never! {I wish.}

Psalm 23
Whatever keeps you up at night or steals your God-given right to rest in the middle of the day is yet another reminder that we need a Shepherd, a good Shepherd.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

I recently struggled with some emotions that I knew were not God-glorifying. I pushed them down below the next item on my to-do list and continued on, knowing I’d have to deal with them at some point. The emotions, and the thoughts that go with them, continued to distract me for days. I finally made my way up the stairs with my Bible in hand and had a “come to Jesus” meeting right there in the window overlooking the city. I feel sure that some passersby thought I was talking to a ghost. Silly people. I was talking with my Father.

Immediately following, my soul experienced a rest it had not enjoyed for days. My Shepherd forgave me, revealed truth to me, and comforted me. The city pace below us was hectic but my soul was at rest beside the still waters of grace in His presence.

The gift of poetry and His promises assured my uncle that his true rest was right around the corner, his joy, just a breath away. And isn’t this true for us all?

What is your favorite verse in Psalm 23, and why? Please share in the comment section below. Blessings to you!

The beautiful artwork used for my Poetry and Promises graphic is courtesy of Ann Marie Bone. Please visit her Facebook fan page to connect with her and to see more of her amazing work. Thank you so much, Ann.

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