Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Meditation on the 23rd Psalm

Every now and again God’s good gifts come knocking at your door and, instead of politely waiting to be invited in, crash through the door in an overwhelming flood. I am still reeling from the fact that in just a few weeks time I will, by God’s grace, have the opportunity to meet face to face with some of my dearest online friends. This is truly a gift beyond gifts. To say I am excited about this is an understatement. I prefer the word “verklempt”.

In this frame of mind, I have been struggling to find any clarity of thought to write a blog post. I thought it would be fitting to share with you instead an article written by the greatest gift God has given me in my life, my dear husband Pete. Next month we celebrate 17 years of married life together, and his love for me has been demonstrated by his providing me with this gift of meeting up with my friends. He is truly, as his name means, my rock.


The LORD is my shepherd, I’ll not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and loving-kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

The LORD is the personal name of God and was first given to the Jews through the prophet Moses. However, this name has not been pronounced by the Jews because of reverence for the great sacredness of the divine name. It has often been transliterated Yahweh but the actual pronunciation is uncertain. Consequently it is translated the LORD in our bibles. Its meaning ‘I AM that I AM’ carries the sense that God is saying that He will be the ever present ever faithful God. Actually these very qualities are attributed to Jesus in the book of Hebrews where it says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. In short the nearest one word English equivalent is the word always.

In the bible there are seven occasions when this precious and beautiful name of God is linked with another word in the Scriptures. Each of these names reveals some aspect of the nature and character of God - who He is and what He wants to be or do in our lives. The meaning of each of these names is revealed throughout this well known and greatly loved psalm.

Yahweh Rohi actually means Yahweh (The LORD) is my shepherd.
Yahweh Jireh means Yahweh is my provider. And if God is my provider then truly I shall not want!
Yahweh Rapha means Yahweh is my healer, the One who restores my soul.
Yahweh Shalom means Yahweh is my peace. The One who makes me rest by still waters.
Yahweh Tsikendhu means Yahweh is my righteousness. He is the One who can lead me in paths of righteousness.
Yahweh Shammah means Yahweh is ever present even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Yahweh Nissi means Yahweh is my banner the one who prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.

I believe that it is a great shame that we do not know how to say God’s personal name, a name that he graciously gave to mankind, a name to be used in the context of a loving family or the closest of friendships. As such it is a lovely reminder of the relationship Christians have with God. We are His slaves, friends and even more wonderfully, sons and daughters. To enjoy this relationship and come to know him as Father, as Jesus taught us, we need to acknowledge that our desire to rule our own lives (what the bible calls sin) has cut us off from this relationship. However, the good news of the gospel is that if we come to him in repentance; acknowledging that He has the right to rule our lives and that He loves us as a Father who truly knows and wants what is best for us, then this relationship can be restored because Jesus died so that our rebellion (sin) against Him can be forgiven.


  1. Dearest Diana,

    I've taken the time to sit with the boys this afternoon and go over this wonderful teaching with them. It reinforces what I've been teaching them for the past two years, Paul Washer's One True God study. I so appreciate the care Pete gave to Psalm 23, bringing out the riches of His wonderful Name.

    Love you,