The Lord is my Shepherd

Lanita Perez 

"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will 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 anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."  Psalm 23

St. Reed Missionary Baptist Church is where I attended Sunday services as a child. I enjoyed participating in Sunday school class every week. The most exciting time of all was when the students received speeches twice a year to recite for the upcoming Easter and Christmas services. My sisters and I competed to see who could memorize their lines first. The speeches were always scripture from the bible copied on small pieces of paper. We had just two weeks to memorize our bible scriptures. Our teacher didn’t allow us to choose so there was always much anticipation as to what scripture we would get. No one wanted the smallest piece of paper which meant that the scripture wasn’t long and would probably not impress our audience.

On one occasion to my surprise I received the 23rd Psalm in its entirety; wow was I excited! I had already memorized part of the 23rd Psalm so learning the rest would be simple. I would impress the whole congregation with my outstanding memorization skills! Then the time had come for me to recite the scripture and I did it without stumbling on any of the words. I felt like I had done a terrific job! After I received a huge applause and plenty of worshipers saying “Amen” I saw my mother motion me over to her; so I went. Mom made it a point to get really close to me when I reached her. I knew that I was in some kind of trouble, because she was not applauding, not smiling or saying “Amen”. She whispered in my ear that the scripture I had just recited is very important. I should not just memorize scripture for others to admire, but pray to God about understanding it. Later she mentioned that a cow regurgitated its food and I should do the same with scripture (that’s weird, I thought). She continued by saying I would be able to gather the meaning of the scripture if I meditated on it and would learn how to apply it to my life. I suppose she noticed my prideful attitude in trying to impress others instead of pleasing God. At that time I didn’t take her advice seriously, but I did take note of it in my mind.

Needless to say those words of hers took on a new meaning when I came to understand what the 23rd Psalm meant to me personally and to my relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ. I learned that being able to recite scripture is not enough, but I needed to take God’s word and hide it in my heart. His word is useful for many things to help me live a Christian life and I need to meditate on it day and night. Today the 23rd Psalm means so much to me and I’m glad I took the time to learn it and hide it deep into my heart.

Will you hide God’s word in your heart and allow it to become a treasure chest of instruction for your life? What is God’s word saying to you? What scriptures have you allowed to become promises that you depend on for living life and how you deal with others?

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