by Erin Bird
For several weeks this past fall, I found myself repeatedly going back to Psalm 23. In fact, I spent much of my annual spiritual retreat in November contemplating it and praying through this famous psalm. I found the poetic words comforting, yet convicting. So I would like to take the next several weeks here on the blog to walk through possibly the most famous psalm of the 150 psalms God collected into the canon of Scripture.
If you aren’t familiar with Psalm 23, I highly encourage you to take a moment to read all of it right now. You know what, even if you are extremely familiar with it or even have it memorized, still take a moment to read it. (It will only take you about 45 seconds to read.)
So now that you’ve just read this beautiful poem, let’s talk about Batman. 🙂
A couple of weeks before Christmas, LeAnn and I decided to try a new TV series to watch on Netflix. After considering several options, we settled on “Gotham,” a series that looks at the Batman origin story from the viewpoint of James Gordon, a rookie Gotham police detective. (We only saw the first episode as I was fasting from Netflix for the 21 Days of Prayer. So if you’ve seen the series and have determined it isn’t very good, tell us before we invest much time into the series!)
In the first (and only episode) we watched, young Bruce Wayne (who becomes Batman in his adult years) witnessed his mega-wealthy parents get robbed and murdered in an alleyway. When Detective Gordon and his partner arrive on the scene, Gordon walks over to a scared Bruce to talk and calm the boy’s nerves. As the detective and the boy talk about what happened, the Wayne family butler, Alfred, arrives on the scene. As soon as Bruce sees Alfred, he immediately leaves the conversation with Gordon, and runs into the arms of the one person he thinks can comfort him in his grief.
If you read Psalm 23a moment ago, you see it begins with the phrase, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Like Bruce running to Alfred for comfort, God wants us to run to Him for comfort and protection. A good shepherd always makes sure his sheep get enough food and rest, as well as protect the sheep from predators. A sheep learns that its shepherd is someone who cares for it and provides for it, and so a wise sheep will stay close to the shepherd and even run to the shepherd, knowing that its well-being is tied to this man who devotes his life to its care.
So for David to start his famous song with the words, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” he is acknowledging that God is a loving, ever-present, caring God. David is reminding himself and his readers that if one is going to find comfort in life, the best place to run is into the arms of a caring shepherd.
So will you run to God today? If you participated in the 21 Days of Prayer, running to Him simply looks like the continuation of what you've been doing here at the start of 2020. But if you haven't been making it a practice or habit yet, tune into His protecting arms in prayer. When struggles come, simply breathe in a deep breath, and as you exhale, remind yourself, “The Lord is my Shepherd."
We'll talk about the "Lord as our Shepherd" even more next week.
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