Reading time: 3 minutes
While living in Edinburgh, we had the wonderful privilege of joining with a new church plant (it was only 3-4 months old when we joined). Due to very tight governmental regulations in Scotland, they have had their Sunday gatherings online via Zoom for a long time. A few weeks ago, they started a four-week series on Psalms 23, and asked if I would speak on one of the Sundays. I was delighted.
Seeing that I was concluding the series, I attempted to provide a birds-eye view of the chapter. I spent several hours preparing and decided in the process that I would write a book on Psalms 23 that consisted of a collection of meditations. I began the book in the process of preparing the talk and wrote somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,000 words.
I then stopped.
In my preparation, I came across the following audiobook on Scribd (far superior to Audible!!!) that grabbed my attention: A Shepherd Looks at Psalms 23 by Phillip Keller. The description reads: As a shepherd, Phillip Keller shares his insights into the life and character of sheep—and of the Good Shepherd who loves and cares for them . . . . this beloved classic will give new meaning to the ageless Shepherd Psalm, enriching your trust in and love for the Lord who watches closely over you.
At times, I was deeply moved. I was also blown away by how much I had missed in prior readings of the beloved Psalm that unfortunately is often relegated to the funeral pile of Scriptures. Even after spending a couple of weeks reading and rereading the Psalm as well as plowing through multiple commentaries in Logos, nothing compared to Keller’s insight. The bottom line is this: he spent a significant amount of time working as a shepherd in East Africa. He had experience which I didn’t have, and it made all of the difference.
The book was so insightful, informative, encouraging, comforting, and challenging that it only took a few hours of listening to decide that any book I write on the topic would be a disappointment both to me and others. Besides, I would probably begin the book with, “Please put my book down and read Keller’s,” which would not exactly be a good marketing strategy.
Suffice it to say that Keller’s book is rich with insight and makes this Psalm come alive as never before. There are some things that you simply cannot see in this Psalm if you have never been a shepherd. Also, Keller does a wonderful job explaining that many of the blessings in Psalm 23 depend not so much on the sheep as on the shepherd. Who doesn’t need to be reminded of this grace-filled message?
The message in this book is a powerful reminder that Christianity is a humble faith, not a power-grab strategy for those wanting to get ahead in our performance-saturated culture. So if you are looking for a book to read, need help trusting in the Lord, and want to grow in the peace and rest that results from trusting the Lord, this book is for you. Please read it. I believe it will really impact you as it did me.
Soli Deo Gloria.