Lectionary Commentaries for June 25, 2017
Preaching Series on Psalms (3 of 5)

from WorkingPreacher.org

Narrative Lectionary

Commentary on Preaching Series on Psalms

Rolf Jacobson

[This is Week 3 of a 5-week preaching series on Psalms.]

[This is Week 3 of a 5-week preaching series on Psalms.]

[This is Week 3 of a 5-week preaching series on Psalms.]

Week 3 (June 25, 2017)

Preaching text: Psalm 23; accompanying text: John 10:1-4

A Psalm of Trust

Very similar to the prayers for help, the psalms of trust are prayed from a situation of severe crisis: “the valley of the shadow of death” (23:4), the times when “evildoers assail me” (27:2), or when the “waters roar and foam” and the “mountains tremble” (46:3). The major difference between the prayers for help and the psalms of trust is the dominant mood. Both types of psalm depend on God. Both types of psalm at least imply a request for help. And both types of psalm include expressions of trust. But whereas the prayers for help strike the dominant note of fear and desperation, the psalms of trust hit the chord of trust. They confess “I fear not, for you are with me.” Or, “the Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge” (46:7, 11). As such, one might imagine the prayers for help the prayer of those who are younger, who are going through their first times of crisis. The psalms of trust are the words of those who aren’t riding in their first rodeo. They have been through dark valley before, they’ve experienced God’s steadfast love in the midst of suffering before, and they so trust — even though the dangers are very real. That is to say, these are not naïve psalms. They clearly and powerfully express the very real dangers and threats in life. And — in the midst of those dangers — the confidently express trust by means of a series of powerful metaphorical images for God: Shepherd and Table Host, Light and Salvation, Fortress and Refuge, Guard and Guide, etc. In the end, these psalms know that “you are with me, your rod and staff they comfort me.”

Hymn Suggestions:

  • “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”
  • “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want”
  • “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”
  • “Through the Night of Doubt and Sorrow”
  • “Day by Day (Your Mercies Lord Attend Me)”