Take a look at the words in bold above. It’s almost guaranteed that they will be on your lips this year – perhaps many times. Do you recognize them? The writer was secure – he had security.
But do you know who wrote them? Or when? Or what kind of man he was?
The words are over 3,000 years old. They were originally written in Hebrew by King David, who was King of all Israel and who reigned from Jerusalem until around 970 BC when he was succeeded by his son, Solomon.
King David was a very successful King indeed. But his life and reign were difficult and stressful. He wrote this song – Psalm 23 – amongst many others. So many did he write – and compose the music for - that he humbly asked that, on his tombstone, he should be described as “the man who was raised on high, the one anointed by the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel.” In effect he wanted to say to those for succeeded him, “I write the songs. I write the songs.”
But look closely at this particular song because in it King David sets out two reasons why he is secure.
First, he was secure because “the LORD is my shepherd.” Because we in Jersey are responsible for our own security we look around us and can see many threats, internal and external. And we can also, to a very limited extent, picture the threats which we cannot see - the threats which the LORD alone, as shepherd can see.
But who is “the LORD”? The Hebrew word which King David used for “LORD” was in fact a name which, when translated into Arabic Script would read YHWH. But over many centuries this name of the Most Holy God of Israel was considered to be too holy and too mighty to be taken onto the lips of any human being. So it was replaced in all translations with “the LORD”.
Second, he was secure because the LORD was his host – the host who looked after him just as a host looks after a guest at a meal in the host’s home. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”