Comfort from Old Pages

Post date: Oct 26, 2010 1:10:34 AM

Every so often I flip through an old book that provides me a great deal of insight, encouragement, and comfort.

With joy I pass that book along to you:

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller

Psalm 23 is often read at funerals. Yet, it is more about life than it is about death. Phillip Keller looks at the Psalm through the eyes of a man who grew up in East Africa amongst native herders. From this experience he adds color and detail to a familiar passage of scripture.

Here is a sample:

"The day I bought my first thirty ewes, my neighbor and I sat on the dust corral rails that enclosed the sheep pens and admired the choice, well-bred ewes that had become mine. Turning to me he handed me a large, sharp, killing knife and remarked tersely, "Well, Phillip, they're yours. Now you'll have to put your mark on them."

I knew exactly what he meant. Each sheep-man has his own distinctive earmark which he cuts into one or other of the ears of his sheep. In this way, even at a distance, it is easy to determine to whom the sheep belongs.

It was not the most pleasant procedure to catch each ewe in turn and lay her ear on a wooden block then notch it deeply with the razor-sharp edge of the knife. There was pain for both of us. But from our mutual suffering an indelible lifelong mark of ownership was made that could never be erased. And from then on every sheep that came into my possession would bear my mark."

It is from this excerpt that Keller adds color and detail to the opening line of Psalm 23, "The Lord is my shepherd." I pray that you have experienced the Lord's indelible lifelong mark of ownership that can never be erased.

The book was first published in 1970. I have a old copy that I found at a library book sale. I love the vintage look and smell. Yet, you can easily order a newly printed copy.