In one of his commentaries on the story of Jacob’s ladder, Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggeman – compares the promises Jacob received to the 23rd Psalm. In that story, God makes some promises to Jacob in a dream: “Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised.”
When Jacob wakes up, he restates God’s promises:
God is with me.
God will keep me.
God will give me bread to eat.
I will come again to my father’s house in peace.
Brueggeman writes, “The promises here given and received are echoed in Psalm 23…” These are promises that people of faith have claimed for hundreds and hundreds of years. He goes on to assert, “The psalm is not a cliché, but a studied summary of the best promises of God and the deepest yearnings of Israel.”
Let us pray today claiming these promises, using this psalm. Please pray with me:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.