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The Places of Psalm 23: A Paraphrase

I have been meditating on Psalm 23 anew this week ever since a sister in a home group meeting shared about the different “places” mentioned throughout the psalm. Credit goes to her for the original idea behind this.

The Lord is my Shepherd.
He leads me through different kinds of places.
But in all these places, because there is Him,
There is Enough.

The first place He ever took me was called Green Pastures.
Within it, we found Quiet Waters.
We got there along the Paths of Righteousness.
He taught me all the way:
“This is for lying down in.”
“This is for drinking.”
“This is for walking along in order to get there.”

And then one day, the Paths of Righteousness
Led through the Dark Valley
On the way to get to Green Pastures and Quiet Waters.
I did not like Dark Valley one bit.
It did not look like Green Pastures.
It did not smell like Quiet Waters.
I could not believe that Paths of Righteousness would go through here.
But when we started out, my Shepherd and I,
I realized that Dark Valley now had one, and only one,
Good thing about it now:
He was there.
That good thing stayed with me the whole way through.
That was the only reason I wasn’t too scared to go on.

And it helped to know that He was armed.
He has a straight stick to beat up wolves with
And a curved stick for pulling me out of any pit I fall into,
And once, when I thought I had had enough of the Paths of Righteousness
If they led through this Valley of Stupid
And I was going to go marching off into the darkness
Looking for Greener Pastures,
He threw the straight stick so it landed next to me, and yelled,
Which scared me so much I jumped back onto the path where He was
And probably saved my life.

And then the Paths of Righteousness did lead out of the Dark Valley again,
They really did, but they led to another place I liked even less:
The Presence of My Enemies.
I did not like it there at all. I wanted to go back to Quiet Waters.
The Shepherd said, “Ignore them. I’ve got you.”
I asked what we were going to do here.
He said we were going to have a party.
I thought it was a terrible place for a party.
We had a party anyway.

There were some good things about that party.
It was a spread out-feast. He prepared all of it.
He prepared it for me. It was a cup-overflowing party.
A Holy Spirit-falling party. An anointed party.
Even though I kept looking over my shoulder at the fact
That it was all in the Presence of My Enemies.
They were making really nasty faces at us
But they didn’t dare do anything more.

Yeah, those are the kinds of places we’ve traveled through.
All kinds. I asked Him where the Paths of Righteousness finally led to.
He said they led to The Father’s House
(You should see His face when He talks about that Place!).
I asked why the path we took to get there was so winding.
He said everything He ever did was to prepare me for life in The Father’s House.
I asked if we were ever going to stop traveling.
He said when we got to The Father’s House, we’d stay there forever.

Published inParaphrased Psalms


  1. Lainie McWilliams Lainie McWilliams

    This was a timely word. Several of our Student Leaders are quite discouraged. I was able to share this paraphrase with one just now and he “happened to be” spending time in Ps. 23. It was just like the Father to give him a timely encouragement from the very spot in the Father’s book he had already been spending time in.


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