FAITHFUL WORDS Dr. Kenneth L. Faught Finding a good shepherd “The Lord is my shepherd . . .” (Psalm 23:1a). David wrote Psalm 23 before he was the king of Israel and as an expression of his thoughts and meditations as a young shepherd boy. He has given us an understanding of God that is born of everyday life and everyday needs. He begins by expressing his convictions and confidence. In Psalm 23 we have David’s theology, and it revolves around the One whom he knows as “Lord.” There are two possible orientations in theology. The first may be described as lordship theology and sees life as revolving around God and who he is. The second may be called prosperity theology and revolves around us and what God can do for us. Everything in life is reflective of some fundamental understanding, or misunderstanding, of God. The prophet Jeremiah saw God as the potter and humankind as the clay. The Apostle Paul’s first question upon conversion was, “Lord what do you want me to do?” Around what, or whom, does your life revolve? Do you have a lord? I’ll bet you do. Can you name him or her? In Psalm 23 we have David’s testimony, and it is expressed in the words “my shepherd.” Once David established the issue of lordship in his own life, he moves on to declare personal relationship with the one who is lord. He does not say, “The Lord is a shepherd” or “The Lord is the shepherd,” but “The Lord is my shepherd.” In John’s Gospel that relationship is expressed even more fully- The Good Shepherd knows his sheep; calls the sheep by name; leads and feeds the sheep; shelters, protects and defends the sheep; gives his life for the sheep. Do you know the Good Shepherd personally? In Psalm 23 we have David’s sense of timing for his relationship with God. It’s an extremely important little word “is.” David is giving an up-to-the-minute testimony. He is not living in the past. His religious conviction and commitment are not just memories of an earlier time. Because “The Lord is my shepherd” David can claim a whole host of blessings. Stay tuned or go ahead and read verses 2-6! Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.