The God Squad: Psalm study guide, Psalm 23 — part 3

Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

The defeat of fear comes not in some grand assault on the enemy fortresses but rather in the calm resolve to continue the small but sustaining rhythms of our lives like eating a meal. Eating a meal under the ravenous gaze of the wolves shows them that this shepherd and this flock will not be panicked or routed or dispersed or deflected from their true and natural course to the pastures of hope. Even in the time of fear, the shepherd and the flock celebrate the abundance of the green pastures and the belief that freedom is not an accidental possession but an anointment by a God who wants all to be free and all to live in peace.

What do you most fear? What part of your faith and your life diminishes those fears? What ordinary things have you done or could you do each day to confront those fears with calmness and courage? Remember Winnie the Pooh’s friend Piglet who said, “It is hard to be brave when you’re only a Very Small Animal.” (A.A. Milne)

23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The only things we can always control in our lives is our courage to be good and kind. Everything else is just not our business. The eternal life of our souls in Heaven/The World To Come is not a reward for goodness and kindness. It is a gift of God’s grace either directly from God (Judaism and Islam) or from God through the atoning death of Jesus (Christianity).

Describe in your own words what you think the 23rd Psalm is really about.


Let me know.

Happy studying.

(Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including “Religion for Dummies,” co-written with Fr. Tom Hartman.)

©2021 The God Squad. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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