1. When the Lord’s my Shepherd I am His own lamb,
    Sharing His own nature, walking in His plan.
Not like a wolf to howl and seize the prey,
    I’m happy with His peaceful grassy way!
(Repeat last two lines)

2. When the Lord’s my Shepherd waters are so still;
    Troubles don’t upset me, resting in His will.
Kept from all straying by His staff and rod;
    Laws and corrections: comfort from my God!
(Repeat last two lines)

3. When the Lord’s my Shepherd enemies are near;
    But He spreads a table filled with holy cheer.
“Come and partake, you wand’rers in the way!
    My cup o’erflows to everlasting day.”
(Repeat last two lines)

4. When the Lord’s my Shepherd I am His own sheep;
    Only follow His voice, His commandments keep.
Goodness and mercy follow all my days;
    In His own temple I will sing His praise!
(Repeat last two lines)

– based on Psalm 23


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In this poetic paraphrase of Psalm 23, I’ve tried to relate the various images to points of importance in the gospel message as it fits to our day:

  1. “sharing His nature” – This was the foundation of the revival of the 1888 message, which Fred Wright experienced and later taught around the world. The old spiritual nature, also called the “stony heart,” “old man,” “unclean fountain,” and “carnal mind” needs to be removed, and a new nature put in its place: the nature of Jesus Christ, the new spiritual Father of the human race. Fred used to say, “we are not men with new ideas, we are NEW MEN!”
  2. “walking in His plan” – refers to the Sabbath Rest message, wherein we were taught that God is our Plan-Maker, Problem-Solver, and Burden-Bearer. This is the true principle of the Sabbath, which is lived throughout the week: resting in God’s plans. It was what Abraham learned in the struggle to obtain a promised son: God promised the son, and it would come in His plan, and His way. Human plan-making always delays God’s work, and robs Him of His glory.
  3. the “peaceful, grassy way” – refers to two things. First, to the principle of non-violence, which is a part of God’s kingdom, where truth and love are the prevailing powers; Second, to the vegetarian diet which God has prescribed for these last days, especially in those countries where there is abundance, and meat-eating is a luxury that robs the poorer parts of the world from obtaining enough food to survive.
  4. “resting in His will” – again refers to the Sabbath Rest message, and the truth that we are to look to our Father in heaven as Jesus did. Our main purpose in this world is to do the will of our Father in heaven, to please Him. In everything we need to ask, what would my Father want me to do? How can I best please Him? Then we will have the smile of His approval, which will give us perfect rest and contentment. It is because so many people do not have this relationship with their Father in heaven that they seek the praise and approval of others, but no true rest can be obtained in that way.
  5. “laws and corrections” – refers to the prominence of the Law as the foundation of God’s kingdom and character. Protestants have followed the path of Rome in setting aside the divine statutes, by perverting the gospel into an excuse for sin, and misrepresenting the Law as legalism. But true law-keeping is righteousness, and it is the purpose of the gospel to make us into a law-keeping, law-loving people. God’s Law is not only the foundation of His government, but is a transcript of His character. Being conformed to His image means being made lawful.
  6. “enemies are near” – like Cain, who slew his brother Abel, the true gospel makes enemies among those who stubbornly cling to their own righteousness and their own supposed goodness, and will not humble themselves and accept the healing God offers.
  7. “He spreads a table” – God never intended that His church should stop advancing in truth. To those who truly follow God, His truth will constantly unfold in new and fresh revelations.
  8. “come and partake” – The truths that God gives are not to be hoarded…they are for the benefit and blessing of the whole world. While not many will appreciate them, there are always some “wand’rers in the way” who long for the rest and comfort that only the living truth can give.
  9. “only follow His voice” – There are many self-sent messengers who claim to have a message from God, but God has His own way of appointing His leaders: Gospel Order. The leaders God appoints will build on the past foundations, will not call attention to themselves, will be recognized by the faithful in the church, and will only speak what God gives them to speak. These are the true under-shepherds, whom the sheep can trust.
  10. “in His own temple” – the temple of God in heaven is the center of Christ’s work for us. God’s people on earth will have their eyes of faith turned towards that temple, following Christ and cooperating with Him in the work He is doing, as He ends His ministry as High Priest. When He returns to claim them as His own, they will stand in that temple, on the sea of glass, praising Him who brought them safely home.

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