Why the Change?

Psalm 23 is a very familiar psalm. In fact, I think believers and non-believers alike have heard it so many times that they can quote it from memory. Memorization is great, but we must be careful to not allow the words to lose their meaning. When we quote a verse, are we just reciting the words or are we really thinking about what the verse is saying?

While doing my Bible reading this morning, I read through the familiar psalm. I was almost through when I realized I wasn't paying attention to what I was reading. My eyes saw. My lips spoke. My brain? Well, it was somewhere else. So, I went back and started reading again, and I saw something I had never noticed before. In the hundreds of times I've read, heard, and quoted it, I've never seen this. It's amazing what happens when you actually pay attention!

In verses 1-3, David is talking about the Lord. "The Lord is. . ." "He maketh. . ." "He restoreth. . ." But, look at what happens in verse 4. He completely changes his point of view or point of reference. Beginning in verse 4, David is actually talking to the Lord. "Thou are with me." "Thou preparest. . ." What happened between verses 3 and 4? Why the change?

Could it be that in the writing of this psalm, David remembered how precious the Lord is? Perhaps, David's change had to do with familiarity. After all, verse 4 talks about walking through the valley of the shadow of death. David had been there. Maybe, these verses meant so much to David that they reminded him that he was not alone. It could be as simple as the fact that he wrote it the way God told him to. I don't know, but I find it very interesting. There are many changes like this throughout the Psalms. Read a few, and you'll see what I'm talking about. In the first half of the chapter, David is questioning God. He spells out his complaints and troubles. He describes the trials he's facing and wonders why God won't help him. But, then in the next verse, he's praising God and singing songs. Wouldn't you love to know what happened in between those verses? Did David just resolve to be thankful? Or, did God come down and thump him on the head, telling him to quit his griping? (Don't laugh. God's done it to me a time or two.)

What's my point? First of all, when reading God's Word, pay attention. It is so easy to let our minds drift, but when we do, we miss out on something special. Second, look for God's work between the lines. Even if we can't figure out what the work is, it's a reminder to us that God is always in control, and He is always working in our best interest. If that's not worth paying attention for, I don't know what is.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15