What if I read the first line of Psalm 23 backwards? It’s equally wonderful

On Sunday I was part of this new Sunday School study and it was our first meeting. It was a basic overview, kind of like the first day of class. We talked about what we were going to study (the book of Galatians) and how we were going to do it (research some background, finding meanings of certain translations). I am pretty excited about this. It’s been a while since I really went deep into the word like this. There have been things similar, but nothing like this.

One of the examples to help us understand what was going to happen in the following weeks was to break down a line from the Bible and just see what we can learn and glean from it. We took the following line and studied each word individually.


Pretty simple line. Very commonly used line.

So we broke down the line analyzing every word, starting with “The” then followed by “Lord” and so on. It was nice since we got to look at each word and what we define each word as. Combining it together after all of that made the meaning of the line that much powerful.But I kept staring at it and wondered if there was another way to look at it. I kept looking at “shepherd” since that’s a word used a lot in Christian talk and discussion. And for good reason.

So I decided to read and define it backwards.

SHEPHERD – Someone who takes care of me, makes sure I get my food, my water and rest. One who protects me. That’s pretty cool to have one. I acknowledge I am a sheep that needs a shepherd.

MY SHEPHERD – Wait, the one who is protecting me, feeding me and taking care of me is mine? That’s so personal. That’s so wonderful.

IS MY SHEPHERD – And MY SHEPHERD is doing this now? Not in the past and not in the future. But now. This security of knowing that I am being taken care of is wonderful.

LORD IS MY SHEPHERD – Whoa! That’s powerful and authoritative. I am protected by someone in authority who cares. Very comforting to know this.

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD – Not just any, but THE Lord. This ties it all together. The highest of highs of authority, right now and forever, is my protector.

I read this forward and it felt like a pyramid building its way up. There is a gravity to THE LORD and how it all dwindles down to just me.

But reading it backward is the opposite, where tiny little me is worthy of this great love from the great Lord.

It’s crazy that reading this one way gives me one perspective of God yet reading it the opposite direction shows me another perspective. Either way you look at it, the message remains wonderful.


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