The Israelites were wandering shepherds at the time they wrote this psalm of praise to God. The best example they could find to describe God was that of a good shepherd, who always took gentle care of his sheep.
[Please note the way we are led into the psalm by the poet, as he begins in the third person, talking about The Lord, and then progresses to the intimacy of the second person, you--"for you are with me."]
1. What are some ways of describing how God cares for us in the way we live now?
[He keeps us safe from all kinds of harm--let the children list some.]
2. Why did shepherds carry a rod and a staff?
[The rod was a weapon to use against predators (wolves and lions), and the staff has a crook at the end to catch sheep that were going into dangerous places, by dragging them back by catching them around the hind leg. So the rod and staff keep us safe from predators and from our own wrong-headedness as we heedlessly go into dangerous situations.]
3. Why is it important to God that we make good choices?
[God loves us and wants us to have good lives so that we can serve and praise him.]
The setting of Psalm 23 to Brother James' Air is difficult to sing, but the children seem to enjoy the challenge (LBW 451)
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