Everyone older than six ought to know the Pledge of Allegiance. I don’t know about you, but every school day from the first grade through my senior year in high school, we started each day reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. By rote memory. I’ll bet most kids who recite that today don’t know what the words, “allegiance,” “republic”, or “indivisible” even mean.
Many Christians can recite the 23rd Psalm from memory as well. We hear it at church and often at funerals. How many of us who have memorized David’s wonderful psalm know what it means? Have we studied the words or the phrases to get a better understanding of David’s meaning?For instance, in Psalm 41, David wrote, “Why are you downcast, O, my soul?” Being a shepherd was his profession. As a shepherd he knew what it was like to be downcast. He asked God several times in his Psalms to restore his soul. David also knew what it meant for a sheep to be cast (fallen over on its back). A cast sheep will kick and flail and roll around helplessly until the shepherd rights it (restores it to a standing position). If a shepherd didn’t restore a cast sheep to an upright position soon, the sheep died. The shepherd watched over his sheep every day to make sure none of his sheep became cast.1 Think of the things we recite by rote, The 23rd Psalm? The Lord’s Prayer? The Apostle’s Creed? Have you been to a baseball game? Did you sing the National Anthem? From memory, right? Do you know what ramparts are? “Ore the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming…” Every time we sing the National Anthem we sing about ramparts. I find it curious that millions of baseball fans sing that song at baseball games and don’t know what the words mean. In my view and experience, I don’t spend enough time studying God’s Word to know what it means. Maybe if I spent more time studying God’s Word I would discover more about the world these Bible characters lived in. Knowing more about the land and the people and the culture, might help me understand more about God. Then I might be able to hear God speak to me more often and in new ways. Wow! Wouldn’t it be fantastic! How about you?
1 A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, by Phillip Keller, © 1970 by Philip Keller, Zondervan Publishing House