Too Familiar to be Valuable

Read Psalm 23

[ The musical composition was Aubre’s Christmas gift to me in 2010. You can listen while you read. I hope it helps your own meditation on the Scripture. Click on the sound file just above the search box on the right.]

In December of 2009 or thereabouts, my son, Marty Schoenleber III (aka Marty S. Dalton), put a video up on It inspired me to keep working on a project I thought of a couple of years ago. The idea is to write a poem of personal reflection for each Psalm in the Psalter. Here are some of the offerings so far. Some of the poems are preceded by a brief commentary.

Don’t think of any as high art. Think of these offerings as one poor man’s desire to draw nearer to Christ. 

One more thing: It is always best to read the psalm or the verses being commented on first.


Too Familiar

Some things are so familiar.
Too familiar.
We begin to devalue the too familiar.
The Roman writer Publilius Syrus used it in 43 B.C.
and the rest of us have been quoting him since.

“Familiarity breeds contempt” said the forgotten Roman
and though it’s not biblical, it rings true.
Familiar, i.e., boring, as in . . .
Easily neglected.
Quickly dismissed.
Been there, done that.
We’ve seen this movie before.
“Only reruns on tonight.”
Unworthy of a second look.
Nothing to think about here.

That’s how many of us approach Psalm 23.
“O yeah, the Shepherds Psalm, I know that one.”
One of the great ones.
Heard it at so many funerals I can’t count.
Let’s play trival pursuit and see how many movies 
we can quote that quote it.
In the 1970’s, a shepherd looked at Psalm 23 and wrote a book
about what he saw.

The book became a best seller. 
It told the story of a shepherd who looked again

at the familiar, the too familiar Psalm between #22 and #24.
He tried to give us new eyes to see what had become too familiar.
Oh and how he succeeded! 
The book became famous.
He became famous.
The book sold over two million copies.
It has probably been quoted in 10 million messages,
and influenced the lives of 100’s of millions of people.
And all those lives were changed when one man looked at 
his very familiar life’s work and used it as the microscope
to examine a too familiar psalm.
He slowed down his life to the pace of a shepherd  
so he could meditate and think “‘ahard” on the familiar.
And in the process he found a rare thing.
A thing called, wonder.

Sometimes, wonders are like that.
They just need a slow second look to discover
the wonder
and the glory
of the too familiar.

May you take a second look and find the wonder of a Shepherd who takes away want and replaces it with the satisfaction of His presence and guidance for all your days.

Go to Psalm 24 A Psalm of David Reheard
or Psalm 24 Just a Prayer Shouting Joy

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