Praying Psalm 23 with a Palestinian Israeli Scholar

December 20, 2020

By Yohanna Katanacho
An excerpt from Praying Through the Psalms, (Langham Global Library), 2018.

O Lord, you are the shepherd of my life. You shepherd me. Therefore, I shall not need anything, whether I am in good pastures, or in the valley of the shadow of death, or even sitting across from my foes. I shall not need anything whether I am in health and strength or on my deathbed. You satisfy all of my hunger. 

Whether I rest safely in good pastures, walk in dangerous valleys, or sit in the presence of enemies, you are my assurance. You are my guarantee and my insurance even if my bank account is small or my sickness fatal. You are the shepherd who does not have hungry sheep because you are always full of blessings. You restore the lost soul and calm the troubled heart. You never abandon your lost sheep or those in peril from evildoers or wolves. I sense your presence in the good pasture, but I feel your tangible presence in the valley of the shadow of death where you show me extra mercy.

You have even revealed your rod and staff to tell me that you are with me. Like other sheep, I have discovered that the shadow of the dog cannot bite! The shadow of the sword cannot cut! The shadow of death cannot destroy me! Your sun shines in the strangest places! Whenever dangers increase and hardships multiply, you reveal yourself in the most tangible ways. Now I am sitting across from my persecutor, but you have honoured me with miraculous protection.

You have arranged your table with a wise plan and revealed that you satisfy your people not only in the good pasture but everywhere, in every season. Even when I become a fleeing refugee you are my refuge. You welcome me to your table. You are the secret of my contentment despite my circumstances. Today I seek you, for I know that with you every goodness and mercy is always present. Into your hands I submit my day, O Shepherd of my life.

Yohanna Katanacho, Praying Through the Psalms (Langham Global Library), 2018. Used with permission.

Rev Yohanna Katanacho is a professor of Biblical Studies and Academic Dean at Nazareth Evangelical College. He is a Palestinian Israeli evangelical and Langham Scholar who studied at Bethlehem University (BSc), Wheaton College (MA), and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MDiv; PhD). He has authored many books in English and Arabic including The Land of Christ; A Palestinian Cry and contributed to the Palestinian Kairos Document. Rev Katanacho is an Old Testament editor for the Arabic Contemporary Commentary and Asia Bible Commentary Series.