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23PSALM1 3'2m?f A verse by verse debacle of our favorite psalm

A -- Our scripture reading for today is Psalm 23: The LORD is my 
shepherd, 

I shall not be in WANT.

(door open)

B -- Excuse me?

A -- Do you mind? I'm reading here.

B -- Just one question?

A -- Can't it wait? Psalm 23 is only six verses long. Maybe I 
can answer your question after I'm finished reading.

B -- This won't take long.

A -- Alright, what is it?

B -- I just need to know, where is WANT?

A -- Excuse me?

B -- WANT. It's not on my map.

A -- What are you talking about?

B -- Psalms 23: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in WANT. 
I can't find it in my world atlas. Is WANT a city? Or is it a 
foreign country?

A -- You're kidding, right? You're just putting me on?

B -- Well, I don't get around much. I've never been in WANT. But 
you're so cosmopolitan, I suppose you've been in WANT lots of 
times.

A -- You're serious. I don't believe it.

B -- What.

A -- Nobody can be that dumb.

B -- Well, I'm sorry. I don't have a car. I don't even have a 
drivers license. I don't get around much. Okay? Oh, I get it. 
The reason WANT is not in my world atlas is that it's not a city 
or a foreign country. It's like a section of town, like China 
Town or like Hollywood. That's it, huh?

A -- No, that's not it.

B -- Oh.

A -- WANT is not a place. It's a human condition.

B -- I don't get it.

A -- Big surprise. Look, when a person is in WANT, he is lacking 
something he needs badly. 

B -- Uh huh.

A -- For example, you are in WANT of common sense.

B -- Oh.

A -- Now, if you don't mind, (announcer's intonations) Our 
scripture reading for today is Psalm 23: The LORD is my 
shepherd, I shall not be in WANT. He....

B -- Excuse me.

A -- What!

B -- What is common sense?

(footsteps)

A -- (fading) Maybe I should try another line of work.

(door close)

VERSE 2

A -- Our scripture reading for today is Psalm 23: The LORD is 
my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in 
green pastures....

B -- Oh, yuk!

A -- You again.

B -- I once took a shortcut through a green pasture, and I'll 
never to that again. I don't care what you say.

A -- I don't suppose we could put off this discussion until 
AFTER I've finished reading the twenty-third Psalm. It's only 
six verses long.

B -- I thought the pasture was empty.

A -- Oh, brother.

B -- All green and grassy. Am I interrupting something?

A -- Oh, no. I'm dying to hear about your green and grassy 
pasture.

B -- I wasn't watching where I was walking and I stepped right 
in the middle of a flesh cow....

A -- ...Well, thank you for sharing. (announcer's intonations) 
Psalms 23: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He 
makes me lie down in green pastures....

B -- You talk about green. My brand new Air Jordan's started out 
red. And stink! You have no idea.

A -- Do you mind? Psalm 23: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall 
not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures....

B -- I don't suppose you want to hear about the BULL.

A -- So far, that's all I've been hearing. Psalms 23: The LORD 
is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in 
green pastures....

B -- You've never been charged by a bull, have you?

A -- No, I haven't. But thank for asking. Psalms 23: The LORD is 
my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in 
green pastures....

B -- Well, I thought I could stop him by throwing something at 
him. But the only think I could pick up was a cow....

A -- ....Do you mind?!

B -- Oh, I'm sorry, you're right. Maybe your listeners who have 
never been in green pastures don't know what a cow chip is. 
Well, a cow chip is a pasture patty.

A -- Please.

B -- You're right. You're right. If our listeners don't know 
what a cow ship is, they won't probably know what a pasture 
patty is either. 

A -- We really don't have time for this.

B -- No problem. This is a short story. So, anyways, I picked up 
a cow chip.... that's a cow pie that's been dried in the sun. 
Anyways, I picked up a pasture patty and threw it at the bull, 
but he just kept charging. So, I picked up a horse apple and.... 
Oh, maybe I should explain what a horse apple is...

A -- You do and I'll poke you in the nose.

B -- My, aren't WE testy? Well, anyways, I threw a horse apple 
at the bull, but he just kept charging, so I made a run for it. 
I finally had to climb up a tree to get away from him.

A -- Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. Psalms 23: The LORD is 
my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in 
green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters....

B -- The tree just happened to be beside the quiet waters.

A -- You're not going to let me finish, are you?

B -- Sure I am.

A -- Psalms 23: The LORD is my shepherd....

B -- Did I mention that there was a bee hive in the tree?

A -- I knew it.

(footsteps)

B -- The bees chased me into the quiet waters.

(door close)

Where'd he go?

VERSE 3

A -- Psalms 23: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in WANT. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet 
waters, 

(door open)

he restores my soul. 

B -- I'll never do that again.

A -- Just once, I'd like to be able to get through all six 
verses without an interruption.

B -- It used to be a way to save money. But not anymore.

A -- What are you talking about?!

B -- Restoring my sole.

A -- I'm almost afraid to ask.

B -- Yessir, it used to be, you could save money in the long run 
by restoring your sole. But, well, I'm not sure if it's 
inflation or the national debt or the international trade 
deficit, but....

A -- Can we talk about this later? Much later?!

B -- My, aren't we testy?

A -- Mama said there'd be days like this. Listen, Psalm 23 has 
only 6 verses. Can we please talk about this after I'm finished 
reading it?

B -- Well, alright....

A -- Psalms 23: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not...

B -- .... if you want to spread around information that is no 
longer cost effective.

A -- Alright! You've done it again. You have effectively 
interrupted the reading of the most famous song of all time. The 
microphone is yours.

B -- Thank you.

A -- You're welcome.

B -- As I was saying, when I was in school, it used to be cost 
effective to restore the sole. But in today's economy, it costs 
just about as much to restore the sole as it does to buy a whole 
new pair of shoes. Ergo, we must conclude....

A -- Shoes?! You're talking about soles on shoes?!

B -- Well, of course. And restoring the sole just doesn't pay 
anymore....

A -- unbelievable!

B -- What.

A -- When David wrote "he restores my soul", he meant that God 
refreshes his mind.

B -- Oh.

A -- Yeah.

B -- That's easy for him to say. He didn't have to pay premium 
prices for resoling shoes. 

A -- Oh, brother. Do you mind if I finish Psalm 23?

B -- Be my guest.

A -- Psalms 23: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in WANT. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet 
waters, he restores my soul....

B -- Did you know that Moses and the Hebrews didn't have to 
restore their souls for 40 years in the desert?

A -- (fading) Okay! That's it!

(footsteps)

B -- Actually, they were sandals. They didn't have real shoes in 
those...

(door close)

...days. Where'd he go?

VERSE 4

A -- Psalms 23: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet 
waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of 
righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through 
the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you 
are with me; 

(door open)

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

B -- Right. I'm really comforted.

A -- Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

B -- What's the matter?

A -- Oh, nothing. I just thought I was going to get all the way 
through the 23rd Psalm without an interruption. Silly Me.

B -- Well, this is important.

A -- Right.

B -- No, really. I fail to see how a fishing rod will comfort 
anyone.

A -- A fishing rod.

B -- Yeah. (pause) What's the matter?

A -- Just what makes you think that King David is talking about 
a FISHING rod?

B -- Well, you said he was by the quiet waters. It's gotta be a 
fishing rod. (pause) doesn't it?

A -- You can't be serious.

B -- Alright, smart guy, what kind of a rod is it, if it's not a 
fishing rod?

A -- If I explain it to you, will you go away and let me finish 
reading?

B -- Well, sure. Far be it from me to keep you from your 
appointed rounds.

A -- Alright. For your information, the ROD is a weapon. Now, 
get lost!

B -- Alright.

A -- Where was I? "You rod and your staff, they comfort me. You 
prepare...." (pause) What is it now.

B -- Have you ever had to bend over and grab your ankles while 
your dad smacked you with a rod?

A -- I fail to see how this has to do with anything we're 
talking about.

B -- Well, I fail to see how a whack on the behind is very 
comforting.

A -- Oh, brother. A shepherd's rod is not used on the sheep. 
It's for the jackals and mountain lions.... to drive them off.

B -- Ooooohhhh! If you're a sheep, that's pretty comforting, 
huh?

A -- Where was I? "You rod and your staff, they comfort me. You 
prepare...." (pause) What is it now?

B -- Just one more question.

A -- You said you'd leave if...

B -- This won't take long.

A -- Alright. What is it?

B -- It's about the staff. Is that the presidential staff or the 
congressional staff?

A -- Oh, brother. As a matter of fact, it's neither.

B -- Neither.

A -- Neither. A shepherd's staff is a long stick with a hook on 
the end. If a sheep falls into a pit or a crevice, the shepherd 
can reach reach down with the hook and pull him out.

B -- Oooooohhh! Kind of like a rescue, huh.

A -- Yes.

B -- Oh, that's pretty comforting, if your a sheep, huh.

A -- Yes. Now, where was I? I'd better start over. Psalms 23: 
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie 
down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he 
restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his 
name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow 
of death....

B -- You know, I have been meaning to ask you. I have never been 
able to find that on my world atlas. 

A -- What are you talking about?

B -- The valley of the shadow of death.

A -- (fading) That's it. You've done it again.

(door close)

B -- What'd I say?

VERSE 5

A -- Psalms 23: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet 
waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of 
righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through 
the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you 
are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

(door open)

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. 

B -- Oh, great!

A -- Don't you ever knock?

B -- What kind of drivel are you reading? This guy is surrounded 
by his enemies and some carpenter makes him a coffee table?

A -- This DRIVEL is the twenty third Psalm.

B -- Oh.

A -- THIS GUY is King David.

B -- So, what good is a coffee table if your surrounded by your 
enemies?

A -- It's not a coffee table. And he's not a carpenter. The Lord 
God almighty is preparing a banquet here.

B -- I'll bet that will get his enemies quaking in their boots.

A -- It's not supposed to scare them. It's supposed to show the 
Lord's great provision during hardship.

B -- Oh.

A -- In those days, the enemy would lay siege to a city and not 
let any food or water into the city. They'd literally starve
them to death. King David is saying here that the Lord will 
provide for our needs in the harshest of circumstances. 

B -- Oh.

A -- Do you mind if finish?

B -- Oh, did I interrupt? I'm sorry.

A -- Where was I? "You prepare a table before me in the presence 
of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows." 
What are you smirking about?

B -- Smirking? I'm not smirking.

A -- You were too. You were smirking when I was reading.

B -- I was just imagining King David at the banquet table. And 
the Lord says, "What do you on on your salad?" And David says, 
"Oil and vinegar, Lord."

A -- What's so funny about that?

B -- Well, it's a long way from Heaven to Earth. 

A -- Yeah, so?

B -- So, David looks up to Heaven and says, "You annoint my head 
with oil, Lord. But you missed the salad."

A -- Oh, brother. 

B -- (laughs) So, then David goes to take a drink, and he looks 
up again and says, "My cup overflows, Lord. You got a rag?" 
(laughs) 

(door close)

Where'd he go?

VERSE 6

A -- Psalms 23 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet 
waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of 
righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through 
the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you 
are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You 
prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You 
anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 

(door open)

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, 
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (pause) Well, 
thank you.

B -- For what?

A -- For not interrupting me. I finished all six verses of the 
twenty-third Psalm.

B -- Well, I was going to interrupt, but I didn't know who they 
were.

A -- Who? What are you talking about?

B -- Those three people in the last verse there.

A -- King David never mentioned anyone in the last verse, except 
the Lord. What three people are you talking about?

B -- Shirley, Goodness and Love. 

A -- Oh, brother.

B -- I don't remember seeing anyone named Shirley...

(door close)

... in the Bible. Where'd he go?




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