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PSALM23  9'2m?f A verse by verse debacle of our favorite psalm

A -- (enters, crosses to podium, opens Bible) Our scripture
reading for today is Psalm 23: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall
not be in WANT.

B -- (stands in audience with World Altas open) 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? (points to Atlas)

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 anywhere 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 Little Italy. That's it, right?

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 -- So, when King David wrote this Psalm, he was saying that as
long as he lets the Lord be in charge of his life, he will not
lack anything he really needs.

B -- Uh huh. So, what your saying is that if I let the Lord be
in charge of my life, I won't be lacking common sense.

A -- That is correct. Now, if you don't mind... (clears throat)
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?

A -- (slams Bible closed, exits) Maybe I'll try this another
time.

B -- You don't have to get mad. I just asked a question. (sits)

VERSE 2

A -- (enters, crosses to podium, opens Bible) 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 -- (stands in audience) 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 these people have never
been in green pastures. So, they 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 they don't know what a cow
chip 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 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 -- Look, while your story is interesting, it is exactly the
opposite of what King David is trying to convey in the
twenty-third Psalm.

B -- It is?

A -- Yes, it is. What David is saying is that when he let's the
Lord run his life, he finds peace and tranquility. Now, will you
let me finish?

B -- Oh, sure.

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. (slams Bible closed, exits)

B -- The bees chased me into the quiet.... waters.... Nevermind.
(sits)

VERSE 3

A -- (enters, crosses to podium, opens Bible) Psalm 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 -- (stands in audience) 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. Get
this over with.

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 when
you truly serve the Lord, he refreshes your mind.

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 -- I believe I've made my position clear.

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 soles for 40 years in the desert?

A -- (slams Bible closed, exits) Okay! That's it!

B -- Actually, they were sandals. They didn't have real shoes in
those... days... Nevermind. (sits)

VERSE 4

A -- (enters, crosses to podium, opens Bible) Psalm 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.

B -- (stands in audience) Right. I'm really comforted.

A -- Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

B -- What's the matter?

A -- Oh, nothing. I just had this ridiculous idea that 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 -- 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 sit down 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,
sit!

B -- Alright. (sits)

A -- Where was I? "You rod and your staff, they comfort me. You
prepare...."

B -- (stands, raises hand)

A -- 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 used on the jackals and mountain lions.... to drive them
away.

B -- That's pretty comforting, if you're a sheep, hah.

A -- King David considered himself to be one of God's sheep.

B -- Just one more question.

A -- (sigh) You said you'd sit down and listen if I ...

B -- This won't take long.

A -- Alright. What is it?

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

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 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, hah.

A -- Yes.

B -- Thank you. No further questions. (sits)

A -- 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 -- (stands with World Atlas open) Actually, I did have just
one more question.

A -- (slams Bible closed, exits)

B -- (peruses Atlas) I can't find the Valley of the Shadow of
Death anywhere (looks up) in my... world... atlas...

Where'd he go?(sits)

VERSE 5

A -- (enters, crosses to podium, opens Bible) Psalm 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.

B -- (stands in audience) Excuse me?

A -- Of course. I need at least one interruption.

B -- Did I get this right? This guy is surrounded by his enemies
and some carpenter makes him a coffee table?

A -- No, you didn't get this right. What King David is saying is
that The Lord God Almighty is preparing a banquet.

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

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

B -- Well, if the enemy is surrounding me, I wouldn't want a
banquet. I'd want machine guns and canons. What good is a
banquet? (laughs) Unless you want a food fight. (laughs)

A -- I'm not laughing. 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. (sits)

A -- Where was I? "You prepare a table before me in the presence
of my enemies. You annoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."

B -- (laughs out loud)

A -- What are you laughing about?

B -- (stands) 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." (bends over laughing)

A -- (slams Bible closed, exits)

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, look up, stops laughing, looks around) I guess it wasn't
that funny. (sits)

VERSE 6

A -- (enters, crosses to podium, opens Bible) Psalm 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 annoint my head with oil; my cup
overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days
of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

(steps beside podium, bends forward addresses B) Well, thank you.

B -- Me? (points at self)

A -- Yes, you.

B -- (stands, with Bible open) You're thanking me? For what?

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

B -- Well, I was thinking to interrupt because I couldn't find
their names in my concordance.

A -- Who? What are you talking about?

B -- Those two ladies in the last verse there.

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

B -- Those two ladies who were following King David...

A -- How on earth could you think that two ladies were following
King David?

B -- Well, I heard you say as plain as day "Shirley Goodness and
Love will follow me..." If Shirley Goodness isn't following
David, why would he say so? I assume that this other person
named Love is Shirley Goodness' sister, since David didn't
mention her last name, but... (looks down at Bible)

A -- Oh, brother. (exits)

B -- ...I can't find anyone named Shirley Goodness or Love
Goodness... (looks up, looks around) in my... concordance...
Where'd he go? (sits)



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