Author Robert J. Morgan is the pastor of Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, which has over 3,000 members and where he has served for over 30 years. Morgan has millions of copies of books in print, and another claim to fame is that he is both a sheep owner and a pastor. Tackling the most beloved of all the Psalms is a high order, and yet who better to do this job than a man who has raised sheep and also pastors people? Morgan’s verse-by-verse explanation of Psalm 23 brings with it considerable wisdom and insight only gained by investing blood, sweat and tears (and many years) in both people and the sheep.
"Lest readers mistake this lively text as only inspirational in nature, it is much more. Morgan offers plenty of simple step suggestions toward gaining inner peace that flows outward and upward and creates a restoring calm in its wake."
Morgan skillfully and thoughtfully dissects each phrase in Psalm 23 offering biblical, historical and modern-day commentary and explanation at each point. His love for the Word of God is evident as he carefully exegetes each precious promise and comforting truth for readers to slowly, quietly and deeply consider and internalize. Even reading the text headlines of each chapter affords Christians substantial comfort as Morgan piques interest and promise to those who take the time to study Psalm 23 and all that God offers as a result. Some of the specific promises tailored to today’s reader include: His peace in life’s meadows; His power in life’s trenches; His plan for life’s pathways; His presence in life’s valleys; His provision on life’s tablelands; His potion for life’s hurts; His promises for life’s journey; and His palaces for life’s end.
As Morgan notes, in only a hundred words, Psalm 23 sums up all our needs in life and all the abundance of God’s grace. It begins with “The Lord” and ends with “forever.” Morgan also makes the point that readers should take care to read the before and after Psalms surrounding Psalm 23. Psalms 22 and 24 along with Psalm 23 create a trilogy of psalms that take care of yesterday, today and tomorrow. This text, however, focuses on the beauty of God’s tender loving care for His own “sheep” and how intentionally God loves His people.
Morgan opens each chapter with a telling quote that offers some poignant truth about the line of Psalm 23 he spends considerable time unpacking. Stories abound of real-life experiences he and his family had over the years with their own small herd of sheep, which they named, loved and grieved over when they died. Morgan also shares tales of the sticky messes that sheep get themselves into from around the world and how similar these “sticky situations” are to the plights in which humans frequently find themselves. All told, Christians will smile and find lots of common traits with these wooly creatures and make note of how key the shepherd’s role is in the lives of both.
Lest readers mistake this lively text as only inspirational in nature, it is much more. Morgan offers plenty of simple step suggestions toward gaining inner peace that flows outward and upward and creates a restoring calm in its wake.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on February 13, 2013