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STORIES TO TELL TO CHILDREN (47)

2006-08-28 20:55

    THE SHEPHERD'S SONG

    David had many fierce battles to fight for King Saul against the enemies of Israel, and he won them all. Then, later, he had to fight against the king's own soldiers, to save himself, for King Saul grew wickedly jealous of David's fame as a soldier, and tried to kill him. Twice, when David had a chance to kill the king, he let him go safe; but even then, Saul kept on trying to take his life, and David was kept away from his home and land as if he were an enemy. But when King Saul died, the people chose David for their king, because there was no one so brave, so wise, or so faithful to God. King David lived a long time, and made his people famous for victory and happiness; he had many troubles and many wars, but he always trusted that God would help him, and he never deserted his own people in any hard place.

    After a battle, or when it was a holiday, or when he was very thankful for something, King David used to make songs, and sing them before the people. Some of these songs were so beautiful that they have never been forgotten. After all these hundreds and hundreds of years, we sing them still; we call them Psalms.

    Often, after David had made a song, his chief musician would sing with him, as the people gathered to worship God. Sometimes the singers were divided into two great choruses, and went to the service in two processions; then one chorus would sing a verse of David's song, and the other procession would answer with the next, and then both would sing together; it was very beautiful to hear. Even now, we sometimes do that with the songs of David in our churches.

    One of the Psalms that everybody loves is a song that David made when he remembered the days before he came to Saul's camp. He remembered the days and nights he used to spend in the fields with the sheep, when he was just a shepherd boy; and he thought to himself that God had taken care of him just as carefully as he used to care for the little lambs. It is a beautiful song; I wish we knew the music that David made for it, but we only know his words. I will tell it to you now, and then you may learn it, to say for yourselves.

    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.

    He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

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