Talk to God, Not Just About Him

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)

The form of the 23rd psalm is instructive.

In Psalm 23:1–3 David refers to God as “he”:

The Lord is my shepherd . . .
he makes me lie down . . .
he leads me . . .
he restores my soul.

Then in verses 4 and 5 David refers to God as “you”:

I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me.
You anoint my head with oil.

Then in verse 6 he switches back:

I shall dwell in the house of the Lord.

The lesson we can learn from this form is that it is good not to talk very long about God without talking to God.

Every Christian is at least an amateur theologian — that is, a person who tries to understand the character and ways of God and then put that into words. If we aren’t little theologians, then we won’t ever say anything to each other, or to God, about God, and will be of very little real help to each other’s faith.

But what I have learned from David in Psalm 23 and other psalms is that I should interweave my theology with prayer. I should frequently interrupt my talking about God by talking to God.

Not far behind the theological sentence, “God is generous,” should come the prayerful sentence, “Thank you, God, for your generosity.”

On the heels of, “God is glorious,” should come, “I adore your glory.”

This is the way it must be, if we are feeling God’s reality in our hearts as well as thinking it in our heads and describing it with our lips.