The Kingsmen’s brand-new album, Grace Says, comes out on July 16th. Its closing track is “Loving Shepherd, Gracious God,” a mellow song featuring bass singer Ray Dean Reese. Though it might not jump out on first listen, the lyric and melody quietly keep drawing me back, time after time—to the point that it is now already the single song I have played more than any other this year.
I recently caught up with the song’s author, Dianne Wilkinson, and asked her what inspired the song. She said:
David is one of the people I just long to sit with in Heaven. I want to hear him play! I want to hear him talk! I want to know what kind of mood he was in when he wrote the 23rd Psalm!
The truth of that psalm was preached out to me a little over a year ago. Brother Don Savell, a long-time friend of mine and my preacher brother, is an amazing preacher; people, including other preachers, come from all over the country to hear him. He preached a revival at my church, and he preached from the 23rd Psalm every night.
There’s more meat in this psalm than people know; let me put it that way…and I didn’t know it until this revival meeting! Brothe Don said that that psalm was written from the perspective of an old sheep. And that’s exactly right; it’s a sheep looking back on the journey. It’s not a young sheep; it’s an old sheep. It’s just unbelievable the way he laid all that out. I could talk about this a long time, ’cause I am an old sheep, and He’s led me past the green pastures, and He’s provided for me for a long time. Now I know how David felt when he wrote those magnificent words…after the Lord had been his Shepherd for many years.
There’s a tag at the end where the music fades out, and they sing these words acapella:
There’s a loving shepherd leading me
Where the older sheep have trod
He is guiding, guarding, feeding me
Loving shepherd, gracious God.
Those words were inspired by a great man of God, preaching a very familiar Scripture passage, in a totally unique way that touched me deeply.