Kern_web shot Jan here, writing as 2009 is drawing to a close about a recent prodding I received through another look at Psalm 23.

As writers we seek to factor in the best point of view (POV) for the piece we are writing. We make intentional choices or shifts to bring out nuances of meaning or story direction. The topics and characters are important, as are the readers we bring along with us through our story or narrative.

The power of POV came through recently as I was rereading Psalm 23.

The short, six-verse psalm changes its POV half way through. The psalmist begins by describing the Lord as his shepherd. Then he switches to a very personal point of view, speaking directly to God.

He could have remained in the same POV and written, “I fear no evil because He is with me.” Instead he makes the shift and writes, “I fear no evil, for You are with me” (Psalm 23:4 NAS). He finishes the psalm in that POV.

I thought about the purposefulness of the writer. It’s as if he draws us in with his experiences with the Lord, his Shepherd, through talking about him; then by switching viewpoints and speaking to him, he ushers us toward an extremely personal, intimate relationship with God.

The shift is powerful. God comes close.

For me, this becomes more than a lesson in writing POV. I am stirred to consider where God is as I live, and therefore as I write. Within what POV do I place him in my daily conversations? Is he distant or near? Do I talk about him more than I go to him and draw close in intimacy? How intentional am I about living in that kind of a personal POV and relationship with him?

As 2009 draws to an end, and I consider the direction and craft of my writing for 2010, it is my prayer that I’ll do far more than talk about God. I want to go to him continually, abiding—for apart from him I can do nothing (John 15:5). I long to show the power of his comfort, goodness, lovingkindess, and mercies through my life and the words I write, because they flow naturally out of an authentic experience of intimacy with him.

You, God, are with me . . . my cup overflows.

May God be with you in 2010 in powerful and personal ways—in your life and your writing.


Jan writes nonfiction from her home in the foothills of the California Sierras. She is currently working on more material for the teen/ya audience and for those who deeply care about them. She also enjoys life coaching and mentoring writers. Visit her site at

2 thoughts on “POV, the Psalmist, and the Writer

Dianne Neal Matthews

January 4, 2010 - 10 : 21 : 41

Jan, thank you so much for this message–one that I especially needed to hear. I just finished writing a daily devotional book and am getting ready to start another one. I’ve been shocked at how easily I can spend all day studying the Scriptures and writing about God while neglecting to spend time with Him. Hopefully, your illustration of POV will help me keep my focus in the right place this year. I think I’ll post those three letters above my computer as a simple but powerful reminder.

Jan Kern

January 4, 2010 - 13 : 58 : 59

Wonderful, Dianne! Using a visual POV reminder to keep you focused in on spending time with God is an excellent idea. I’d love to hear how that impacts the writing of this next devotional!

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