In my daily reading I’m to the point where I’m reading a bit of the Psalms each day. This makes my reading a real joy to me. Today I came to Psalm 23 which I really enjoy as it always brings great comfort and reminds me that I’m merely a participant in God’s love. Follow along:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
~ Ps 23:1
As my shepherd, God is responsible for my every need. Not my every desire, but my every need. To be in want implies that there is something necessary that I am lacking. In these last 7 years after God converted me I have learned over and over that there is nothing that I need that He will not provide. We’ve been without money or means of getting money and He’s always provided food, money for bills, clothing, etc. God is my ultimate provider – He knows my every need and He fills it so that I am blessed and He is glorified.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
God knows my limits and He knows what I am capable of. When the time comes and I am weary of my work or stresses, He leads me through times of quiet and rest so that I am better prepared to worship Him and for my personal pleasure.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
I am not wandering blind in my walk with Him – He is leading me. While it may appear to me from time to time that I am blindly trudging along, God is orchestrating events, interactions, and situations so that I am constantly growing in Him. He does so in order that when I get to the end of a long path I can turn back and see how and where He has influenced my journey and that I can glorify Him for His care and power.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
We are never promised a bed of roses, or a life of luxury. In fact, Jesus says exactly the opposite in Matthew 24:9-10, stating, ““Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.”, and in Luke 12:51-53 He states, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Despite all of this tribulation and fear, it’s good to know that God will always defend us and, as Christians, we know that what happens here on the earth is temporary but that our hope lies in the kingdom to come. With that knowledge, it’s hard to be worried when things get bad here on the earth. God will never leave us or forsake us.
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
A rod is a stick or bar made of either iron or wood that’s used for defense. A shepherd would use the rod to correct a wayward sheep, occasionally going so far as to break its legs if it continued wandering off. The shepherd would then physically carry the sheep along until it healed. As I look at my own walk with Christ I can see many such instances where God has physically cut me off from something I desired or severly damaged me for my good and His glory. In those times I’ve learned to trust more in God because I need to lean on Him for guidance and security. This is how a Christian can say that despite issues like cancer or death of loved ones we can rejoice in the sovereignty of God in that we are under His constant care and that when things seemingly go from bad to worse that He’s always at the controls, fine tuning it so that we will never take on more than we can handle and so that we may gain the most benefit from it in the long run.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
Despite the fact that others seek to do evil to us, God meets our needs – even while others are seeking to do us harm.
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
This speaks of God blessing us, even beyond what we need. He has done this time and time again for me, eventhough I don’t deserve it.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
This is the exultation of joy at the end of this exclamation of worship before God. If God has done all of the above for me while I am here on the earth, and because He is forever faithful and true, then I know that I will experience His goodness and mercy on my life all the days of my life, and then, upon my death, I will dwell in His house in Heaven forever. What greater encouragement can there be than this? What greater news can be found? The creator of the universe has redeemed me from my debt against Him and now He seeks to place me along side Him in His house where I can live and worship Him forever! I LOVE this psalm!