Five Words from Psalm 23
It is common that buildings, monuments and landmarks be named for notable people. Most of us do not have our name in high-profile places. Note the fourth word of verse one. Substitute your name for the pronoun. “The Lord is (insert name) Shepherd.” God wants us to make such a personal connection to His Word. We need to see ourselves on the pages of scripture. Such a view will help us gain the perspective that God is totally involved in our lives.
One result of seeing God as our ever-present Shepherd is that we can find true contentment. Freedom from want is not having as much stuff as we may like it comes from having all of God that we need.
Focus on verses two and three. As we follow our great Shepherd, notice the three places He will lead His sheep. Green pastures, a place of nourishment and rest; still waters, a place of quiet and refreshment; and the path of righteousness, a place of growth and purity. We often seek out places to go for restoration: a favorite vacation spot, or recreational activity. The context of God’s restoration is not a place but a Person. It is the good Shepherd who leads and provides. He wants us to regularly spend time fellowshipping with Him.
What scares you? The list can be seemingly endless: spiders, water, flying, heights, speaking in front of others, etc. Somewhere on everyone’s list of fears is the fear of facing death. It is the last battle, the great unknown. It inevitable and irreversible. In verse four we find David expressing that he will not fear even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death. The reason is simple; he doesn’t have to face the valley alone. He has the presence and power of God at his disposal. The great news is so do you!
Even if the fear you face is not death, you can still rely on God being with you. Recall His love, ability and care. You, too, can “fear no evil.”
Most floods are not positive experiences whether the flood was a river or a basement. There is one overflow that is a welcome experience. When the blessing of God surpasses our ability to account for them then our cup of blessing truly runs over. Verse five lists a trio of blessings the Good Shepherd allows to flow into our lives. These are His provision in spite of opposition (table), healing for the wounds of life (oil) and an overflow of joy.
What does one need do in order to get in line for such blessings, simply this: follow the Shepherd. The hearts attitude of a follower include: humility, obedience and devotion and these will keep us in the place of blessing.
Someone has said there only are two things you really need to worry about: This life and the afterlife. The final verse of Psalm 23 gives us rock-solid promises that cover both. David was sure that as he followed the Lord, his Shepherd, his life would be marked by both the goodness and mercy of God. He does not expect a life of ease or one free from hardship but through whatever life would bring, he would find the benevolent character of God. In the life to come, he would live in God’s house. What blessing, what comfort.
Take a moment and release your anxieties for the present and the future as you fall back on the promises of God for both.