Monday, February 20, 2017
Most Beloved Psalm
Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 7; Psalm 23; Acts 26
Topic: God’s care
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:1-6 NKJV)
The 23rd Psalm is certainly the most familiar, if not the most beloved, Psalm in the Bible. The reason for that, I believe, is because it speaks so eloquently of the whole scope of God’s love for you and me. In this Psalm our Lord is compared to a shepherd who cares for his sheep. We, then, are compared to sheep. God is the shepherd and we are His sheep. This little Psalm tells us that our Shepherd cares for us always. He cares for us in life. He comforts us in death. And He promises us eternal life after this earthly life is over.
This Psalm starts out by saying…
1“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters.”
The Lord promises here to provide our physical needs: “green pastures”—food and a place to dwell or live, “still waters”—drink. The most basic of physical needs is the need for water, food and shelter. Our Shepherd—the Good Shepherd, Jesus—wants to care for us and provide our most basic needs.
Not only does He care for us physically, He cares for us emotionally and spiritually.
3“He restores my soul…” the psalmist tells us.
So He provides restoration and health for our inner being as well as our physical being.
Next we see that that He not only provides for us, but that He gives us direction in our lives.
“…he leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.”
Notice here too that, when we follow our Lord’s leading, He will only take us on good paths—“paths of righteousness,” paths that are right and correct and moral—paths that will be good for us and not bad for us.
And He continues to care for and provide for us even in times of trouble.
5“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”
In this verse we see a secondary metaphor introduced. The scene changes from the imagery of sheep with the Good Shepherd to show the psalmist as the guest of honor at God’s house. But the most intriguing thing to me in this verse is that God lavishes this kind of treatment on me right in the face of my enemies. Even when I’m facing situations or troubles in my life that seem like they would destroy me—enemies—He prepares a table for me and He anoints me. He’s still there caring for me and loving me and providing for me. And on top of all that, He regards me so highly that He treats me lavishly. If that’s not something to make you humble, I don’t know what is.
And now look at this: How long will God keep on looking after us?
6“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. . .”
You’ve heard of manufacturers giving lifetime guarantees on their products. Well, this is God’s lifetime guarantee to His children.
So in these verses we’ve seen how God cares for us in life. But when this life comes to its close, we next see that He comforts us in death.
4“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for You are with me; your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
In the darkest hour of our existence on this planet earth—the hour when death snatches away our breath; when it comes time, as Shakespeare put it, to shuffle off this mortal coil—God is still with us, loving us and comforting us.
And finally we come to the most exciting part of this Psalm. When this life is over, then what? Then we have the promise that God has provided the means for us to enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven.
If we have believed in and received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives, the gift of eternal life in heaven with Him is ours.
“. . .and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
We mentioned a lifetime guarantee earlier. Here’s an eternal guarantee.
So in this wonderfully poetic Psalm we see that God’s love for us covers the entire scope of our existence.
When we have made the decision to recognize Jesus Christ as God’s one and only Son—when we have made the decision to ask His forgiveness for all of our sins—when we have made the decision to ask Him into our hearts and lives as the Lord of our daily lives and our Savior from eternal death; we find that. . .
• He will care for us in life,
• He will comfort us in death, and
• He promises us eternal life with Him in heaven.
Lord thank You for Your great love for me that not only covers the whole scope of my life, but also covers my eternity. I worship and adore You my shepherd and my King.
In Christ Jesus. Amen. -AP