On Psalm 23

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul;

He guides me in the path of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You have anointed my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever

 

There are times when our lives don’t make much sense and it seems like God just isn’t there or He has failed to listen to the lament within our heart. This Psalm made me realize that God is beyond faithful. The beauty of this Psalm is that David is reflecting upon his life, it is a reflection upon David’s heart and his understanding of the greatness and faithfulness of our Father. If we look at David’s life we can see that it was filled with many hardships and extremely difficult times, but as we can see in this Psalm and throughout scripture God’s faithfulness leads us into a place of rest.

As the Shepherd mentioned in the first part of the Psalm Christ cares and watches out for us. It seems that this world presses against our sides and tries to rob us of or joy and destroy any remaining hope with the seeds of confusion and doubt. But we must remember that Christ remains by our side and has laid down His life so that we may have life and have it abundantly. As we strive for contentment we are lead into a place where our souls are given rest and where we can rest our weary heads against the tall green grass and drink from the restful waters that hydrate our weak and aching hearts. In this place we are simply able be with our Father as we look up at the heavens with the sun and all of its glory shinning upon or face, all the while knowing that the Good Shepherd is watching over us.

As we set out on our journey into the presence of Christ we may at times find ourselves seemingly alone walking through the valley of the shadow of death. In these dark places our soul begins its hardest journey. It begins to travel into a place where our faith, our love and our perseverance are refined and tested. This is a place where our Christianity takes on new meaning. This is a place where we drudge through the mire with every step becoming increasingly harder. Our legs and hearts grow weary as we travel further into the dark night so that we might rest our fragile bodies against the outstretched arms of Christ. During this time we are guided by the right hand of God and protected by his rod and staff. This dark night may seem lonely as if the wilderness has consumed our very heart, but we must know that God has not left our side (Deut 31:6). Just as the Children of Israel lifted their heads and gazed upon the cloud and fire in their time of wilderness we can see that God remains with us. The veil has been torn and we can now inter into His presence. We can now walk into the most holy of places and worship and commune with Him. As we sit at the table that God has prepared before us we can take refuge as we find ourselves in a place of true and absolute communion. Much like ancient covenants were concluded with a meal symbolizing the bond of friendship, our covenant with God has been sealed by the blood of the lamb. This perfect sacrifice has freed us from any form of oppression and has anointed us as heirs to the Kingdom.

There is a joy to be found in hard times, a joy that surpasses all understanding. The goodness and lovingkindness of God fills our hearts and God’s faithfulness becomes strikingly clear. As you sojourn for God’s presence you may find yourself in places where you may have never intended to go, but where God has guided you. These dark places are good places even though at times they may seem unbearable. God has prepared a way for you and has prepared a place for you at His table. Whether it’s climbing a sycamore tree, touching the fringe of Christ’s robe or finding the strength to lift your head and press through the pain.

 

Your faithfulness will be rewarded.

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2 Comments»

  Tara wrote @

The image of ‘lifting your head and pressing through the pain’ is beautifully accurate. There is joy to be found in difficult circumstances because God shows His love and faithfulness most clearly during that time, or maybe we stop to see it.
Thank you, this was encouraging to read especially because I know you have gone through your own pain.

  Jen wrote @

yes, indeed. thanks you for putting feelings into words.


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