If you are like me, and I know that is a long shot because I’m from the “Creek” and not much of my growing up was “normal”, you may have memorized the 23rd Psalm.
Once I had that memorized I’ve never forgotten it. I can plow through it still today. It’s easy to just say the words and miss the depth of glory here for us. The 23rd Psalm came alive for me last year as I read through my bible passages for that day. I’d like to share some of that with you.
First, its vital to commune with the Lord over his word. The Triune God will truly meet with us. Holy Spirit dwells in us, if you have believed the Gospel and repented of the rebellion. So, linger over the word. Dissect each word. Hang on every phrase. Ask for insight and for communication with the Lord. Listen for that almost audible but not quite a thought “voice” and take in the Lord’s speaking with you. You and I both need this.
Second, when this happens, and it should not be rare, take in the glorious reality of who the Lord is and who we are to him. He is not silent. Just slow down enough to listen. Busyness is the deafening blast to communion with the Lord.
So, join me in Psalm 23 for a few minutes:
The LORD is my shepherd – The God of the universe, in his grace in kindness to me has saved me and seated me with him in the heavenly places and he is the one who hems me in and guides me for my good and to protect me from evil. The Lord is my shepherd.
I shall not want – “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”(Psalm 84:11) I will lack for nothing he deems good for me. I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures – The Lord will give me the needed rest for me and supply my strength in his grace.
He leads me beside still waters – The Lord provides peace for me, even if the world around me is not peaceful, he leads me to peaceful places on the inside of my very soul.
He restores my soul – The Lord will tend my soul. The Lord is the one who will care for me at the deepest levels of who he made me to be. He is my healer much deeper than my flesh.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake – I bear his name therefore he leads me to what is right. He has not left me to find it myself. He places his Spirit in me to speak and lead me. “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘this is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
Even 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 worst case scenario, walking into death itself, I do not have to fear evil. Why? He is with me!!! To be true to the new covenant, Spirit is in me! No evil shall befall me. He works for my good come what may (Romans 8:28). My Shepherd’s tools of defense are pointed in the other direction toward foreign invaders and he is my defender and shield. I fear no evil. I revel in his good for me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows – We are guests at the Lord’s table and even the enemies of the Gospel are powerless to prevent our enjoyment of all the delicacies of the Gospel and it’s work in us. We have food to eat that is not of this world. It is to do the will of the Father. Oh the joy in eating this kind of food. I am set apart, filled with the Spirit and have abundant life in Christ welling up to eternal life.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life – He will do nothing but good to me. I can trust that all must work for good to me. Even if it does not feel like it’s good I can trust that it is good. “I need not fear the knife when it is cutting out cancer.” – Josh Pilgrim
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever – I will never be taken from the Lord’s hands. His sheep hear his voice and they follow him. He gives us eternal life and we will never perish. No one can snatch us out of his hand (John 10:27-30).
This is David’s inspired musing on what it is to be shepherded by the Lord. This is us. How deep the Father’s love for us!