First Off…read Psalm 23!
Is there any more timeless psalm out there than this one? This psalm is quoted at funerals, in times of trouble, as praises when people come THROUGH trouble! This is just a really really good psalm of peace and hope!
For the psalmist there is this understanding that God is in control and is looking out for him – and that is all that is needed to know. And because of this feeling, because of the words they use, this hopeful, peaceful psalm begins to show just how much trust the psalmist has in God.
Not once does the psalmist ask God to explain why the valley is so dark and why she is being led there. Two of my favorite books in all of scripture are Lamentations and Job – both are heart-wrenching and almost demanding at times…but here, in this text, the psalmist is simply at ease knowing that God does all these things…and is in full control. Not only is God in control but he is present and walking along side…leading, guiding, watching over. And THAT is more than enough to know.
It’s the presence of God that brings peace. Not answers. Not reasons. Not knowing the future – simply God’s presence.
How many of us can fully be at ease with something like that? I think we can say it – and say it rather easily…but how about putting it into practice? Because for all that we read – we must understand that the writer isn’t writing them as he’s “pretending” that he’ll do this trusting…the words are penned because they’ve BEEN THERE. The waters have NOT been calm…the pastures were NOT green and lush…and yet they still fully trust.
That’s life. Right? Hard times abound. Marriages split. Bills can pile up, mortgages can go into foreclosure, jobs are lost, family members get really really sick and even die. Friendships are broken up – and so much much MUCH more. It literally can feel like we’re in this valley of death.
But what really makes this text hard? There is no explanation. For a society that thrives and NEEDS things to be explained…it ain’t happen’n here…and that’s really hard for me personally. I like explanations. I like to know why and when. I like to know how come too. But Psalm 23 isn’t gonna give it to me…and I think that’s the point.
Hope and peace must be understood even when there is no explanation. It’s called “trust” for a reason. Trusting the Good Shepherd – and being comforted BY the fact that He IS the Good Shepherd. And that’s what this psalm brings to us. That even when we cannot see or know or understand where we are at or why things are happening…knowing that the Shepherd is near and that He is “good” – brings us to peace and calmness – and ultimately: Rest.
I love this last line, “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” And I will dwell, I will live, I will rest, I will be ever-present, in the house of the Lord, in His presence, in his place, at his table, forever….for the rest of my days and THEN some. God’s presence – his love – will go everywhere. The blessings of God will remain no matter what happens. No matter what trials and tribulations come.
No matter what the circumstance, this amazing Shepherd will protect me and I will be in his presence forever. It’s the comfort the psalmist has while in the midst of the valley and while lying in green pastures…and it’s the exact same comfort that we are given today. God doesn’t abandon us when times are tough, nor does he take us to green pastures simply to let us feed and then watch him walk away. The life of a shepherd is one of sacrifice, commitment, love, and dedication. It’s a life you live while giving up all other things. Your thoughts, emotions, actions and inactions, are all focused on that which you shepherd – and having the Lord as our Shepherd means that there isn’t anything he wouldn’t or hasn’t done for us. There is nothing he wouldn’t take on to make sure that we were given what we needed.
One of the reasons this psalm is so special is because everything we know about the Lord is wrapped up in this psalm. Commitment, love, sacrifice, comfort…and all of these attributes and meanings find fulfillment in understanding Christ and what he has done too. John 10:10 states that Jesus Christ came so that “we may have life, and have it abundantly.” Abundant life…not death, not starvation, not one of constant fear and trembling – but of life!
Psalm 23…hopefully reminds you of all that the Lord has done for you.
I want to close this out by quoting a few lines from one of my favorite songs of all time (there is a link to it below too)
Just to be with you – I’ll do anything. There’s no price I would not pay.
Just to be with you, I’ll give everything. Yes, I would give my life away.
- Third Day: Love Song
If you would like to hear the whole song then just click the link below and jump to the 4:14 mark and you’ll hear the live version. Here it is: Love Song