Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Benediction, Devo 5, Psalm 23

In the benediction at the end of our church services, one of our former pastors always used to repeat the big truths of his sermon.  It was so helpful.  David does that in this Psalm.  His benediction starting with “Surely goodness and mercy …” in verse six is the result of our Lord being our shepherd which is how he started in verse one.  

Psalm 23 has come full circle.  The truth at the beginning is re-phrased at the end.  Because the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.

* He knows me intimately.  He knows when I need to stop and lie down and enjoy the beauty around me. 
* He knows how to restore me when I am depleted.
* He leads me on my journey.  Sometimes I don’t understand the paths He chooses.  But I can trust them    because they are ultimately for His glory.
* He walks with me through the valleys of life.  I love the picture of footprints in the sand.  At first there are two sets of footprints beside each other.  Then there is only one set.  When questioned about that, the Lord says, “That’s when I picked you up and carried you.”  Sometimes life is so heavy I need to be carried. 
* He uses all the best equipment for my benefit.  His rod is to protect me.  His staff is there when I need something extra to lean on.
* He celebrates me as if I am his guest even in the midst of enemies.  He anoints my head with oil.  I have only been anointed with oil once.  It was very significant.  It communicated to me God’s good plan for me.

Because of all this, I can have confidence that goodness and mercy are following me and I am dwelling in the house of the Lord forever, for now and eternity.  This is the bow on the package that is filled with the shepherd’s good gifts for me.

Dwelling ~ I love that word.  Another psalmist uses the word dwell and says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  Psalm 91:1and 2.  In my mind, these two verses are a wonderful summary of Psalm 23.  Dwell is restated as abiding.  I’m abiding the God’s shadow.  God is a refuge and a fortress and trustworthy. 

Trusting again is the key.  Trusting for me comes alive in my prayer life.  And when life is so hard I can’t pray, trusting is asking a friend to walk with me and pray for me.

“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”
Psalm 23:6, The Message

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