Today we read the most familiar of all the Psalms, but the things that become really familiar can lose the intensity and wonder of their meaning for us – in our hearts. May the Lord become truly the shepherd of each one of us – our guide in life – then we will never be in want of the things that really matter – eternally – saying, with David, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me …” [v.4]
David in his “walk” had many times of walking in the valleys when the threat of death surrounded him: but the LORD was truly his shepherd that is why he could confidently declare to Goliath, the Philistine, “I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel …” [1 Sam. 17 v.45]
The world is full of Philistines today – and there are many ‘Goliaths’ they follow – those who see themselves as intellectual or financial giants! But all such, in God’s eyes, as David expresses it in Psa. 103, “… are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” [v.14-16] But let David’s next words’ in this Psalm inspire us – “But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him …” Not just believe in him – but are in awe of him!
Back in Psalm 23 we meditate on the ‘role’ of a “shepherd” and the spiritual application David describes, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness ….”
If Jesus is truly our shepherd – does that mean we have never had times of “want”? We ponder this question – if we have truly followed the shepherd’s leading and clearly hear his voice – then we will never be in “want” of the things that really matter. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” [John 10 v.27]
Earlier he said, ” … he calls his own sheep by name and leads them …” [v.3] We have the “voice:” of Jesus – and of his Father – in our hands! When? Every day – surely! Let us re-double our efforts at hearing the ‘calling’ God’s word provides – then we can say with David – as he ends this Psalm, “… my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever“. By David Caudery