Psalm 23, NKJV – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. Yea, 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever.”
I spent the last 2 days at the PennDel Youth Convention in Hershey, where the speaker, Eran Holt, taught on Psalm 23 in the 3 sessions. And it was so great!! I went with theOAK youth group, where I stopped going about 4 years ago now. That being said, it’s kinda crazy how I ended up going! I hadn’t really talked to anyone there since I left, until a little while ago, when an old friend and I started chatting on Facebook and then got together one day. In the car with her and her mom, Youth Convention came up, and they said I should come. I said I would think about it. After some prayer, more chats with Loretta, and some bugging by her mom(Thanks, Cherri 😉 ), I decided to go! And I am so glad that I did! I had a truly amazing time with all of them, from worshipping and learning together, soccer at the park, late night dinner stops, the conversation and laughs, and the crazy, loud rides in a school bus with 30 people screaming songs I don’t know, which was actually quite a lot of fun, and everything in between! Thank you to theOAK youth group and leaders for the amazing time!
Anyway, back to the sessions and Psalm 23. It was great to dig a little deeper into the context and verses, and learn and be reminded of so much through it! It was actually written during a time when David was fleeing for his life from his son, Absalom. There wouldn’t have been much peace in his circumstances, but David rested in God and looked back on his life, seeing how God had been with him and brought him through every circumstance. This Psalm is a declaration of that, and shows us David’s relationship with God, in the Old Testament!
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.”
Not only is Our Lord a shepherd; but He is The Good Shepherd! He is always with us, taking care of us, comforting us, and leading us to every good thing that we need and desire. When we are down, He comes and picks us up. He doesn’t chastise and punish us for the things that we do wrong, but He lovingly disciplines us, and His Kindness leads to our repentance.
“Is God your Shepherd?” If not, then what is?
Eran talked about Humanism, Fatalism, and Legalism, and how none of those can exist if we have a true relationship with God. If we are glorifying ourselves, then how can we glorify God or reach out to Him for the life that He wants us to live? If we see our human, sinful condition but think that we are destined to stay in it, then how can we reach out to God for forgiveness? If we think that we have to do certain things or follow certain rules to make God love and accept us, then we wouldn’t know His Unconditional Love. We wouldn’t know Him. Because it’s not about the bucket; it’s about the One sitting at the well, ready to give His water of everlasting life. All we have to do is accept Him, and the life He died to give us. All we have to do is surrender, all of us, because He gave all of Him.
John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Other religions claim to have found “a way”, “enlightenment”, nirvana, to an empty “completeness”. But, we know that Jesus is the Only Way to God. Without Him, belief in God is worth nothing.
Jesus didn’t come to make a way to God that was narrow and difficult. He came to make the only way to God, to salvation.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” -NIV Think about it, this verse alone does away with the issues of Humanism, Fatalism, and Legalism, of having to do something for God for Him to love us. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Because it’s not about us; it’s about His Sacrifice, the Perfect Lamb.
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“Yea, 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever.”
- The valley isn’t your graveyard; it’s your battlefield.
- You are not buried; you are planted.
- If God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.
- One generation’s compromise is the next generation’s captivity.
- Peace is not the absence of problems; it’s the Presence of My God.
So, what is the valley you are surrounded by today? Can you see His Light shining through it, or have you lost your sight? Do you have peace?
Are you fighting any giants? David knew quite a bit about that. And when he faced Goliath, he trusted in His God for victory. He did not fear; he was comforted. He knew God’s Love and Presence, His Goodness and Mercy. He saw what God was preparing. He knew that he would be king. And he knew that God would not let him down.
So let’s take our stand against the giants, and claim our victory in Christ. Let’s not despair, but hope. Because God has a plan. He’s got it all worked out. Let’s rest in Him, and stay there.
“I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever.”