As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, some people say that the 23rd Psalm sounds, at least in part, like scripture from the New Testament. I guess I’m one of those people.
Right off the bat, we read that the Lord is my shepherd, which brings to mind Jesus, the Good Shepherd. His rod and staff provide comfort and safety. We know that if one sheep is lost, he goes looking until that sheep is found.
When we think about the salvation we receive from Jesus, there is also reason to give thanks for the peace, comfort and quiet that our relationship with Jesus can give us. To me, that sounds like lying down in green pastures and being led by still waters. Moreover, Jesus’s salvation surely includes the restoration of our souls.
The only way we can find a path of righteousness is to be led by God’s Son, our Savior. If we fail to partake of a Psalm 23-relationsip with God, we will lose the righteousness of God. Not righteousness of our own making but the true, deep righteousness of God, our Father.
We will all walk in the valley of the shadow of death, and there is usually fear when this happens. But we need not fear evil. As Paul wrote in Romans 12:21 (NIV): “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Part of this good news is found in Psalm 23 when we are told that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives, overcoming the fear of evil.
And we need not fear death. In I Corinthians 15:54-56, Paul writes: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” brings to my mind the Lord’s Table, a place where all, friends and enemies alike, can come and be one with God in Christ. What is found on the table for all to share is spiritual food and drink.
“Thou anointest my head with oil” takes me to James 5:14 where it is written: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.”
If we are in a Psalm 23-relationship with God and Jesus, we are already dwelling in God’s house, where we will continue to dwell once life as we know it is done.
Thanks be to God for the 23rd Psalm and how it connects us with God our Father and Christ our Lord and Savior. May we be blessed to understand it and live it.