Saturday, October 20, 2018

A Shepherd and a King

Psalm 23
A psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
    he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
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 overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

I've been reading my way through the Book of Psalm. When I opened to Psalm 23 this week, I paused. I didn't want to read through this familiar chapter too quickly. Instead I focused with a fresh perspective. As I studied the familiar words, I thought about the author, King David, and the stories I've read about him.

David was a shepherd. He understood life lived outdoors, 24/7. No doubt he spent days in the dust and dirt, sweating under the sun, and sleeping under the moon. He chased sheep back to the flock and played his harp. Yet, in this less than glamorous job, he lacked nothing. God went before him and supplied clean water, a comfortable place to lay his head, and refreshment for his soul.

David was a warrior and king. God guided him through the valleys of war. Then when David fell to temptation, wallowed in sin, and journeyed through the darkest of days, God went after him. David beat himself up; his heart ached due to his own mistakes. But through all of his cries for mercy, he eventually heard his Father say, "You're forgiven." He realized that the God of his youth was ushering him back into the fold, just as a shepherd leads his sheep to the flock. He understood that God was not going to desert him. Instead, God led him. David praised God for his constant presence and care.

I love the words that end this passage. "Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." God loves us and wants to give us his grace, just like he did David.
Psalm 23~what a beautiful reminder of hope!

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