“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I 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 have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Psalms 23:1-6 NASB
Years ago I wrote a reflection on this psalm that I presented to my church congregation. At the time, I was in great struggle, and I felt like the wolves were circling. My approach was full of self defense and even had a vindictive air to it. It was a time when I was being tested. I was being transformed, refined and prepared for the work that God had for me. The work He has for me now in such a time as this.
As I approach this psalm now, I am in a similar place as David. He was an older man, a warrior sheep looking back at the faithfulness of his Shepherd. I am very much in that same place. I have fewer years ahead as years of memories past. I am sitting as one who has known the faithfulness of the Lord.
In my years of striving, Jehovah Jireh, has been ever faithful as I have never starved, always been housed, clothed and loved. He has also cared for my soul. I lie down in peace, and the water surrounding my life are still. I can tell you that there are still storms, but God is in the midst of them. On my darkest days, when the seas are most turbulent, He is there. Like a Rock in the stream, I am not moved.
He restores my soul. I am one massively battered. I have been the butt of jokes, the subject of ridicule, the one sought out for great pain. But Jesus, He is the God of all peace. In the midst of the struggle, when I want to give up, He runs to me. I am amazed how He meets me at my lowest point, and then lifts me. He is a very personal God. He is in every aspect of my life.
He has used the struggles to make me over in His image. I am to be His ambassador, His representative in this world. I am being made new for His names sake. Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness, works His life into me and reforms my inward parts. He has become Jeshovah M’kaddish as He is sanctifying me, setting me apart for His work. I would have to say that this has been so difficult. My flesh seeks to rebel, to hold onto the status quo. Lovingly, He pulls the old sins and things I hold dear from my grasp. I begin to see as He sees and I desire what He desires.
I have certainly walked through the valley of the shadow of death. I will always remember the events leading up to and after the Christmas of 2008. I was at the door of death, and only by God’s grace I am still here. In that experience I learned that death is not to be feared. I think on how it says, “the shadow of death.” As a believer, death is but a shadow for me, as it is merely an address change. I leave this world, and go to be with the Lord in the next.
I fear no evil. Jehovah Nissi, the Lord my banner goes before me. He is in control. He protects my soul from the harm of the enemy. I seek Him and fill myself with His word and the reminders of how good He is. I know that Jesus has overcome the world. This gives me tremendous peace as I walk through this world. I know that He is with me. His rod and His staff they comfort me. He has given me the weapons I need.
“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:13-17 NASB
He prepares a table in the presence of my enemies. Like a lamb, I graze the lush grass with no fear, knowing that my Shepherd has all the wolves at bay. I live in peace, I sleep in peace, I know whatever may come, my destiny is settled. He is my comfort in all situations. He has anointed my head with the oil of gladness.
Believers, we are in difficult times. Know that the Lord is your Shepherd. He is there for you. He will get you through. Look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith.
Non-believers, you can know the peace of the Shepherd.
““For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 NASB
He came. He left the glory He knew with Father, to live as a Man, to die for your sins. He made way for you to know the peace of God. He died to save you from eternity in hell. We are sinners. All of the evils that we are seeing is sin. The wages of sin is death. Not the mere shadow, but death it self. Spiritual death, separation from God. You can know Jehovah Shalom, God our peace, in your life.
I pray that those of us who call upon the Name of the Lord share the Shepherd with the sheep who know Him not. Let’s be bold today!
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!