The enduring words of Psalm 23 are without question amongst the most recognizable and beloved of all scripture. They reflect common touch points of the human experience, both longed-for and feared. David himself was all too acquainted with sin and its effects, betrayal, adultery, murder, and family turmoil. Yet he penned a psalm universally loved for its expression of confidence, trust, peace, and tranquility. How did David find such a place for his soul to reside in the face of such varied and severe anxieties? Moreover, how are we to respond to our worries and fears?
When we feel anxious, God wants us to trust him and know him as the Good Shepherd. Do we know that our Good Shepherd will provide peace for us as the psalmist did (verses 1-3)? Do we know the leading of our Good Shepherd as the psalmist did (verses 2 and 3)? Do we know the personal presence of the Good Shepherd as the psalmist did (verse 4)? Do we know the blessings of our Good Shepherd as the psalmist did (verse 5)? Finally, do we know of God’s ultimate dwelling in eternity with us as the psalmist did (verse 6)? When we think of it, is the fact of our eternal life with the Lord not without question the greatest of his gifts to us? Our lives often present profound challenges to ourselves or to our loved ones. Regardless of what you face the Father longs for you to cast “all your anxieties upon him, for he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).” We know God does not always intervene in this life in the time or manner we hope for. A simple review of the various characters of Hebrews 11 reveals to us different perspectives on God’s provision and care; some came through this life victoriously, whilst others lost their lives. All were commended for their faith. In a sense it would be helpful for us to “live life backwards.” In the light of the surety of our eternal dwelling place with the Lord, how might we live differently today? Would we take greater risks for the Lord? Would we fear man less and the Lord more?
This life we know of now is both fragile and fleeting. Thankfully, we need not face life fearfully for we do not face it alone. Neither do we go through life unsure of our life’s purpose and destiny. Our Lord is our Good Shepherd! May we know him as David did, a man after God’s own heart, pleasing him with a confident, trusting faith.
p.s. One of my favourite verses comes to us from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, and from Paul’s own place of personal trial; please consider committing this to memory:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.