I read this Psalm on 04/23/2010. It was a part of my morning reading. I was preparing to leave in a couple of hours for a women's conference in South Carolina with some friends. So I chose Psalm 23, since I read a Psalm daily.
Later I happened to start thinking about this particular Psalm. Can't tell you why. Things come to my mind at the weirdest of times, while I am at the weirdest of places, and while I may be doing the weirdest of things! But I think that is how God gets my attention...because when these times occur, I tend to REMEMBER them!
Most of us tend to associate Psalm 23 with death. We have heard it read at funerals, at death beds, when we are grieving and are seeking comfort. The song is also sung at funerals. I used to sing it when I was a young teenager, at various churches in my hometown. I never enjoyed it...made me feel sad. I misunderstood.
And so as I was thinking about it, I started to wonder why? Why do we think of it as the 'Psalm of Death'? Why not look at it in a new way? Why not see that it is also a Psalm of protection, of love, of refreshment?
"I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures." He is Jehovah Jirah. He is our Provider. Our provision comes by His hand. When we need rest, He eases our burdens that we may find it. And He watches over us as we slumber.
"He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul." Our God is the God of restoration. When we are anxious, He restores our peace. When we are weary, He gives us calm thoughts; He soothes our souls.
"He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." No one is good...no not one...but He will show us the way, will help us to emulate Him. He teaches us right from wrong, and justice and truth follow right behind. And when we take on His righteousness, then His name is indeed glorified.
"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." The reality is that we do walk through the shadow of the valley of death, daily. We don't think about it, but we do. However, He protects us, He walks with us, He fights with us, and He never leaves us alone. His rod and His staff are weapons He holds; symbols of his power and might, and His great love for His people. There is no greater comfort.
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You annoint my head with oil; my cup runneth over." We will feast with Him, and the evil ones will gnash their teeth and burn with fire. We will be exalted by Him right in front of them. He gives us His power and strength to do His will daily, to walk upright and strong. And He blesses us with great generosity.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." We will be surrounded continually with His favor, with more blessings, and as we walk others will see and be saved. Our reward is to live with Him forever more.
Where is the sadness, the tragedy, the sorrow, in these words? In fact, this Psalm should be viewed as a celebration. It contains the wonderful promises our God has given to His people...to us...by His love and faithfulness, by His Holy Word.
Read this Psalm on your own, in its entirety. Clear your mind, your heart, and read it aloud. See the promise for yourself. Smile, laugh, shout for joy. God loves you! He says it loud and clear in Psalm 23...the Psalm of Life!
I love the LORD! I write the Rosebuds of Faith Devotional Series on my blog,ohiolilisview.blogspot.com/ and Angelwingdevotionals at angelwingdevotionals.wordpress.com/.
You can also find my work on everydaychristian.com.