Sunday, 15 June 2008

#3 - You never let go of me

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Usually when I look at a lot of psalms, songs I know spring to mind - this isn't surprising. Thousands of hymns and worship songs have been written inspired by Scripture. Psalms, back in Biblical times, would have been sung, so they're basically songs.

So, whenever I read this psalm, I'm reminded of...

  • The Vicar of Dibley theme tune (vv1-3), (sung by choir boys, and I only know the first two lines of it)
  • 'You Never Let Go' by Matt Redman that they've recently started to sing at church (but I knew it first- ha!)

This is probably one of the most well known psalms, and the imagery used probably is the reason why:

  • 'The Lord is my Shepherd' - Jesus is our Good Shepherd (John 10 v 11). I think I originally touched on that in #1 Shouting For Joy, but it's a really good way of describing Jesus:

-It shows his love towards us, described as sheep, who have chosen to follow Him. He never leaves or deserts us without guidance, but guides us in 'paths of righteousness' - He has set clear instructions for us.

-It also shows that following Jesus alone means that we 'shall not be in want' - Jesus can provide us with all we could need (Matthew 6 vv 25-34). There is no need to look else where to be satisfied.

-Jesus also offers us rest - verses 2 and 3 highlight that Jesus gives us time of quiet when we can relax and he can renew our strength by restoring our souls. He wants us to have time-out so we're not exhausted and disheartened.

  • 'The Valley of the Shadow of death' - as well as being there in the calm of the storm, God will also remain with us when times are hard. When things go wrong, often we feel like blaming Him. However, the Bible warns us of the hardships we will have because we are Jesus's followers (Acts 14v22), so we should be prepared for it in our walk. It's a good thing to remember, if you yourself are going through a hard time at the moment and feel as if God isn't doing anything to help, He is still there. He is with us every step of the way. Once the trouble passes and you've trusted in God through what happened, knowing that You are in His hands and that He was with you, deepens and strengthens your relationship as a result.

  • 'You anoint my head' - King David, who wrote this psalm, was anointed by the prophet Samuel - a sign from God that he was destined to replace Saul as King of Israel. David had been set apart from all his brothers and all the other men in God's people. Because of this Saul tried many times to kill him and he feared for his life on the run. As we follow Jesus and are now part of God's family, we are also set apart from non- Christians. Because of this, we will be different - people may pick up on this and try to find out what makes us different and/or mock us for it. But we have a wonderful future in store and when we die will dwell in Heaven, 'the house of the Lord forever'! We will be with God for the rest of time and no one will ever be able to snatch us from his hands.


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