PERKS AND PROMISES

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” (Psalm 23)

These are the perks and promises found only in God’s presence. The world can’t offer such treasures. In the world you will have trouble. That, too, is a promise. The world assures us grief, sorrow, stress, frustration and pain. This leaves only one place to turn, one sure escape – the resting place of God’s presence.

David begins his psalm, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” To paraphrase, he was simply stating, “My shepherd is all I need.” Do you feel the same way? So long as you have God, you’re totally satisfied? You don’t need possessions to make you happy? You don’t need vices to help you get by? I’m mindful of Moses in the wilderness. After praying to know God more the Lord answered, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Moses responded, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” (Exodus 33:14,15) Moses was essentially saying, “I’d rather be in the desert with you than in the Promise Land without you. You’re all I need.” May that be our heart’s cry!

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.”

I have a chronic pain issue. I start out okay in the morning, but as the day progresses I grow sorer and my legs give out. For this reason my wife makes me lie down. God does the same for us. He doesn’t expect us to always be busy on our feet. “Be still,” He reminds us. “And know that I’m God.” He’d like for us to chill and chew on that for a good while. This is where we find rest for the soul. This is where He leads us – to that place of stillness and calm.

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.”

I have a brother who is in the restoration business. He takes damaged goods and once he gets his hands on these contraptions they become like new. To further ensure they stay that way, he sets them somewhere safe. God is also in the restoration business. That’s His specialty. We suffer a lot of wear and tear in the world. Hearts break and souls grow weary. We not only need rest, we need constant repair. We must allow God to get His hands on us. Only He can heal the soul. Once restored, God sets us in a safe place – the path of righteousness.

“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.”

For a shepherd, a rod and a staff are tools of the trade. The rod serves to protect the sheep. The staff is used to guide them. Now, when it’s God holding the rod and staff, there is nothing to fear. No matter where you find yourself, or what you’re going through, or how dark things may seem, The Good Shepherd is faithful to see you through. Take comfort in that.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”

Try to picture this. You’re seated at a table that God personally prepared with you in mind. It’s a feast fit for a king and you can’t believe your eyes. To top things off, your Holy Host is giving you the royal spa treatment; a head massage and the whole works. I mean, you’re on cloud nine. You’ve never felt so wonderful. Your cup runs over with joy as God pampers you with His loving-kindness. He does this for all to see, even those who despise you. Now, imagine how they feel. They wish they were in your shoes! This is how enemies are defeated – by making them pant for what we have. Once they start drooling, we invite them to the table to join us.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.”

Again, such perks are found only in God’s presence. Distance only creates doubt and despair, and you don’t need those ugly twins following you. So long as we press into God, we can count on goodness and mercy to remain hot on our trail. This is important because we’re lost without this dynamic duo. Mercy sweeps up messes left behind; goodness paves the way forward. While one deals with the past and the other the future, their song is heard in stereo: “We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!” May this song be a continual comfort to you.

 

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