Psalm 23:4-6 – Don’t threaten me with Heaven!

the lord is my shepherd

Psalm 23:1-3 – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.2  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

In an earlier devotion taken from Psalm 23:1-3, we considered three pastoral qualities of Christ, the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-7, 14-15). The first, our Shepherd LORD is a Pastor, a herdsman (23:1).

Psalm 23:1 – “The LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God] is my shepherd [herdman; pastor]; I shall not want [lack; be lacking; become empty].”

The second pastoral quality we find in Christ is He is a Provider (23:2).

Psalm 23:2 – “He maketh me to lie down [repose; recline; lie stretched out] in green [young, tender grass] pastures [pleasant place; habitation; meadows]: he leadeth [guide; sustain; lead to a place of rest and refreshing] me beside the still [peaceful; quiet; comfort] waters.”

lionFinally, Christ is a Protector, a guardian of those who place their faith and trsut in Him (23:3).

Psalm 23:3 – “He restoreth [return; turn back] my soul [life; person; heart; mind]: he leadeth [guide; transport] me in the paths [track; goings; way; course] of righteousness [justice; prosperity] for his name’s [honor; character; fame; reputation] sake.”

In these days of uncertainty when the world is embroiled in the task of facing an enemy that strikes terror in the hearts of people and wrecks havoc on communities, cities and nations, what an incredible, assuring thought to rest confidently in Christ the LORD, our Good Shepherd who is our Pastor, Provider, and Protector!

Psalm 23:4 – “Yea, though I walk through the valley [gorge; gully] of the shadow of death [shade; darkness; gloom], I will fear [be afraid] no evil [wickedness; the wicked; distress]: for thou [the LORD] art with me; thy rod [stick; ruling scepter; a symbol of authority] and thy staff [walking stick; support] they comfort [console; ease] me.”

David directs his conversation to the LORD asserting his faith, “I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me” (23:4b).  Like a loving shepherd guarding his sheep, David was confident the LORD would be with him in his darkest hours.  The king knew he would not be alone when enemies pressed in on every side.  Remembering the tools of the shepherd’s trade, David was comforted the LORD would come to his defense like a shepherd wields a rod to strike a mortal blow against a beast.  Identifying the shepherd’s crook, David believed the LORD would lovingly lead him through the darkness of the valley and into safe pastures.

Psalm 23:5 – “Thou preparest [order; array; arrange; furnish] a table [spread; meal] before me in the presence of mine enemies [distress; affliction]: thou anointest [i.e. satisfy; make fat] my head with oil [i.e. olive oil; figuratively richness]; my cup [figuratively my lot or portion] runneth over [is satisfied; abundant; saturated].”staff

The shepherd’s loving care of his sheep continues to be the metaphor David employs to describe God’s loving care of His people. Though enemies might mean him ill, David was comforted by the knowledge that no adversary could harm him without first passing the shepherd who used his body as the gate into the safety of the fold.  Though lions roar and wolves howl, it was the perpetual presence of the shepherd that stilled the flock.  The shepherd used oil for medicinal purposes as a salve for scratches and open sores.  David reminded himself the LORD, like a loving shepherd, never spared in His loving care of His people.

Psalm 23:6 – “Surely goodness [better; best; pleasing; favor] and mercy [loving-kindness; grace] shall follow [run after; pursue; chase] me all the days of my life: and I will dwell [inhabit; sit; abide; remain] in the house [family; household] of the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Eternal God] for ever.”

Believer, I close with David’s wonderful affirmation that has been the promised hope of the saints down through the ages.  God reserves His best for His people and a saint who places his faith in the LORD will never exhaust God’s loving mercy.  My friend, when this earthly sojourn is nearing its end, and this veil of flesh is worn and ready for rest, take heart, the LORD has a place for you in His house where you may dwell for all eternity!

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith