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23rd Psalm Part 2

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by godbe4me, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. 23rd Psalm Part 2

    Psalm 23: 4-6
    Part 2
    “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 comfort me;”
    “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;”
    “Thou anointest my head with oil;”
    “My cup runneth 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.”
    “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death;”
    In the summer the shepherd leads his flock up into the mountains for better grazing. However they must go through dangerous ravines. The valley the psalmist has in mind is a deep ravine, faintly lighted with steep slopes and a narrow floor. A dangerous place for sheep. Hidden in the shadows are snakes coiled to strike and wolves ready to pounce on a stray. Some shepherds choose the security of the barren pasture below. But the good shepherd doesn’t. He is prepared. Staff in hand and rod attached to his belt. With his staff he will nudge the flock; with his rod he will protect and lead the flock.
    The sheep learned to trust David and David had learned to trust God. When we come to the deep, shaded valley of life, we are not afraid, because we have the shepherd to protect us. The sheep have the courage to trust the shepherd, even in the dark valleys. As Christians we also need courage to trust our shepherd. If we know he is nearby we simply trust in him and go on grazing. As Paul wrote to the Philippians; “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6,7]
    What the shepherd does with the flock, our shepherd will do for us. He will lead us to the high country. When the pasture is bare down here, God will lead us up there. Some day our shepherd will take us up to the mountain by way of the valley. He will guide us to His house through the valley of the shadow of death. We must trust God. We must trust not only that He does what is best but that He knows what is ahead.
    “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me;”
    David may not have had death in mind when he wrote this phrase. He was saying that he had the courage to go through life’s experiences because he had a shepherd to lead him.
    Notice the change in pronouns. In the first three verses David has been talking about the shepherd. Now he speaks directly to him, - “for thou art with me,” - the psalm has changed from praise to prayer. As long as he thought about rest and green pastures he talked about the shepherd. But when he thought about the dark valley of life , and the darkest valley through which he was sure to go, he spoke to God directly. We may face death, but we are not alone.; we may face unemployment, but we are not alone; we may face the loss of a loved one, but we are not alone; the Lord is with us. Paul announced it: “He is not far from each one of us.” [Acts 17:27] We are not alone.
    Sorrow and death can make the presence of the Shepherd very real. He knows the way to death and through death. Because He is with us , we can be certain that He can do the same for us.
    In Revelations we read; “And He laid his right hand upon me saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last;: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death.” [Revelations 1:17,18]

    “Thy rod and thy staff comfort me;”
    David describes his relationship to God as that of a sheep to the shepherd. And he declares that because he is God’s sheep and God is his shepherd, he will not lack for comfort.
    The rod and staff symbolize God’s power. The rod was a wooden club about two feet long with a round head or knot at the end. Sharp bits of stone and metal were hammered into the head. A skilled shepherd not only wielded the club to smash the head of the attacker, but he could also hurl the club like a missile.
    The staff or crook was bent on one end. With this he could restrain the sheep, or hook them in the legs to pull them out of a hole. It was a universal instrument that could open a thicket or beat down the high grass to drive out snakes.
    The sheep take comfort from the shepherds power. Like the sheep, God offers us his power and strength. But while we may be awed - the thought of His power may not be comforting to us. When we consider the universe God has made, we may be awed but not comforted. But David’s shepherd and our shepherd is as tender as He is powerful. He cannot use His power outside His love, just as He cannot exercise His Holiness apart from His grace. From the rod and staff of the shepherd we derive comfort. We can comfort others when we share the comfort God has given us. Paul writes to the Corinthians; “Blessed be God, even the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” [II Corinthians 1:3,4]

    “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;”
    When a shepherd enters a new field, he inspects it for adders and insects. He must prepare the Pasture. Of special concern to the shepherd is the adder, a small brown snake that lives underground. When he finds an adder hole, he uses a bottle of thick oil to pour a circle of oil around the top of every hole he can find. Then he anoints the head and nose of each sheep with oil. When the adders attempt to crawl out of their holes, the oil keeps them from getting out. The oil on the sheep’s head acts as a repellent for both snakes and insects. Literally, the sheep graze in the presence of their enemies.
    God sometimes sends us to live in dangerous places. Jesus told his disciples; “I send you in the midst of wolves.” [Matthew 10:16]

    “Thou anointest my head with oil;”
    The oil has two other purposes in addition to protecting against vipers. First it heals wounds. Second, the oil spread around the sheep’s nose keeps insects such as nose flies from depositing their eggs in the soft membrane of the sheep’s nose. If that should happen the sheep will beat its head against trees and rocks for relief and may kill itself. For these reasons the shepherd anoints the sheep. He covers their heads with an oil-like repellent. The fragrance keeps the insects at bay and the flock at peace. Sheep still tend to get hurt. Most of the wounds the shepherd treats are simply the result of living in a pasture. Thorns prick, or rocks cut or a sheep rubs too hard against a tree. Sheep get hurt. As a result, the shepherd regularly inspects the sheep searching for cuts and abrasions. He doesn’t want the cut to worsen. He doesn’t want today’s wound to become tomorrow’s infection.
    Neither does God. Just like sheep we have wounds, but ours are wounds of the heart. If we are not careful, these wounds lead to bitterness. And so like sheep we need to be treated. “ He made us, and we belong to him: we are his people, the sheep He tends. [Psalm 100:3] God will do for us what the shepherd does for the sheep. How? First: go to Him. You anoint my head with oil. Second: Assume the right posture - bow to God. In order to be anointed the sheep must stand still and lower their heads. Peter urges us to; “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” [I Peter 5:6] The sheep doesn’t understand how the oil works. All he knows is that something happens in the presence of the shepherd. And that is all we need to know. [Psalm 25:1,2]
    “My cup runneth over;”
    David was not just thinking of a host and his treatment of a guest, although this is a legitimate reading. David was thinking about how a considerate shepherd treated his sheep. When the shepherd draws water from a well, he pours the water into stone cups beside the well. The mark of a good shepherd was to keep the stone cups filled to the brim so each sheep could drink with ease. Keeping the cups filled might take the shepherd two or more hours, especially if the cistern was very deep.
    God is a great giver. According to David, our hearts are not large enough to contain the blessings that God wants to give. He not only gives us abundantly above what we ask; He gives us exceedingly abundantly above our asking. He not only gives us abundantly, He is abundant in His forgiveness. That is the glad message of the bible. As Christians we are forgiven fully, freely, finally forever. In the words of the hymn, “It is well with my soul:” “My sin, O what bliss of that glorious thought, my sin not in part but the whole; is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.”
    “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the day of my life;”
    In this final sentence, the Psalmist moves from past experiences to his present and future life with God. David knew of God’s faithfulness through the years and he had faith in the future. He believed in a sure God who makes sure promises and provides a sure foundation.
    The Lord is the shepherd that leads the flock; goodness and mercy are the sheep dogs that guard the rear of the flock. Not goodness alone - not mercy alone; but goodness and mercy all the days of our lives. The Hebrew word for mercy is sometimes translated, “loving kindness” or “loyal love.” The new testament would render it as “grace.” Mercy is the grace given to us who do not deserve it.
    Surely goodness and mercy will pursue us. Surely because God never forsakes us. He is the Lord our Shepherd and we are His sheep. He walks before us and goodness and mercy follow us all our days.
    “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever;”
    The twenty third Psalm is about David’s personal relationship with God. David did not have heaven in mind when he wrote these words. He was not thinking about where he would be but with whom. In Psalm Twenty Seven David says; “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” David expected to live in the Lord’s house both during his life and afterward, because there he would be in the Lord’s presence.
    We who are Christ’s sheep can be sure that our Shepherd, who has led us safely through life, will see us safely home with Him. God never did say that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival will be worthwhile. Trust him. He will get you home. And the trials of the trip will be lost in the joys of the feast. Whatever else heaven may be, it is primarily a place where we will be with Christ.
    When we place our confidence in Christ personally, we can say with David; “The lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want;” and then we can affirm with conviction based on God’s promise; “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
    Excerpted from: Trusting the Shepherd, Insights from Psalm 23; By Haddon W. Robinson and
    Safe in the Shepherd’s Arms, Hope and Encouragement from Psalm 23; By Max Lucado

  2. Praise GOD!!
    I loved this sis!!

    This is words to live by! Each day I would like to be able to think about my troubles and pain in this light! God does tend to us, just like a shepard to his sheep, so it only makes sense that HE is there to annoint us and to heal and help us, but, in Due time as Paul pointed out. This is what causes doubt. We want it in our time, I am guilty of this, but we must remember tha HIS timing is perfect!

    wonderful posting!
  3. Sis,
    When I read this, I looked at the 23rd Psalm in a new way. I just wanted to share it with everyone else. I love the Psalms.

    I am happy that you have new insights as well

  4. the 23rd goes well with the 22nd in reading of christ death, and time in the tomb if you think about it.

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