The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
For his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
Through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
For you are with me;
Your rod and staff
They comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
All the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
As I was thinking on rest, this psalm came to mind. It may be a familiar psalm but it is timely for this uncertain time we are facing. In a time where we are facing more uncertainty each day, due to the ongoing pandemic. Psalm 23 is a beautiful comfort of how we can find rest, in the midst of all we face.
Today, may we take sometime to meditate on the words of the Psalm. I want to start with verse 4, Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
It is common in a time of uncertainty and fear, for our minds to go into overdrive; trying to work out how we will be able to cope and get through this season. We quickly take all the responsibility into our own hands and we become restless and overwhelmed trying to find a solution to everything. In verse 4, David chooses to put his faith and trust in God. For he knows, God will be with him as he walks through this dark valley. This is the same truth for all of us today, God is with us as we walk through all the hardship this pandemic brings. He is a God who brings comfort by guiding us and protecting us along the way. David highlights how the dark valley will reveal evil but he will choose not to fear it. It is a hard decision to live out, especially when we are constantly inundated with all the things we should be fearing during this pandemic. Each day, I have been learning to pray that whatever the day may bring, my trust would remain faithfully in the Lord. Whether it be good or bad, to keep my hope in the Lord who is with me. Who guides me and comforts me along the way. This is a relationship we can all have with the Lord. He will be faithfully with us, through it all. It can be hard to believe when the Lord is not physically in front of us leading us. His peace, His comfort and His hope can be found in us, as we face each day.
Another reason I wanted to share this psalm, in regards to the topic of rest is due to how it was shared with me last year. When I was doing ministry in Amsterdam, we would have classes where there would be guest speakers who would come in. This lady came in to share on psalm 23 in regard to its meaning to her, through the life she was living. I am not going to go into detail, this was a woman who was struggling day to by day to support and care for her family. It was an ongoing battle she was dealing with, but her trust remained steadfast in the Lord. It was tiring and overwhelming, but she found hope in the Lord’s presence to keep pushing forwards.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his names sake. (v1-3)
The Lord actually wants us to rest, He wants us to allow him to lead us so that He can lead us to places of rest. The woman who I mentioned talked about the peace it brings to her, knowing the Lord wants to pour into her life. To refresh her soul, in a way that nothing on earth can do. It is the same for all of us, our souls may be feeling so discouraged and riddled with anxiety. The Lord is a great comforter to all our souls. When was the last time you allowed the Lord to lead you to a quiet place? When was the last time you allowed Him to fill you up and refresh your soul? The Lord is present to do that right now.
I want to take us to John chapter 10, which illustrates Jesus as the good shepherd. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. ( 10v2-4).
Jesus still leads us all, as our good shepherd. He knows us by name, and he leads us through life. May we not be discouraged when we walk through unknown places, for Jesus reminds us that He has gone ahead of us. We continue to follow Him because we know his voice and we know just as the psalmist proclaimed; Jesus guides us along the right paths for his name’s sake. We do not have to figure it out all on our own. We can rest in his presence, knowing the truth that wherever life may lead us; the Lord will not forsake us.
Through this pandemic we may struggle with sharing our faith and our hope, knowing people who would mock us and attempt to discredit the truth. Even the psalmist proclaims (v5), You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. David knew his enemies, but he also knew his God. David knew the people who were rising up against him, but he remained focused on the Lord. The Lord was blessing him abundantly; David proclaimed about his cup overflowing. There will always be people who are trying to discredit our faith. May we remind ourselves of how blessed we are by God, when we remain by his side. The road may not look pretty, people may mock and ridicule us, but the Lord will continuously provide everything we need.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (v6). This is truly a beautiful verse to end this blog on. God is so faithful to His people; we do not need to fear God forsaking us. God will be with us. The words used of his goodness and love following all the days of our life, is a huge comfort and blessing. God cares intimately for us. David ultimately ends by proclaiming where he will end up. To dwell in the house of the Lord forever, is his heart’s desire. David can find rest and hope as he walks through his life because his trust and his faith, is in the Lord who walks right alongside him. A God who fills David up and blesses him so abundantly; who David knows so intimately.
May we today find time to rest and allow the Lord to refresh our soul. When we spend time with the Lord, He brings a rest like no other. He brings a strength and determination to keep carrying on because He shows us, how He protects and walks alongside us. He is a gracious God who offers rest to all of us, when we will allow Him to lead us.
May you have a blessed week, love Victoria. xx