Psalms 23 pt. 9

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even 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 overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psa. 23).

In our last installment on the meaning of Psalm 23, we will look at “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The psalmist now sums up the advantage of being a sheep in the Lord’s flock and being an honored guest at a table set for them.  When we are in Christ, the only way to the Father, we walk in righteousness, and when we do, God’s blessings (goodness and mercy) follow us “all the days of our lives.” This does not mean our walk will be without challenges, but it does mean that He will be with us every step of the way. He knows where the best grazing is and will lead us there while protecting us from the predatory attacks of the evil one. But, even when we stray, He will be merciful and receive us back into the flock, forgiving our wandering spirit.

We are assured that trials will come our way.  John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” Now, that may sound harsh, but when viewed through the correct lens, one sees those persecutions from a different perspective – a perspective that shows purpose. 1 Peter 1:6-7, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

When we are tested, our faith is often what is being put to the test and will result in us being classified as Fairweather Christians or loyal subjects, faithful children of the Most High God. Moreover, the challenges have an additional purpose, as per Jam. 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

The way to heaven is strewn with trials. Some are small, some big, and some “mountainous,” but in the end, overcoming them will make us stronger, more mature Christians who will encourage others with our faithful behavior. Either way, God’s blessings, small, big, and “mountainous” as if to meet the trial’s strength, will be showered upon us. And the biggest blessing of all, aside from His Savior Son, is this, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Not matter what, everything will be okay in the end.

The result of all that we have looked at and studied so far, the culmination of obedience and faithfulness to the Shepherd, is this, “we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” When we follow our Shepherd to the best grazing while being led in the paths of righteousness even when things are grim, a prize awaits us – a prize so beautiful that it is beyond comprehension. That prize is promised to us, as is its inexplicable beauty. Firstly Jam. 1:12 is the promise, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

And secondly, 1 Cor. 2:9 tells us of its indescribable beauty, “…What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him“. So, accept God as your Shepherd, be obedient, be fulfilled, be led, be fed, be restored, be protected, be comforted, be victorious, be abundantly blessed the remaining days of your life, and secure your dwelling place with the Lord forever.

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