I woke up at 3am and my eye was scratchy and irritated. I tried rubbing my eyes, which only made it worse. I got up, put my glasses on and tried to see in the mirror if there was something in my eye, but to no avail. I didn’t want to wake my husband up because he has to wake up at 5 to open the shop. Do you know how hard it is trying not to move your eyes? I decided to recite Psalm 23 (whispering under the covers so as not to disturb my husband). I eventually drifted off to sleep and my eye is feeling better.
Psalm 23 is very interesting and I don’t know at what stage of his life David wrote this psalm. I can only guess that he wasn’t very young anymore. He seems to have gone through quite a bit of trouble to have come to the conclusions he did. Firstly he says, The Lord is my shepherd. He is very sure of this and leaves no doubt.
I shall not want
God will provide and undertake. Whatever the problem is, whether it is a spiritual or material need, God is in control of it.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures.
This is interesting. He says God makes him lie down. I think if someone makes me do something them it’s as if I’m being forced to do it. Why would God make him take a rest? Because he needed to rest. Just like all of us. I don’t know about you, but for me resting is a bit of an issue. There’s always so much to do. Resting and relaxing are things that always feel like a luxury and I have often felt guilty about not working, even when I’m tired. I have been quite ill a few times in my life and been forced to rest. It really isn’t that bad, but once I recovered I very quickly got back into my routine of being hurried again. I believe we have to rest and we have to take time for it because running on empty and becoming burned out is no good for your health. You are also not going to mean anything to anyone in an exhausted state. Our bodies weren’t built for non-stop work. In the 10 Commandments we are commanded to rest on the seventh day. Even God rested. Jesus often took a rest when the crowds were threatening to overwhelm Him.
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
More resting and restoring. I don’t think I could appreciate the still waters and be restored in my soul if I was in a state of exhaustion. It’s hard to be objective when you’re tired. The still waters put a picture of tranquillity in my mind. It makes me think of a happy place. A place where I can hear the birds singing and feel the coolness of the water. And restoring my soul sounds so enticing. It sounds like something I really want to happen. Like being renewed from the inside out. What an amazing experience. And why does God do it? For his name’s sake. Not for me! He needs my soul to be restored so that I can serve Him better and be a better representative. Wow!
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.
David went through that valley many times. His life was in danger often. He knew that valley intimately. But he knew that he did not have to fear being there. He knew for a fact that even when his life was in danger God was there with him. How often don’t people ask the question, “Where was God?” when bad things happen. David answers that question without hesitation. For You are with me. Most of us haven’t had to go through a fraction of the hardships David had to endure. He could well have shouted at God and asked how He could let His anointed suffer like he did, but he didn’t. He accepted what he went though and wasn’t rebellious about it. David had quite a few faults, but rebelliousness wasn’t one of them. Then he says that God’s rod and staff comfort him. The shepherd uses these tools to goad guide the sheep. I think he’s referring to God’s laws here. We don’t normally see laws as comforting, but they give us boundaries and boundaries are comforting.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
This is what God does for us. He provides magnificently in spite of the fact that our enemies are watching, and not only watching, but right there. God doesn’t work the way we work and He doesn’t think the way we think. In the blackest, darkest of times He can suddenly present us with a feast. He can bless us beyond what we thought possible in a time you didn’t expect it. He does not do things the way we do things. We would never think of preparing a banquet while our enemies are watching us. We would rather wish we could disappear, but God will do something like that. He can show us His love and His power in the most meagre circumstances. I remember being awake one night and not feeling very sure of God’s love or his presence. I asked Him to show me His love and he did. I physically felt waves of His love go through my body. To properly describe the feeling is not possible. It was something I had never experienced before and it gave me so much peace. I knew then for sure that God was real and that He cares for me and would always care for me. He didn’t mind that there wasn’t an audience or that it wasn’t during a church service. He just showed me His love because that was what I needed.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
David had been anointed by Samuel as king. Many years and many trials and tribulations passed by before David became king. In the time before he became king, he never used the fact that he had been anointed to gain himself favour. He never used it against Saul. He always respected Saul as being God’s anointed, not even when Saul was being totally wicked. David had two perfect opportunities to kill Saul while he was being hunted down, but he decided to respect him instead. Can we say the same of ourselves when we get irritated or upset at people who treat us unfairly? David’s cup ran over with God’s love. He knew that God would be there for him. David didn’t always do everything right, but he always realized and recognized his own sins and repented. Often weeping bitterly before the Lord. Are we willing to repent before God or do we try to justify our actions? God knows what we are going to do before we do it, why are we so hard headed and hard hearted? It takes so little to be honest with God. We should also be able to live with our cups continually running over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
If I was David I might not have thought that goodness and mercy were following me. He went through tough times. Saul threw spears at him and pursued him his army for a long time. He had to live in the open and hide in caves. He pretended to be allied with the Philistines which was not a very safe place to be. The Amalekites invaded Ziklag, took all the women, including his two wives, and children captive. His friends were murdered, and his own son, Absalom wanted to overthrow him and take the throne for himself. Not exactly goodness and mercy in the traditional sense of the word. But David knew that God’s ways aren’t our ways and God’s thoughts aren’t our thoughts.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
David was assured of his salvation. He knew that he would go to God when he died.
Hebrews 11:32-34 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
We are inspired to have the kind of faith that David had. To know that in spite of hard times, God is always there and that no matter what He will never ever abandon us.