Meditations on Psalm 23
In church last Sunday morning Psalm 23 was mentioned, and as I continued to think about it during the rest of the day I decided that I wanted to meditate on it each morning this week to see what truths God had to show me. Psalm 23 is one of the better known Psalms, and sometimes when I'm reading a more familiar bible passage I can find that without intentionally doing it my mind switches off because I've read it before and I "know" it. However, the truth is that we can never fully know it all, because God still has more to teach us and if I am not careful I will miss what he has for me today, right now, in the season I am in. That's why I wanted to take another look at this Psalm this week, not just skim over it, but really meditate on it and also read it in other versions instead of just my usual one.
So, I'm sharing with you today some of the things God showed me and reminded me of this week.
Psalm 23 (NLT)
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
"The Lord is my shepherd" this speaks to me of my relationship with God, the connection there is between us, he is my shepherd and I am his sheep. He is the source of all I need, he provides me with nourishment, including my spiritual nourishment, he leads me, guides me, and protects me.
"He lets me rest" we live in a fast-paced world and sometimes we can feel guilty if we want to take a break, but God knows the value and importance of rest. As I meditated on these words I felt God saying it's ok to have a rest, it's good to do so, and I'm actually giving you permission to incorporate rest into your life, so there's no need to be carrying a false sense of guilt around with you.
You and I need this rest if we are to live a full, healthy and satisfactory life. The version I'm more familiar with is the NIV which says "makes" rather than "lets". I've found that's also been the case in my life, when I refused to live a balanced life which included rest amongst work, there came a time when my body could not take anymore and there was nothing I could do but rest. God taught me (is still teaching me!) the value and necessity of periods of rest. Without incorporating specific rest times (by that I mean resting both of the body and the mind) at various points of the day I am not able to function at a level that is right for me.
God is the one who "renews my strength", in my weakness he teaches me to depend on his strength on a daily basis. He also gives me the inner strength that I need to keep going on the path he has set before me. Not only does he renew me, he also refreshes and restores me, some very good reasons to set aside times to be alone with my shepherd who tends and cares for me.
God's presence with me, his closeness means I have no need to fear walking "through the darkest valley". As my shepherd he has with him his rod and staff, and he uses them for my protection, for my comfort and to guide me. The word "through" in that verse brings me great encouragement. This means that when I'm in the middle of the darkest time, I can have the reassurance, the comfort, that it will not last forever, I can keep walking with him, step by step and he will bring me through, I can depend on that!
"You honour me by anointing my head with oil." Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. God has blessed me with the presence of his Spirit and he anoints me, making me fit for service, equipping me to do that which he's called me to do. Ephesians 5:18 "Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit," that verse actually means to keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit. On a daily basis I can ask God to fill me with his Spirit so that I can live in his power for that day.
"My cup overflows with blessings". God has blessed me with so much, I have so much to be grateful for. He is such a generous God that my life overflows with blessings.
I love that God's "goodness and unfailing love will pursue me". God's love never fails me, never gives up on me, whatever I go through, whatever I do, God won't ever, ever stop loving me. How amazing is that?! Not only that, but because God loves me, he pursues me. Even if I want nothing to do with him, when I rebel or turn my back on him, he's never going to turn his back on me, in fact he's going to keep moving towards me, he's committed to a relationship with me, he's constantly faithful, for all time.
"I will live in the house of the Lord forever." Forever I have the blessing and the privilege of being in the presence of God, not just for here and now but for all eternity.
To Think About:
As you read today's devotional blog, which particular phrase or verse did you sense God drawing your attention to? Why do you think this was? What does this verse or phrase mean to you?
Over the coming week read and meditate daily on Psalm 23. Consider using different bible translations. Journal your thoughts and what God says to you.
If you would like to, leave a comment sharing something that God has said to you as you meditated on Psalm 23. I would love to hear from you.