Today’s scripture: Psalm 23
Psalm 23 is familiar to most people, even people who don’t go to church. We know who the “good shepherd” is. We also see ourselves as the sheep but we don’t like the helpless feeling we get when we’re told we are like sheep gone astray. Yet, there is something comforting to know that we can have a shepherd watching over us, guiding us, leading us to spiritual food and water and keeping predators at bay. When we place our faith – our trust- in God through Jesus Christ, we gain the shepherd’s watchful presence and power through the Holy Spirit. This is what we need as we travel through life on our “field trip.”
Psalm 23 paints an idyllic picture of God’s sheep cared for, watched over, and living in abundance. This is the image of the people arriving in the Promised Land of milk and honey so long as they remained focused on following God. Green pastures and still water are images of peace and abundance.
The rod and staff are metaphors for God’s protection (rod) over our enemies and the world for our soul and the staff is God’s guidance through this journey to keep us on course through the Word, Christian accountability, worship, and prayer.
It is not a guarantee of total peace but rather, that God is with us through the difficulties and struggles of life. We live in a fallen world – the valley, yet we are fortunate to glimpse moments of God’s glory from brief trips to the mountain tops.
Even in the presence of our enemies, God is with us and the hope of eternal life with God is secured because God has chosen us (anointed our heads with oil) and his goodness and mercy are ours forever.