Summary: Psalm 23 is one of the best known passages in the scripture. We can find hope and comfort by knowing that the Good Shepherd walks with us.
Walking With The Good Shepherd
For centuries the Twenty-third Psalm has been one of the most treasured passages in all the Bible. It has become so familiar that people of many religions recognize these words. The words are comforting and are often read at times such as this. Who does not know the verse which says; “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
It would be wonderful if God would promise us that we would never go through difficult times. But we all do go through difficulties, don’t we? But the Word of God does make very clear that as we move through such times, God is with us. God is there to offer comfort and to sustain us. Listen to the verse again. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
God is described as being a Shepherd, who cares and tends His flock of sheep. A Shepherd’s job is to lead, feed and oversee. The Shepherd oversees by using two tools - a rod and a staff. The rod is used to ward off evil and to direct the sheep as they walk. The staff, with its large crook at the end serves to rescue the sheep when it falls into pit or can’t get up a steep embankment.
The Shepherd feeds by bringing His sheep to green pastures where there is still water. He wants His sheep strong, healthy and well nurished. He knows that the journey ahead can be long and rough. His desire is that each sheep will be successful on the trail.
The Shepherd leads. He does not send us through the dark valley with only a promise that He will meet us on the other side. He goes every step of the way with us. He is right by our side. He is the Shepherd. This is a promise we have from this Psalm. God walks with us through the trials of life. Isn’t that a great promise - no matter what you are going through - no matter how much pain - God stays with you.
The Shepherd leads, feeds and oversees to the end of the journey. The last verse of Psalm 23 says: “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The journey is sometimes filled with joy, and sometimes it is filled with sadness. There are canyons and valleys that are dark. There seems to be dangers around every corner. Yet, as a Christian I know where the journey will end. "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
How long is forever? I can not answer that question. I have no concept of eternity. But there is a song which we sing in church that talks about it. You know the song, it goes like this:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound-
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see.
The last verse says:
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Then when we’d first begun.
How long is forever - I do not know. But I do know that if you trust in Jesus - you can dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.
Let us pray.