Our Committed Heavenly Father
I was listening to Dick Lucas' sermon on Psalm 23 today on my way back from work and it was an encouragement. In his own words, it is good to be reacquainted with an old friend. And here is Psalm 23 in the good ol' king's English:
Psalm 23 (KJV)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
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.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Dick Lucas emphasised that even though this psalm is quite an individualistic one, it focuses on God - He is the shepherd, He makes, He leads, He restores, He leads, He prepares, He anoints.
Moreover, it makes less sense to refer to "committed sheep" than to the "committed shepherd" -- in the same way, it is less of "committed Christians" (though it is good that we are) and more of our "committed Father". It is not amazing that in our troubled and mixed up lives that our Heavenly Father is ever so committed to shepherd us, to lead us and to guide us. We would no doubt still face our valley of shadow of death and be in the very presence of our enemies - there will be storms and tempest in our lives - but God will be there for us. His rod and his staff, they will comfort us.
He will cover us. In Hebrew, the psalm begins with "The Lord" and ends with "the Lord", i.e. The Lord is my shepherd ... I will dwell forever in the house of the Lord. We begin and end everything in the Lord. Isn't that lovely, even in the midst of ugliness of this fallen world.
If you are interested in Dick Lucas' sermon, check it out here.
Photo (c) 2007 Reza Vaziri