A Psalm Of David
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even 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.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (NIV)
Food For Thought:
At first glance, you read through this passage and you think how wonderful.. what a comforting psalm written by King David. Surely, this has to be a comforting word from God. Wait a minute.. hold on.. What’s this? In Psalm 23:4, it says:
“Even 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.“
Wow.. first of all, walking through the valley of shadow of death.. now that sounds really scary.. then, secondly, how do the rod and the staff bring comfort to me? They sure sound painful to me.. Well, I don’t understand? What a contradictory statement!
If this is what you were struggling to understand, I was too. But, as I seek to get an answer to these thoughts, I discovered some great truths. On 26th March 2010, a Sunday morning, my pastor preached on the sermon on peace. What is the peace that the bible talks about? In John 20:19-23, the Bible recorded the scene where Jesus appeared before His disciples after His resurrection. Guess what Jesus said to His disciples, the first time He appeared before them as a group? He said:
“Peace be with you! ” After He said this, He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 2 times, Jesus repeated this: “ Peace be with you! ” My pastor asked us why were the disciples glad when they saw Jesus? Well, it dawn on me today, that what could have overwhelmed them that day as they looked to Jesus was the peace they must have felt at that very moment. All the fear and struggles would have been instantly gone that very moment they set their eyes on Jesus. Peace came from gazing at Jesus. You know, when King David said that “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” It tells me that King David had the peace in him, trusting God. Whatever his circumstances may be, King David would not be afraid because God was with him and because of that, he had the peace in him to face all his challenges before him. Do you have the peace like King David had? or are you facing life with fear and trembling? Look at Jesus..
How about rod and staff? How do they bring comfort to David? Good questions. Rod signifies discipline and staff signifies guidance. How does a shepherd lead and protect his sheep? Naturally with the staff that he has to carry with him daily. If a sheep goes astray, he uses his staff to lead it back to his herds. In a way, the sheep sees the staff as a guidance and protection and that is a comfort to it. In the same manner, King David referred to the staff as a tool a shepherd would use to lead, guide and protect his sheep. Now what about a rod? A rod would be likely used by a shepherd as a tool to discipline his sheep. Now… discipline is no funny matter.. it hurts. How can it brings comfort? You may ask.. In Hebrew 12:7-13
” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we summit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Now that is comforting to know! When I talk about discipline, it never includes abuse. Abuse is wrong, but discipline is necessary for growth. Discipline is used to correct our wrongs, to make us better people. Just as God uses it to make us righteous, and holy just as He is. In conclusion, I would like to leave you with this precious verse that Jesus said in John 14:27 and also I have come to love.
” Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ”
May you be truly blessed this day!