Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. It is made famous by hearing it over and over again at Christian funerals. It is usually printed on the back of the memorial folder containing a short biography of the person who died.
Words for the Dying!
As a hospice chaplain, I frequently read the Psalm 23 beside the bed of someone who is minutes away from dying, with the family gathered around the bed. It stirs emotions. Often tears flow. This is the end. My loved one is leaving us. Never to return in the same way again. Psalm 23 in our culture is associated with death.
Joy for the Living
The original intent of Psalm 23 is Joy for the Living. When David pens this song, he hopes his song will be associated with JOY. Joy over how awesome our Shepherd is. Our shepherd leads us, provides for us, and walks with us throughout life.
Green Pastures & Deep Darkness
Our Shepherd sometimes leads us through Green Pastures (vs.2). We love the Green Pastures! A place of rest…relaxing, enjoyable, peaceful. Our Shepherd also leads us through deep darkness (“shadow of death” vs. 4). We hate darkness. In the dark we are afraid, alone, and insecure.
OUR SHEPHERD’S HOUSE
Whether your Shepherd is leading you through green pastures or deep darkness … you belong to him. He cares for his own. Your Shepherd is walking with you on your journey to your final home: OUR SHEPHERD’S HOUSE (vs 6). What a house He has prepared for you … A new heavens & new earth (Rev.21). Green Pastures everywhere. No darkness anywhere!
Don’t let Psalm 23 be just a funeral home mantra. Let it be a song of joy in your heart!
Grumbling! I hate it! First of all I hate in myself. Far too often I grumble and complain. I hate it when I experience it from others.
Jesus endured complaining from the religious elite (the Pharisees) during his entire ministry. It never quit. One day the Elite complained that Jesus “receives sinners and eats with them?” (Luke 15:2). Jesus responded to the complaints by telling a story… the story of the Prodigal son (actually two sons).
The younger son committed sins of the flesh… spending his money and his body on whatever physical pleasure he could find and enjoy. It didn’t work. Eventually, “he came to himself”, repented and returned home to his Father. The Father thru a party for him.
The old son committed sins of the heart… a grumbling, demanding, self-centered attitude. He demanded a party for himself. He deserved it. He was better than his brother. Father, “You owe me a better life”. I am better than my brother. I always obey, he sins and disobeys. The older son REFUSED to go the party going on for his younger sinful brother.
The Father goes outside and pleads with his son to come to the party (Lk 15:28). The older son became angry… refusing to go to the party.
Too bad. We too stay outside, away from fellowship and joy of being with the Father. Instead we stay away from him angry and demanding a better life. God the Father pleads with us, “Son (or daughter) COME TO THE PARTY. Come and enjoy ME I am the only one who can satisfy you. Enjoy intimate conversations with me, enjoy how awesome I am, enjoy my words and promises to you”
Most of us at sometime in our life have asked the question “WHY”? God, why this suffering? Why God does this suffering go on for so long?
You are not alone if you have asked God , “Why”? Jesus asked his heavenly Father “Why”. Psalm 22:1, quoted by Christ on the cross, says: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46).
If you have ever asked God “why” you are in good company with Jesus. He is the one now interceding for you, taking your cry to His heavenly father”. This is the Jesus that will never leave you or forsake you. Hebrews 4:14-16
When you find yourself asking “Why”, know that Jesus is taking your “Why” to His heavenly Father. Know that Jesus wants to come and meet you in your soul. He wants to be more real to you than ever before. Your Heavenly Father is in the process of molding you into a more Christ like, compassionate person. Romans 8:26-29