Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Psalm for All Seasons

As Christians we never know what is around the corner, or what challenges the Lord has for us. But we do know that he is with us in a way that transcends understanding. Psalm 23 has long been a favorite of Old and New Covenant believers, and for good reason. It reminds us of something that we must never forget as we make our way through this veil of tears. The Lord is with us. Not just in terms of his omnipresence, but personally with us as our Shepherd King. Knowing this does not make our trials any lighter, but it does give us what we need to carry on. Our hope is not in this world but in the world to come where sin and the curse are removed. It is such a comfort to know that God is with us now and when this life is over we will dwell in the new heavens and earth forever.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your road 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 your goodness and love will
follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23 (TNIV)

5 comments:

John Meade said...

Kirk,

Do you think Ps 23 has greater significance for NC believers because we have the prophetic word made more sure (2 Peter 1:18-19)? Also, Jesus' words in Matt 28:18-20, "I will be with you, even to the end of the age" tell us that Christ will be with us forever. Just a thought.

-John

Kirk M. Wellum said...

Hi John... without a doubt I think that New Covenant believers can rejoice in the psalm in a deeper and fuller way because of the finished work of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant gift of the Holy Spirit. When we think about the Lord as our Shepherd we should also remember how passages like John 10 fulfill prophecies like Ezekiel 34. While David penned Psalm 23, the Greater David is our ultimate Shepherd because he is at one and the same time "Immanuel" (Matthew 1:23).

John Meade said...

Kirk,

Thanks for drawing my attention back to Ez 34 and John 10. Clearly, Ps 23 is fulfilled with the coming of the Messiah who is Immanuel.

Trish said...

Praise the Lord for His vested love and personal shepherding.

"The Lord is with us. Not just in terms of his omnipresence, but personally with us as our Shepherd King."

Are you implying that the immanence of God is not bound up with omnipresence? Is God omnipresent in any impersonal sense?

Kirk M. Wellum said...

Hi Trish, those are good questions. What I am getting at is the fact that while God is present everywhere at all times, the Bible also teaches that God is more present in some places than in others in terms of our experience of his presence. For instance, in his omnipresence he is in heaven as well as in hell, but there is a vast difference between how he reveals himself in those two places and how his presence is experienced. Similiarly, in his omnipresence God is present with believers and unbelievers even now on earth, and yet he is known by believers in a way that is he not by unbelievers.

It was that distinction that I had in mind in this post.