Summer Daily Devotional - Psalm 23
Lead on Good Shepherd
Psalm 23. The most well-known of all the Psalms (and there are a lot of Psalms). This beloved Psalm is known for bringing comfort, peace, and encouragement to its readers. You might even say there’s a sense of tranquility or rest that is found in this Psalm.
Green pastures. Still waters. Restored soul.
Peaceful, isn’t it?
Sure, there’s that little blip in the middle of the Psalm about a valley named “death,” but look at where it ends. There’s abundance, security, safety, and permanence.
It really is a wonderfully encouraging Psalm about the goodness of the Lord, His provision, sustenance, and deliverance.
Yet there’s more. A lot more.
This Psalm is about sanctification.
Meaning, this Psalm is about making sure you don’t stay by the still waters but end up drinking from the overflowing cup. Meaning, as the Good Shepherd, He intends to lead us down the path of righteousness, which takes us away from our brief comforts and takes us to His final comfort. Meaning, the Lord intends to lead you and I through the Valley of the Shadow of Death precisely because the green pastures and still waters are not our final destination.
Consider…green pastures are great, but they don’t compare to the house of the Lord. Still waters are refreshing, but they don’t come close to matching an overflowing cup. It is through Death Valley where God’s provision and comfort are experienced in sanctifying, life-giving, backbone-strengthening kinds of ways.
So, what does Death Valley look like for you?
Maybe it’s a tough boss that God is calling you to endure through faithful and diligent work.
Maybe it’s a “slot machine” kind of relationship that God is calling you to pursue. You know, the seemingly hopeless relationship where you invest a “dollar” and only get “pennies” back.
Maybe it’s a marriage that God is calling you to stay faithful in despite the heightened conflict or the “I didn’t sign up for this” catchphrase you replay in your mind.
Maybe it’s a circumstance where you’re being gossiped about and God is calling you to control your tongue, while letting the critic pass.
There will be times, as you follow the Lord, when His path of righteousness will make its way through the hostile territory of sin and evil—that is, Death Valley. Enemies will appear and suffering or trial will result.
As the Lord led you during the quiet and peaceful times of your life, so He leads you through the darkness of Death Valley. And He will not lead you back to the tranquil times you once experienced. Greater yet, He will lead you into His house forever.
Lead on Good Shepherd.