It is fitting that tonight the Bible opened to this Psalm:
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul.
He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name.
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 comfort me.
You set a table before me in front of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.
I have always equated this psalm with death. But as I read it now, I see that it is all about life! With the Lord as our shepherd, what can we need? He provides us with everything. Green pastures to lie down. (Think about a beautiful green pasture. I cannot help but smile when I think of a bright green pasture lit against a blue sky. Peaceful. God provides us with rest for our mind and body. There is so much around us that is just beautiful and peaceful if we stop and look.) Still waters — to restore us. Water to drink. Water to wash over us. Water to restore us and give us new life.
He guides us along right paths. (Oh, how I wish I would stop trying to explore on my own!)
And then the death part — even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death… I will fear no evil for you are with me. At our darkest times, God is with us. David goes from talking about “the Lord” to talking very familiarly about “you” because in our darkest times, God is right there. He is not a far off being, referred to in the third person. He is right there, as a friend, as a confidant, as a protector. “I will fear no evil for you are with me.” He is there as a father: “your rod and your staff comfort me.”
This is not about death — this is about life. Life here on earth where God walks with us, provides for us and pursues us with His goodness and mercy. Our cup overflows with God’s love. And life with God for endless days. God sets His table before us — He invites us to join Him. He pursues us with His goodness and mercy. He pursues us. Imagine the power if we pursue Him.
I ask you to be with those who are walking through the shadow of death. Lift them up. Show them your goodness and mercy.
Thank you for pursuing me and never giving up. I pledge to pursue you.