Psalm 23 (April 29, 2011)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads 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 scup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Lord as Host

We change metaphors a bit in verses 5-6 when we see the Lord changing roles from shepherd to host. “As the shepherd cares for the needs of his sheep, so the host provides for the needs of his friends. David pictured the shepherd’s care as beginning in this life and ending in death. With this picture of the host, he again starts with this life, but he carries it beyond death into the life to come.” -Roger Ellsworth.

The idea of the Lord as host is overwhelming as the Lord is a kind of host that we don’t deserve. It was customary to anoint a guest with oil when they entered your home, and David writes as if he is in the house of God, and while his enemies pound on the doors, David feasts and feasts to such a degree that the drink in his cup overflows as he fellowships with his shepherd, the Lord.

David finds confidence that the goodness and mercy of God will come after him all of his life and when his life does end, when his journey through the valley of the shadow of death is compete and he stands before God, he will be welcomed into a different house, an eternal house. An eternal banquet will commence and he will feast again!

Remember our definition of Hope: The deeply held and daily acted upon trust that God is the ultimate source of all that is wise, true, loving and good, that what he is doing is best, and that what he has promised is reliable. That hope is real, because Jesus is alive. As we celebrated Easter this past week, we continue to walk through our lives in hope because our shepherd has conquered death and at the end of our lives we find a feast of joy in the presence of our shepherd-king, Jesus Christ.

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