I wrote this post a few years ago, but after the news that I received this week I needed to reread (& reshare) this devotional since it is so comforting to me. This week I found out that one of my dearest Uncles is terminally ill. While it is a joyous occasion for my Uncle (since he knows that he will be spending eternity with our Lord & Savior) - it is a difficult and devastating time for those of us left here.
I hope that you will find comfort from the following Bible study also.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides 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 cup overflows. Surely 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
Just mentally placing myself in that beautiful scene ("green pastures and quiet waters") is soothing. The center and the glory of these verses is our Lord - Let's break this passage down with that in mind:
1. God provides - in every situation, even when we didn't know that we needed something- He provided. I looked up the meaning of provide: "to be responsible for, to supply, to make available" - to the point where we "shall lack nothing"!!
2. God leads - He is our example and is always making the way for us to follow. There might be obstacles along the way but He is our leader and will either remove those obstacles or make them small enough for us to deal with.
3. God restores - again I looked up the meaning of restore: "to bring back to an original condition, to rebuild, to repair." To me this implies both past and future: He repairs and brings us back to a better time, and in other situations he rebuilds and creates a new and improved self or time.
4. God guides - This is different than "leading" because it means that He is with us every step of the way - even in "the valley of the shadow of death". I am reminded of that wonderful poem "Footprints" - He is guiding us always and at the most difficult times even carrying us through!
5. God is with us - To me this means comfort. We know that he leads and guides us but He also comforts us in our darkest hour. He is there calming and reassuring us when we are crying on His shoulder.
6. God prepares - In this passage it states: "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." To me this screams that God is in control. I just imagine a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, best china, beautiful centerpiece in a lavish dining room and all of this is being prepare for me and right in front of my enemies!! Therefore putting my enemies in there place. God is in control of everything!!
7. God anoints - He blesses us and gives us the spiritual gifts that we need to do His will. He gives us what we need to get the job done.
Whenever I am terrified and feel as if I am literally in the "shadow of death" - I read these verses and I am always comforted.
Trust and God will provide, lead, restore, guide, comfort, prepare and bless!