I was able to observe the two types of relationships this psalm uses to encourage us in our relationship with the Lord: He is our Shepherd, the one who takes care of us, his sheep. Although we find ourselves in vulnerable and dangerous places, He is right there to guide, refresh and protect us. He is our Host at a banquet especially prepared for us, His guests, where we may feast and receive comfort and care.
I learned from this lesson about the 2 parts Sheep/Shepherd and Host/His Guest….. I’ve always put hope in God in during my ‘darkest moments’. Psalms is a reminder of God providing and protecting.
I never appreciated the powerful impact of blending two different metaphors.
God provides my basic needs that is food and water in safe spaces. God gives me an anointed and fulfilling life in the presence of my enemies.
If the valley of deep darkness is the path from safety and security to the place of food and fulfilment, there is hope that not only is my Lord with me through dark and challenging times, but that the journey is worthwhile – that He is taking me to a good place that possibly cannot be reached by any other path, one that I can look forward to before I can see it, knowing that my Shepherd knows me better than I know myself and that He has plans for me beyond my imagination.
The Valley of Shadow of Death is no longer a dreaded way but one that we can have confidence when we pass it, even through the potential dangers of it, because it is rewarding and fulfilling.
I am reading this Psalm at the back end of the Covid 19 pandemic. As many people have said, I don’t ever remember experiencing any thing like this in my entire life. I followed all the rules and wore a mask, but I still felt like I was at risk. At the beginning of the pandemic, I prayed to God to be with me in this dark valley, and to keep me and my family from all danger. I prayed fervently and a couple of weeks in, my spirit felt Him tell me to focus on this Psalm, where it says, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. I felt then that the Lord would be with me now in a bigger and more powerful place of safety throughout my daily life. I thank God for His answer to my prayers and His keeping and protecting power.
In this lesson, this psalm was explained so beautifully. I was reminded that we can’t always see the dangerous and challenging times ahead in our lives, but the Lord, my shepherd is always there to help, protect, guide me in the way best for me.
To realize in a fresh way that as I go through things physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually, Gods going to be right beside me.
The new way I can apply this to my life is, because the LORD is my Shepherd, I can cry out to Him as a lamb does when it is hurting, lost or needing protection.
In every life situation God is with us
God is my guide and protector.
In this life, we are faced with opportunities for advancement in our careers,but which entail moving from one safe place to another which is unknown. At these times we have to remember that God is always with us, leading us and guiding us, sometimes to greener pastures. So we need not fear.
God’s omnipresence with me in all circumstances, journeys, settings etc.
God’s attendant provisions, guidance, protections, etc.
God’s benevolence and hosting of all saints in His eternal glory, plans and purposes, etc.
My needful human responses of faith in God at all times, confidence in God, reliance on God’s Word, trust in God, sense of resourcefulness in Christ Jesus, and my ultimate triumph in God etc.
Psalm 23 is without a doubt the most famous psalm of all time. It is known by both believers and non-believers. In today’s lesson I was able to learn the essence of metaphors in bringing to light visual images that believers go through by their comparison to sheep. Believers do go through many challenges in their walk on faith, these could both be physical and spiritual challenges. Just like sheep focus on the shepherd due to their vulnerability in times of danger so also is the believer to focus on the Lord in their day to day walk of faith.
A new way for me to apply Psalm 23 is for me to lighten challenges by imagining that I am a sheep walking in a valley that has ravenous wolves on both sides but that I am completely protected by God, my shepherd. That should help me realize that the challenges are nothing to fear.