The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.Psalm 23:1-3
Psalm 23 has to be one of the top-most quoted psalms in the entire book. I recall learning this passage when I was a young girl in VBS. Little would I have known as an eight-year-old the deeper meaning and impact of the verses as they declare promises of God to not only renew us, but declare victory in our lives, and pursue us with his faithful love.
The meaning of the word refresh is to give new strength or energy. Summer is a time when a lot of you travel for vacation to get refreshed. I love to travel and do so as often as possible. But if we’re honest, sometimes travel can be anything but refreshing with airport crowds, delays, and roadtrip re-routes. And let’s not forget the prep, packing, and unpacking is work – a lot of work depending on how many you’re planning for.
True deep refreshing though doesn’t come from a bucket-list trip, a change in location or a holiday. Refreshing and renewal of our soul can happen anywhere anytime with the Lord. And it should happen, often. We need it.
Whether we’re in good times or troubled days, God invites us to rejoice in him in the midst of whatever we’re facing. Does this invitation mean he’s out of touch with our reality? Not even. Jesus is the only shepherd who knows what it’s like to be a sheep (John 10:11 says “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”). The one who laid down his life for us understands intimately what we’re going through and promises to be with us every step of the way, even through death itself.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 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.Psalm 23:4-5
The scene changes in verse 5 from a shepherd with his sheep to a host with his guest. It’s a beautiful picture of what it’s like to get alone with God amid the hassles of life. God has a celebration meal for us not once we finally rise from a dark valley but smack in the middle of it, in the presence of enemies. You don’t have to go through life full of fear, because he is with you (v.4). You can feast in the valley.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.Psalm 23:6
God has a great purpose for your life. Dwell with him and let him be your guide. He will always lead you along the right path, refreshing you along the way.
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