Sunday, January 02, 2005

This Year I Want to be a Sheep - 2

(A devotional look at Psalm 23 - continued)

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

One of the reasons I need to live rightly is that God’s reputation is at stake - the reputation He gets when others watch the way I, who claim to be His child, live.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil.

I am not to expect to be spared the hard things, the close calls with death, feeling its cold breath on my neck.

The two statements in this bit will, I think, need some time between them to be proved, at least to feel true. When you’re walking through death valley, it can seem that evil is winning, and it’s easy to be fearful. Even though I know Job-like times are what grow me into maturity, and give my life depth and relevance to others on the same journey, it takes coming through to the other side of an experience like that to be able to say "I will fear no evil." If this is the worst - well, it’s not so bad that God can’t overcome it, transform it even, into something good. This blessing, posted by Ragamuffin Diva says it well.

For you are with me
your rod and staff comfort me.

Rod: used as a weapon against predators.

Staff: used by the shepherd to guide the sheep and set boundaries.

I’ve heard about it and experienced it at least once - the amazing presence of God in trials, making the crucible the best place on earth.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies

A banquet in view of hungry but uninvited enemies - what a great revenge scenario. It reminds me of Mordecai, honored by Haman.

You anoint my head with oil

In biblical times a good host would wash the guest’s feet and anoint his head with oil prior to the meal. Kings were chosen and singled out with an oil-anointing. The sick are to be anointed with oil, symbolizing the healing power of God the Holy Spirit.

My cup overflows.

The small receptacle of my life can’t contain all this good stuff.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I’m thinking Anna. "She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying." She got to see Jesus, face to face.

But is there a way to do this - dwell in the house of the Lord forever - and not literally be in a sacred building?

There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship and a gentle reception to divine breathings." Thomas Kelly

Lord, help me live on that profounder level today. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...