by Stephanie Copeland
Psalm 23 is one if my favorite passages in scripture. Over the course of my adult life, it has repeatedly been a “go to” passage when I’m feeling alone, afraid, sad, vulnerable, or even thankful. I am mostly grateful for the opening verse that our God is a shepherd. I imagine God as a person who is fiercely devoted to me, and that He has great love and cares for His people. That is what the shepherds were in biblical times - protectors even for the one that strayed.
King David was a shepherd, a keeper of sheep, and he understood both the needs of the sheep and the many cares of a shepherd. He compared himself to a creature - weak, defenseless, and foolish - and he accepted God to be his “Provider, Preserver, Director, and, indeed, his Everything.” Many times in my life, I have felt weak and defenseless, and this Psalm was there to guide me and help me stand tall and smart again.
The first three verses of this Psalm are important for different reasons. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”
These verses tell us about God’s power to guide us no matter what circumstances we face. People often call upon the Lord when something is troubling them, but the first three verses make it clear that God is ALWAYS journeying with us. I find this comforting for those times when I have lost my way and haven’t talked to God a lot. When I do read these verses, I am reminded that I was never alone on my journey. These verses remind us to also remember God’s grace and guidance even when life is going along an easy path with no challenges, and we are feeling really blessed.
Verses 4-6 tell us to seek God in more difficult times. These are the “Do Not Fear” verses: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and staff comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: you bless my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
In times of chaos and uncertainty in the world today and at different times on our life journey, God reminds us that He offers comfort when we see evil, hurt, and pain. If we seek God, we can find His will and live in the light of His love. In this light we find a loving God who is always willing to sustain us. May we always be reminded that our God is a Loving Sustainer of all His people even at our weakest times.
Elders on Call in November
Mike Lorenzen (502) 314-8261
Lynn Armstrong (502) 693-5670
Stephanie Copeland (502) 472-4121
Elder’s Meeting: Sunday, November 24 @ 9:30