November/December 2017, Volume 99, Number 6
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. … Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalms 23:1-6, all texts from NASB).”
— Ray Charlton
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“The LORD is my shepherd,” David remembers the lifelong blessing of having Jehovah as his caretaker and guide. Isaiah echoes, “Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes” (Isaiah 40:11).
“I shall not want.” David fled from Saul’s spear, branded as a traitor and an outlaw (1 Samuel 21). Seeking food for his men, David requested five loaves of bread from the high priest, and entered the Holy of the Tabernacle. Jesus commented, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need … how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar.(1) the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful … except [for] priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” (Mark 2:25- 26). Jesus sanctioned David’s action as faith that God provided for him. God will provide for us also (Matthew 6:31-33).
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.” God provided David refuge during his seven years of persecution, and he will for us also. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavyladen, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost” (Revelation 21:6).
“He restores my soul.” Peter preached a life free from the condemnation of the Law. “Repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that seasons of refreshing may come from the face of the Lord” (Acts 3:19 RVIC).
“He guides me in the paths of righteousness.” Elsewhere David prayed, “Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning … Teach me the way in which I should walk … Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies … Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God … O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble” (Psalm 143:8-11).
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff … comfort me.” In times of discouragement and difficulties or sorrow even unto death, we can be assured that God will provide comfort (Psalm 16:8; Isaiah 43:2).
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.” David’s divine favor, symbolized by anointing oil, provided comfort and joy while surrounded by enemies. Since Saul was still king of Israel when Samuel anointed David, God reassured Samuel that David was His choice (1 Samuel 16:7). As we walk through the present evil world, afflicted by our flesh and the adversary, we have the holy Spirit to comfort us and give us reassurance.
“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” David’s confidence of God’s blessing made him fearless of his enemies, even though King Saul sought continually to kill him. Jesus instructed us to have no fear as our heavenly Father is mindful of every detail in our lives (Luke 12:7).
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Fa- ther of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. … He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures” (James 1:17-18). These gifts from above will support us until we find our hopes realized in the first resurrection (John 14:2-3).
(1) Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech, a lone survivor after Saul commanded 85 priests, and their families in Nob, to be slain because Ahimelech in his innocence had aided David (1 Samuel 22:9-23).