A devotional I wrote for First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Longview, TX
One of the most memorized and recited passages in all the Bible is the 23rd Psalm. There is something about this particular scripture that is captivating, familiar, and constant. For many people, it is comforting and often read at funerals to remind those gathered that God is present with them. This text draws on the image of God being the Good Shepherd. The people of Israel have a difficult past; many times they turned against God by disregarding God’s laws and directives. The psalmist is trying to convey to the people that God is still with them.
While this is one of the most popular texts in the Bible, one key theme sticks out throughout the rest, a truth that is being spoken to the church today during this global pandemic.
God is with us!
God is pursuing us!
God is the only thing we need!
We, as the body of Christ, must rely on God every day, especially in these times of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear.
The psalmist reminds us that:
God is the only one who can bring us life.
God is the only one who can bring us hope.
God is the only one who can bring us peace.
God is the only one who can bring us still waters and green pastures.
God is the only one who can lead us down the right path.
The psalmist is yelling in the wilderness, “I am not going to rely on humanity anymore. I don’t care if I am mocked, laughed at, or scorned. There is more to life than what others think of me.”
The psalmist is calling out to the people of Israel reminding them that God is their protector, God is their Shepherd and God will be with them throughout life and even through death.
Think of the shift of thinking that is involved when we say, even though I walk…. Even though I walk… the psalmist is not complaining that he/she is walking down the path that he/she doesn’t know where it will end up. Rather, the trust is put in God; having faith and abiding in, turning to God, in times of sorrow, lament, joy, and frustration. I know this is easy to say, but hard to do.
We can use the words of the psalmist today. We are bombarded constantly with things pulling at our lives, our hearts, and minds.
The outside world can get so loud it can be deafening. What would our lives be like if we think of God’s presence and say:
Even though I walk with illness, I will not be afraid.
Even though I walk with stress, I will not be afraid.
Even though I walk in a world full of hate towards others, I will not be afraid.
Even though I walk in a world of uncertain times, I will not be afraid.
Even though I walk with Financial problems, I will not be afraid.
Even though I walk with Death, or even near-death I will not be afraid.
May we know that God is here, God is present, God is ready, God is able to offer protection from the harsh winds of the world.