My Shepherd

You, Lord, are my shepherd.
I will never be in need.
2 You let me rest in fields of green grass.
You lead me to streams of peaceful water,
3 and you refresh my life.

You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths.
4 I may walk through valleys as dark as death,
but I won’t be afraid.
You are with me,
and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.

5 You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch.
You honor me as your guest,
and you fill my cup until it overflows.
6 Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life,
and I will live forever in your house, Lord.         Psalm 23 (CEV)

Lectionary texts: Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-12, John 10:22-30

Arguably the most read Old Testament passage, Psalm 23 is frequently read at funerals. Today the version may not be familiar to us but I like taking a familiar passage and reading it in a less familiar translation because it causes me to slow down and think about what I am reading. New words may spark a different “revelation” from my LORD.

Acts 9:36-43. The passage in Acts this week tells me that Tabitha, a wonderful servant of God, has died. Peter is notified of her death and asked to come. He does respond and is led by the Holy Spirit to pray for Tabitha and she returns to this life.

My initial reaction to this story is to wonder “why” everyone who dies prematurely is not revived when we pray. I ask the “why” at the same time that I know that Tabitha did eventually have to die in order to live her eternal life with Jesus. What I take away from this story is that there is no fear in death. Jesus is with me. He was there at the moment I was conceived in my mother’s womb and hasn’t left me since. He will be with me when I make the transition from this life into my eternal home with the Father. The “streams of peaceful waters” run right through the valley of death where there is no fear because Jesus is LORD even here.

Revelation 7:9-12. The promises given in Psalm 23 are for all of God’s children. Every member of every tribe of people, no matter what language they speak, are His children. There are no step-children or grandchildren. All who love our LORD and desire to have a life with Him will be together worshiping and feasting together in the home He has prepared for us. Oh Happy Day!

John 10:22-30. Another wonderful passage this time Jesus my Shepherd says, “ My sheep listen to me and know my voice and follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never die. No one – NO ONE – can snatch them away from Me! They are in My hands!”

Psalm 23 and its promises are not just to be affirmed at the end of my life but every day of my life. No matter what each day brings, my Shepherd is there to lead me through.

It Is Well With My Soul written by Horatio Spafford and Phillip Bliss, sung by The Blenders

 

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