Psalm 23: Holy and Fearless

By Chuck Griffin
LifeTalk Editor

Our devotionals yesterday, today and tomorrow are all from the 23rd Psalm, “A Psalm of David,” considered in small meditative bites.

Verse 3b
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.

As his sheep, we follow his lead, behaving as the shepherd would have us behave. Sometimes the concept of Christian holiness is made to sound complicated, but it really is that simple.

We are known as his flock, and we do not want to embarrass him by wandering down paths not leading to eternity. For thousands of years, he has shown us his will through his word, recorded in the Holy Bible. This is how he tells us left or right, stop or go.

Yes, the noise of the world sometimes makes his call a little harder to discern, but if we take time to focus on Scripture in a thoughtful and prayerful way, we will know what to do.

And when we follow the right paths, people do notice. They are astonished when the harm they were expecting from us does not occur, or when they receive unexpected goodness.

And when they seek to know why we behave in such an unworldly way, we earn the right to tell them, “Because I stay in love with God—you can too!”

Verse 4
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.

Our shepherd is so loving, we can forget how strong he is. He has all the tools and weapons he needs to fend off the most terrifying threats.

The rod, a type of club worn at the belt for quick access, proves our shepherd’s willingness to go on offense when we are threatened. Evil will be crushed. The staff can be used with devastating effect in a fight, too. It also is a tool of rescue, capable of lifting lost sheep out of the most difficult circumstances.

We are reminded of the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ. The truth he spoke acted like a bludgeon against the lies and deceptions of the world, and the day will come when Christ’s truth shreds evil like the keenest of blades. The cross became his tool for lifting us out of despair and death and into eternal life.

With a shepherd like that, why would we ever be afraid?

Lord, guard us in this life and lift us into the next, and may anxiety never keep us from heeding your call. Amen.

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