Jehovah Rohi, Part 2

Psalm 23:4-6 (ESV)
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

We don’t walk in valley of the shadow of death but for a very brief instant, but instead we walk through the valley to the light of immortality. Death is nothing but going up the front steps to get into our eternal home.

​The comfort David described is readily available for us as well in the Psalm. Yes, it is quite often used when a person is facing the end of their life to bring them comfort as well as family and friends who surround this person. But it need not be simply for those times in our lives that we can glean some relevance.

When He uses His rod of correction on us, we should always see this as correction from a loving Father who only wants what is best for us. Therefore, we should appreciate the times of correction (Proverbs 3:11-12; 13:24; Hebrews 12:6), for if we had an earthly father who did not bother to discipline us, would we not believe he simply did not care about us?

Be happy that you are among the chosen flock that you recognize His chastisement, for many are spiritually blind to understand such discipline. Only a loving God would bother correcting you when you stray. It is in this frame of mind that David certainly understood the comfort of chastisement from his Lord.

​A good shepherd will prepare before the sheep arrive, removing physical hazards, destroying poisonous plants, and driving predators away. Ancient shepherds used a mixture of olive oil, sulfur, and spices to protect their sheep from insects and promote the healing of infectious skin diseases. Our Good Shepherd prepares our table before us, and keeps us from the enemies of the world (c.f. James 4:4; Romans 5:10; 8:6)

We are God’s anointed; His chosen people, grafted into His family. To be anointed with oil signifies such a relationship (c.f. 1 Peter 2:5–9; Ephesians 1:4; 2:19; John 10:4).

Verse 6 reminds us that it is ALL the days of our life - in sin and in righteousness, ups and downs that God’s goodness and mercy follow us, and we shall not lack a heavenly home (John 14:1-3).

​The twenty-third psalm portrays life as a pilgrimage, and in the final verse the psalmist rightly comes to life’s goal, which is God’s house. “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

What a wonderful, peaceful place to leave this post.