By Brooke Holt
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” Psalm 23:1-3
As the wife of an Episcopal priest, I have attended many weddings and funerals throughout our 25 plus years of ministry together. Often, couples select 1 Corinthians 13 as a reading for weddings while families choose Psalm 23 for many funerals. But is Psalm 23 just for funerals? After reading and reflecting on the psalm again, Psalm 23 is a psalm for life, for challenges, for those times you are racked with pain, fear, and confusion. And yes, that means Psalm 23 offers comfort and hope for those grieving the loss of a loved one, too!
As David pens this psalm, his words reflect his heart: “The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). As a shepherd himself, David knows the awesome responsibility of keeping watch over his sheep. David knows the stupidity of sheep and their need for protection and guidance. He fully appreciates that sheep depend totally upon their shepherd.
Thus, as David experiences the trials of life, he turns to God in trust. He seeks the Lord’s protection, care, and guidance. Just as his sheep would follow him, their beloved shepherd, so David is expressing his commitment to depend upon the Lord and follow him. Why? Because David knows that following the Lord means eventually getting to green pastures. Though the Lord’s plans may be difficult, they are good. He will always be present with his child.
Once in those green pastures, rest and refreshment are found by the still waters. David enjoys security because he trusts God knows his needs and will faithfully provide for them. By trusting and following the lead of the Lord, David finds his soul is restored.
What about you? Where do you look and in whom do you trust when your soul needs restoration? The world offers many options, but do those options bring the true rest, satisfaction, and restoration David describes here? You will experience many needs in this world, and you will be offered many comforts. David found what he needed in the Lord. What about you?
As challenges arise, consider if you are looking to the Lord to care for you, to guide you, to provide for you, and ultimately to bring the much-needed soul restoration. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week small group Bible study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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