Today, we are pondering the final verse in Psalm 23. If you’ve been tracking with us, we have been walking verse-by-verse through this psalm to gain peace as we leave a tumultuous 2020 and enter 2021. You can find all of the previous posts on this blog, Lighting Our Path. Please begin by reading Psalm 23 below:
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I 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 have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 (NASB)
Let’s pick up the train of thought in verse 4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” As I think upon the shadow of death, I reflect on Jesus. In Psalm 22, we have a prophetic picture of our Lord walking through His “shadow of death.” It reads, “For dogs have surrounded me; they pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” Amid his agony, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1a). Jesus suffered and knows what it's like when we are afflicted. But later in Psalm 22, the author writes, "But when he cried for help to Him, He heard" (Ps. 22:24b). Indeed, Jesus affirms with David, the psalmist, that we need not fear evil for God is with us.
The following verse, Psalm 23:5, portrays a celebratory banquet, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows." Again, I reflect on Jesus. After Christ suffered in His valley of death, God exalted Him to the highest place (Phil. 2:9)! In the future, Jesus and His saints will celebrate before His enemies at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9). And as anointed with oil, Christ will rule as King of kings forever (Rev. 17:14). Out of an obedient life, Christ drank the cup of suffering so that we can now drink the cup that "overflows" with abundant life.
Moving into the final verse, Psalm 23:6, we read, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Because Christ has gone to the cross, because He defeated sin victoriously, because He was exalted to the highest place, and because He is coming again for His bride, we can rest assured that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). Even in moments of deep struggle, David, the psalmist wrote, "Still I am certain to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Ps. 27:13). The Lord is our good Shepherd; we shall not want.
When our time in this tent is complete, we “will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” We will see David, the psalmist dwelling there. Our family in the Lord will be there, too. Best of all, we will see Christ face to face. He will wipe away every tear, and we will worship Him forever (Rev. 21:3-4)! We are strengthened with joy day by day knowing that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Thank you for joining me on this journey through Psalm 23. It has been a blessing for me, and I hope it has helped you, too. I would love to hear from you about how the Lord has ministered to you through meditating on this psalm. You can contact me through my blog or website.