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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

2018.04.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 23

Questions for Littles: Who is our Shepherd (v1)? What shall we not do? In what does He make us to lie down (v2)? Beside what does the Lord lead us? What does He restore (v3)? In what paths does the Lord lead us? For what reason? Through what valley will we walk (v4)? What will we not fear? Why—who is with us? What two things of His comfort us in v4? What does the Lord prepare for us (v5)? Where? What does He do to our head? What happens to our portion of the cup of blessing? What shall goodness and steadfast love surely do (v6)? How many of the days of our lives will they do this? Where will we dwell/return forever?  
This week’s Prayer for Help and Confession of Sin came from Psalm 23.

Many of us have memorized this Psalm from our childhood, but I wonder how many of us consider what this Psalm meant to our Lord Jesus in His childhood, and even on into His adulthood.

It’s amazing that Jesus Christ Himself needed much of the care described in this chapter. To be sure, He did not sin or stray, but He was and is fully human—like us in every way, except without sin. He would experience being hungry, thirsty, weary, tired, lonely, and attacked. But, as He grew in wisdom, a big part of that wisdom would be seeing the goodness of God everywhere and delighting in that goodness.

Would that we were like our Redeemer, beholding God’s goodness to us everywhere, in everything, all the time!

It is truly astonishing that the heart of this Psalm’s comforts was withheld from our Savior. When He looked for His Father to be with Him in the valley of the shadow of death, He cried out instead the title line from the previous Psalm, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?!” He was forsaken in the valley that we, who deserve to be forsaken there, would instead have Him with us to comfort us so that we shall not fear.

Of course, Jesus knew that it would be so, and still the gospels tells us that “the Son of man came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many,” and that “He set His face toward Jerusalem.”

This is because Jesus knew Himself also to be the Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep. Every one of these beautiful statements about the Shepherds loving care finds its resounding echo in the heart of our Redeemer. He is not just our pattern but our Shepherd!

He who “upholds all things by the word of His power,” is upholding all of those things with the heart of goodness and provision of the Shepherd in this Psalm. More than that, He is upholding us by His own resurrection life in us, being worked out by His own Holy Spirit who has taken us up as His dwelling.

It is no wonder that “we know that all things work together for good” for those who love God and have been called according to His purpose. But let us learn, with v6, to delight in His character and His presence—to delight in Him Himself—even more than in His gifts!
What valley of yours is being sweetened by God’s presence because Christ willingly went to the cross? How will you remind yourself of this?
Suggested songs: ARP23A “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or HB338 “He Leadeth Me”

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