A PSALM OF LIFE
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” — Psa_23:1-6.
THIS IS “the Nightingale” among the Psalmist choristers! The first that we learn in infancy, the last we whisper with dying lips. It implies consecration, for God is this only to the soul which is wholly surrendered to Him. You cannot have all of God, or God in all, until you are willing to surrender your all. Do you want to put “My,” the pronoun of possession, before the Name of God? Well, then, you must be willing to answer His voice, and follow where He leads. “My sheep hear My voice, and they follow Me, but a stranger will they not follow.”
Morning! The Shepherd’s leading. When He puts forth His sheep from the fold, in the dewy morning, He goes before them over the grass or up the mountain-track towards the pastures. It would never do for the flock to precede him. Whatever roughness you find on your path, remember that the Shepherd has gone before. “He leadeth me.” Remember also that His name and character are involved in bringing you through “for His Name’s sake.”
Noon: The alleviations of rest. In all lives there are times when He makes us to lie down, or leads us by the waters of rest. Sometimes it is a period of convalescence after an illness. Sometimes a holiday, an interval between the pressure of engagements, a respite when the stress and strain of toil is over—these are our quiet pasture-lands. At other times, in the midst of life’s rush and turmoil, our soul is kept at rest in God’s peace. The heart rests for part of a second between its beats. “He maketh me to lie down!”
Night: the oil and the cup. The flock has reached the fold where it is to shelter. At the doorway stands the Shepherd, watching each one as it passes. This one has grazed and torn its head in getting through a hedge, and for it there is the anointing oil. Near His hand is the food and water, from which He fills the bowl, to wash the face, or give refreshment; and as it overflows, there is evidently enough and to spare!
Goodness and Mercy follow the flock, as the Shepherd precedes. “The House of the Lord” is the Fold from which we shall go out no more, and the Lamb shall be our Shepherd and abiding joy for ever.
O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, the busy work is hushed and the fever of life over and our work is done; then, Lord, in Thy mercy grant us safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.