This is Christ in the Community for Tuesday, November, 8. Beginning in 3,2,1
Good Morning. I am Steve Merrin, pastor of Hodge Presbyterian Church. On behalf of the Trenton Ministerial Alliance, I want to thank KTTN for this opportunity to share Christ in the Community.
This morning I want to talk with you about one of the most well known passages of scripture (Possibly second only to John 3:16). It is a Psalm often called the Beloved Psalm, I of course am talking about the 23rd Psalm: 1The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
In these troubled times, I want to point out two things in this beautiful Psalm. God never promises us an easy time. God promises to help us rest, to lead us, to restore us, and to prepare a table for us to eat… they all sound very serene and peaceful… but where is the setting? All this is while we are in the darkest valley (I like how some versions translate this the valley of the shadow of death), in the presence of our enemies. This psalm is so beloved because it promises that the Good Shepherd is watching over us no matter the size of the problems we might be facing.
The second thing I want to point out is in regards to the last verse: the part that says surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘follow’, in the Hebrew is much stronger than merely follow. It carries with it the meaning of a hunt. That is right I said a hunt. So respectfully let me suggest that one could paraphrase this verse as saying: Surely the Good Shepherds Hound dogs of Goodness and Mercy share chase me down all the days of my life. That is a striking image, is it not?
So whether you are having a great day, or if you feel like you are stuck in a very dark, dark valley… may God’s Hound Dogs of Goodness and Mercy Hunt you down today and everyday for the rest of your life. God Bless You!