Today marks the end of my study of the first 24 Psalms. I know I’ve said it repeatedly, but I was just so moved and inspired by the beauty and wisdom contained in these Psalms. Truthfully, I’m glad to be moving on to something else to study for a while, but I do look forward to returning to this book in the near future and continuing a deep study of it. There’s so much more here beyond just these first 24 Psalms.
If you’ve been reading all of these blogs, you’ll notice that I’m skipping ahead just a little bit because in my studies nothing really jumped out at me in Psalms 20 and 21. So we’re pushing all the way forward to Psalm 22 today.
This Psalm of David is one that I learned a lot about as I rededicated my life to Jesus this year. One thing I’ve never known much about is prophecy. I was reading a book called What Every Christian Ought to Know by Adrian Rogers, and one thing it quickly worked to establish is the absolute truth of the Bible. One way it did that is by showing some of the prophecies from the Bible that have come to pass. One such prophecy was Psalm 22.
If there’s a scorecard for us as Christians, my lowest score would probably be in prophecy. Therefore, I’m not going to get too deep into the miraculous way in which Psalm 22 speaks of things that wouldn’t happen for a thousand years. I will say that it’s an eye opening thing, and something that really made the Bible come alive for me. Despite being written over a thousand years before the time of Jesus, this Psalm contains references to how Jesus would die, what his last words would be, what would happen to his clothes, and even more incredible things.
I’ve sometimes used the word magical to refer to the Bible, and this Psalm is one of the reasons I say that. Now understand, I’m not saying the Bible is some sort of a spell book, but it is a book of immense power and mystery. Stuff like the Psalm 22/Crucifixion connection fill me with wonder and build a reverence in me for the amazing word of God.
Written by David, this is one of the most famous Psalms. While I was familiar with certain lines from it, I’d never read the whole thing before. I was moved by it’s beauty. David wrote so many troubled Psalms when he was being harassed and threatened and was in danger, but this one is very different. It’s one of those perfect day kind of Psalms, and I can just imagine David having the best day ever when he sat down to write this.
As I study my bible, I write in a notebook anything that jumps out at me and why it jumped out at me. Those notes form the basis of this blog. Well, for Psalm 23, the note I wrote down was “just put the whole thing in the blog.” So my dear friends, here is the beautiful 23rd Psalm in it’s entirety.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will 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 anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
I think the only fitting thing I can say after that is a loud AMEN.
This marks the final Psalm in my initial study of the Psalms, and it turned out to be a great one to end on. David wrote this one and it’s all about God’s place as Lord of all.
Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
Such a massive step in truly grasping the nature of God is coming to understand that everything belongs to Him. The next time you’re outside, look around. Look at the hills and the trees and the rocks and creeks and the sky. God owns it all! I love how the Psalm puts it. “for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” Essentially, it’s saying that God built it, so it’s His!
You know, there’s such an identity crisis when you first start hearing this truth. I’m about as independent as anyone out there. If you tell me to do something, I’ll instinctively want to do the opposite. I’ve worked hard on this aspect of my personality, and one reason I’ve had success is because I’ve come to understand and accept that I belong to God. He made me. I am His grand design, my life has already played out in His infinite knowledge.
There was a great fear within me that accepting this truth would strip me of my uniqueness, but I found the exact opposite to be true. Coming home to God is the truest form of purpose and beauty a person can experience. He’s my eternal father. God knows I value my uniqueness, He’s the one that made me how I am. As I learn to define myself through Him I come to understand that He’s not looking to strip away our personalities or reprogram us to be scripture quoting robots. Look at the diverse population of this world. That’s God’s doing! He’s not someone who hates uniqueness, He obviously loves it. You can meet one thousand people in a row and have none of them be anything alike. God doesn’t want to rob me of who I am, He wants to refine it, He wants to reinforce it, He wants to guide me onto the right paths that will lead me to prosperity.
It all belongs to God. Me, you, the dirt and the trees. But man, he’s a generous God, isn’t He? He shares creation with us. God’s not about holding us back, He’s about freeing us to experience a life of goodness and virtue. And best of all, He shares Himself with us. What a God! He could rightfully keep it all to Himself. He could rip my uniqueness out of me, and turn me into a drone that served Him 24 hours a day. But He doesn’t do any of that. He shares Himself with His people.
CLOSING AND PRAYER
For prayers today, I want to ask for you to join with me in praying for a family that’s close to me. They recently lost the place where they were living and they’re having a difficult time finding a new place to stay. It’s been a rough journey for them, so if you would please just lift them up in your prayers. I’ve been praying for safety and patience and wisdom for this family, and anything you’d be willing to add would be greatly appreciated.
Well, the first 24 Psalms are done. Thanks to all of you who read along with me as I studied the Psalms. I’m excited for the upcoming weeks. Tomorrow we’re talking about worship, I have no idea what I’m doing for Thursday, and then next week we’ll jump into the old testament with Nehemiah and Jonah!
I love you guys! I hope your week is off to a great start. No matter how tough your Monday, remember that God’s right there in it with you and that he loves you.