Today we come to the most famous Psalm of all times – and for good reason. It’s a beautiful illustration of God’s love, mercy, and grace toward us.
So what does our God do for those who love Him? He brings a peace which cannot be explained. When we rely on Him to be our shepherd, he cares for us as a merciful shepherd cares for his sheep.
He provides all of our needs. He causes us to lie down in pastures of green grass, and beside still waters. Protected and well-cared for.
He leads us in the right paths, always providing direction and guidance.
Even when we go through hard times – the valley of the shadow of death – we don’t fear, because we know that His guidance and provision are still there. When we are in the presence of enemies, He prepares a table for us.
He anoints our head with oil, to heal any hurt, and to pour His grace upon our heads. Our cups overflow with our Father’s mercy and grace.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives.
If there is ever a time when you feel downcast and afraid, I suggest you go to this psalm and meditate. This is the truth – God’s plan and purpose. It doesn’t say that evil times will never come, but it says that God will take care of us through those times.
Just as our Father provided for David throughout the years of being hunted by Saul and persecuted by Absalom, He will treat us the same way. Our job is to believe Him and follow Him no matter what, always trusting in His mercy.
Paul will later say in one of his letters, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”(I Cor. 9:22). We see this in today’s reading.
The Jews are in consternation because they think Paul is forsaking their heritage. These Jews, who have spent their whole lives protecting the law, can’t understand what God is doing in this day. They are ready to stone Paul.
So Paul and his companions shave their heads and go through the Jewish process of purification – just to prove that they are not subversives.
However, that is not enough for some of the Jews. Some of the Asian Jews accuse Paul of allowing Gentiles into the temple, and they want to kill him. So they start beating him until they are stopped by the Roman commander.
In many parts of the world today, Christians are being persecuted by other religions. The devil hates God’s Son and His Word. He wants none to be saved by the blood of Jesus, so he tries to stop the gospel any way he can.
In the western world, Christians are not persecuted in the same way. However, many times Christians are mocked and misunderstood. Sometimes good and evil are confused so that Christians are accused of evil for believing what God has said.
Are we willing to be like Paul? Are we willing to be persecuted for the sake of the Word? Are we willing not to back down just because others misunderstand? The devil is trying to shut us all up. Will we let him?
The very ones who misunderstand are the ones who need to hear God’s Word. Not in a mean and abusive way, but with God’s love. They need to know of the One who died for them also.
Let’s take them that liberating Word. They will be forever grateful.