I remember a scene from a movie, based upon the personal history of one of the kings of Israel. A young shepherd walked slowly across open ground, stooping down to pick up a few stones. He was walking toward a powerful enemy soldier. This shepherd boy wore no armor. He carried no sword or spear. He had only his shepherd’s sling and those few stones. Still, he continued his journey—a journey that would take the boy into history. This scene transported me back to when giants walked the face of the earth and mere mortals did unlikely things, but it was just a movie.
I have never been in such a situation, myself. I have never faced mortal combat or almost certain death, but the Psalm upon which this scene is based is neither pointless nor meaningless. Rather, Psalm 23 is a comfort in the face of uncertainty and a source of strength and courage regardless of where we find ourselves.
It could be such a resource for you, too! This Psalm’s pithy lines give clear statement of where we all need to be in our relationship with God. It gives credit where credit is due. Jesus is what we need when we face impossible odds. Verse four of this Psalm says it well:
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.
Jesus Christ is my confidence! Jesus Christ is the rod and staff who will strengthen and support us when things become impossible, because mere mortals could never accomplish what Jesus did. Ordinary people will never be able to provide complete forgiveness of sins or give absolute assurance of life without end in heaven. In John 3:16-18 we read:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
I appreciate that movie scene, but I appreciate even more the image of the now barren cross and the empty tomb! In Jesus Christ the battle against sin, death and Satan has been fought and won! This is not a moment of celluloid fiction. It is God’s truth!
We pray: Holy God, Your Word has revealed to us the power and wonder of Your love for fallen humankind in Christ Jesus. Grant us Your Spirit that by His power we would always believe and find comfort in His truth! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.