September 1, 2023
Psalm 23, 6
1 The Lord Is My Shepherd. A Psalm of David. 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 forever.
In its closing, Psalm 23 ends with these wonderful promises. God's grace, his mercy and his love stay with me. They accompany me all the way through my life. And I have a glorious goal ahead for me: eternal community with God.
The stamp from Switzerland seems to me to be appropriate. Symbolically, it shows human life in the form of an hourglass. Life keeps running like an hourglass. Above it a shining sun. To me it symbolizes eternity, which shines into our human existence with its halo of rays.
David has reached the end of his life's journey with his good shepherd. He says, "Only goodness and grace will follow me all the days of my life." He does not speak of his successes. He does not speak of his wealth. He doesn't proudly pat himself on the back and say, "Well done! Keep it up!” No, only God's goodness and grace shall determine his further way. This is his priority and what matter to him!
What follows us on our life's journey into eternity? What will accompany us tomorrow and the day after tomorrow until we reach the goal of our lives? Or better asked: WHO accompanies us on the road that still lies ahead of us? Do we walk alone, or do we entrust ourselves to the good shepherd, the Lord Jesus?
Whoever reads David's biography does not discover an ideal world in it. We see a man who, on the one hand, was blessed by God and, with God's help, was able to do great things. For example, he was a gifted musician and songwriter. He was also a brave fighter. But he was also a great failure. He committed a terrible adultery and even became a murderer (2 Sam. 11). He had to flee from his son Absalom. When Absalom was killed, his father David mourned him with great pain (2 Sam. 18).
At the end of his life, he can say (2 Sam. 23, 2 - 4): ‘The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: “When one rules over people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.”
David suspects that he was not this righteous man. But he was a forerunner for this righteous man (see Matthew's Gospel 1:1) Jesus Christ is this righteous ruler. He is like the morning light when the night is over, and the sun rises in the clear blue sky. When refreshing rain makes creation bloom again.
It is God's goodness and mercy if we can complete our life's journey with this glimpse of eternity. When we too can say, "I am returning to the house of the LORD forever." I have arrived at my destination. I am staying with God forever. This is goodness and grace!
May God bless your life's journey. May he let you experience his goodness and mercy every new day.
Thank you for listening to me. I cordially invite you to the next devotion with stamps on September 15. Until then, I wish you God's blessing and preservation in spirit, soul and body through the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ.