The Twenty-third Psalm is one of the most familiar passages from the entire Bible. It speaks of David’s reliance on the care and protection from God, no matter what the circumstances. It reads:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
It has been a comfort to countless Jews, Christians, and yes indeed others since it was first written. I remember it as a regular reading in my Boy Scout days as part of morning devotions. It is just so full of promise for a coming day.
My wife Dianne held on to this Psalm as well. The following is one of her posts from just a couple of months before her passing:
“This week has been hard and tiring. Over the weekend i developed an allergic reaction to a new steroid i was trying for pain. I became hyperglaecemic and borderline dehydrated even though i couldnt stop drinking. With blood sugar over 18 points, dizzyness and loss of bowel control things looked to be setting themselves up for a hospital admission. However, we attended an emergency gp appointment at 8.30am and the young locum was a blessing, he reassured us and gave clear guidance so we could monitor from home. After a total of 72 hours awake and feeling agitated and ill, i finally slept. I took the rest of the week to recover slowly, but today i was able to go out for a cup of tea for the first time in about 10 weeks. That made me feel very blessed. Even in our greatest trials, God is there to aid and bless throughout. ‘Though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil for thou art with me.'”
She had planned of reflecting on this Psalm in her final days, but as the trials and “valleys” worked out she fell into a coma. I therefore recited and sang it to her (using Kieth Green’s arrangement) as I sat by her bedside. It was in a very real sense “the valley of death.” But – The Lord was with her, and with me. Surely goodness and mercy will continue to follow me all of the days of the rest of my life – for he has been a comfort for me every day so far!