Psalm 23: The Fullness of God’s Blessings

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

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.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

Still Standing – A Study of a Roadside Tree #11 | Outside Elgin, TX | January 2023

Too many people think of God as a killjoy. A downer. A grumpy curmudgeon. An intrusion. Oh how wrong on so many levels! God is the author of joy. He lifts up the humble and downtrodden. He delights in lovingkindness. And to say that God intrudes is to get things completely upside down. We’re in his world. We live at his pleasure. We are his creatures. We answer to him.

God delights in blessing people. In order fully to experience those blessings to the fullest we must put ourselves in an attitude of humility and obedience. Humility acknowledges our need for God. Humility opens our hearts to receive from God. Humility puts us in a posture of openness. Obedience puts us in alignment with the blessings of God. Obedience puts us where he has placed the necessary provisions for life. Obedience enables us fully to experience God’s blessings.

David speaks of God’s blessings of rest, provision, peace, and restoration. All these come to him in his quietness of humility and posture of obedience. David recognizes that God provides for all his needs. He rejoices in the rest and restoration God provides along still waters and in green pastures. He embraces the gift of peace that comes from following the paths of righteousness. All this is not only from God, but also because of God’s good character and name.

Because of all this David has confidence in the face of death. He is not worried about his enemies. He is certain of an abundant supply of all he needs – no matter the challenges around him. This comes as he follows the paths of righteousness, which is obedience. If humility is the necessary first step in receiving God’s grace, then obedience is the necessary second, third, fourth, and every step for the fullness of God’s blessings.

David will experience this first hand when he wanders off the path of God’s blessing and sins with Bathsheba. He will see how destructive disobedience is when his own son, Absalom, rebels. He experiences the refreshment of God’s grace when he humbles himself in the face of Nathan’s confrontation. And he sets himself back on the path of obedience after confessing his sin. Take a look at Psalms 32 & 51 to hear David’s confession and admonition to us all. Repent and bring forth the fruit of repentance as John the Baptizer would say 1000 years later. (cf. Luke 3:8)

The first step in the AA 12-Step recovery program is to admit that you have a problem. That’s an attitude of humility. Other steps require confession, obedience, and even helping others along the way. That’s the path of obedience. That’s nothing new. These are God’s ways from of old. Blessed is the one who will humble himself before God, and who will fully experience the blessings of God in following his paths of righteousness.

Consider this also: David sought to help others along the way of God’s blessing. That’s why we have this psalm. The fullest experience of God’s blessings will come as we follow David’s example of repentance, faith, obedience, and leading others as God give us opportunity.

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