“Preparing Your Soul”

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

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.

 

Last week, we gathered to reflect on the mini lessons about the heart of worship found in 1 Samuel 16. That same David who was unexpectedly chosen to be the next king of God’s people also wrote this Psalm. This week, I would like us to concentrate on the spiritual side of ourselves we often call our “soul.” Let’s reflect on this short, but perhaps the most famous psalm in the Bible that speaks to us about peace, joy, faith, and trust in a troubled world. I invite you to follow me this week as we explore this psalm together for today.

 

Monday:  “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”

A sheep truly rests when it knows that the shepherd will protect it with his or her life. A trustworthy shepherd does not abandon the sheep because a healthy and well rested sheep speaks for the goodness of the shepherd and bring much joy. A sheep that truly rests is also truly joyful because there is nothing to worry. Too often, the joy of the Lord is sucked out of us because we worry. When we worry, there is something wrong with our relationship with God. Yes, this is pretty much everyone, but take heart! The Lord almighty is our shepherd today and always; even in the midst of our hardship.

 

Tuesday: He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,”

Sometimes, green pastures are not brought to us until we are ready to rest in it. God makes us lie down when we are upon green pastures. Our soul rejoices and worships the best when it knows when it is time to rest. Sometimes the green pastures are right underneath our feet, but we keep looking around anxiously for “a greener pasture.” Let’s take a moment to give thanks for the goodness that is in our lives already. God leads us beside quiet waters where we can “reflect” on our situations and circumstances and find peace and quiet. May our souls rest in God’s protection today.

 

Wednesday: he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

We all need a refresher. The word refresh is so good to hear when we need to get rid of all that hinders us from being who we really are. Pressure of the world that charges us to be something we are not and do things that we don’t approve of can shift our focus away from God. Or, sometimes we are too static and comfortable where we are that we don’t recognize the real needs around us which call for our vigilance. God leads our soul along the right paths so that in our life’s struggles and victories, those who watch us will honor God for our deeds and character.

 

Thursday: “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.”

The darkest valley threatens our security and trust in God. It is a place where none of our plans works and none of our security measures protects us. Yet it is a place where God’s name is honored by those who hold fast. Testimony is born when we had nothing else to hang on to except God’s rod and staff. At my college graduation, a speaker reminded us of this truth by quoting this: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). May your soul find understanding as it leans on God’s staff today.

 

Friday: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

I have always enjoyed the image of this verse, especially the last part; my cup overflows. This is the part where we receive the reward of our hard work and perseverance. I have learned that God will fill our souls with a new song and bounty of joy so that we can give to others what we have received. My prayer today is that my cup will overflow and let the blessings from above flow to the lower places where they desperately need the touch of kindness, generosity, and surprising love of God lived through God’s people. Your shortcomings (and we have them!) are the reason for your testimony. The cup was once empty so that it will be filled again.

 

Saturday: “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”

Often times, I wonder what soul is and how it helps us understand God better. David’s assurance here comes not from his head knowledge or feelings, but from what he has experienced through the fire. Maybe the part of us that experiences God with all of our mind and feelings is called soul. Whatever the case may be, my prayer is that I live a life of testimony despite the challenges and enemies. May God’s peace and joy prepare a table before your challenges, make your cup of blessings overflow, and bring you to the house of the Lord forever today.