DayBreaks for 1/20/14 – God Came Close
Psalms 23:1 – The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
This is perhaps the most beloved passage of Scripture in the entire Bible. It is small wonder. It stirs with its beauty and imagery, but also with the profundity of truth it conveys. But it wasn’t until l/14 as I was reading The Question That Never Goes Away by Philip Yancey, that he pointed out something new about it that I’d never picked up on before.
David starts out the Psalm describing idyllic scenes: meadows, streams, being guided and led in good pathways. It is the kind of setting and life we would all like to live and have for ourselves and our loved ones. And in those first verses, He talks about God as “He”. Toward the end of the passage he calls him “You”.
What leads to the transition? It starts with walking the darkest valley and David gives us the answer at the end of that verse. “…for you are close beside me.” It was then that God drew close. God let David do things such as laying in a meadow. But now God has come near – and he will stay near “all the days of my life” and beyond for we shall dwell in His house when this life ends.
Did David long for the darkest valley? No. Do we? No. But it is often there that God becomes more real to us than ever before, where His Presence and power become palpable. We may find ourselves reacting as Job did: “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”
For Job, for David, for countless generations of believers who have lived and died before us, that is the hope, the longing, and that alone may be the sufficient reason for the “…darkest valley.”
PRAYER: Lord, I confess that like most everyone, I am terrified of what I may face in the darkest valley in my life. I fear the agonies that may await there, not so much for my own sake, but for the sake of loved ones whose suffering may be the cause of that valley. We try to hold on to our hope and when we enter that valley as we surely will, may we, like David, find that You have never been closer than at that moment. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2003, 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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