“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.” (Psalm 23, NIV)

John 10:22-30 “Then came the Festival of Dedication [Hanukah] at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’

Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’”

Rev. 7:9-17 “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!’

Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’

I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’

And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,” [Is. 49:10] nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; “he will lead them to springs of living water.” [Is. 49:10] “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” [Is. 25:8]’”

With this message we come to the end of our twenty-two-week journey through the Psalms. Every week we have experienced communal readings through each of the twenty-two sections of Psalm 119. As I write this, on the last day of April I am preparing to begin another 22-day reading through Psalm 119, one section a day. You could do that too as a beginning or ending to each day. It is an exercise in prayer, which I have practiced for decades.

We have taken this journey through select Psalms to learn about prayer and how to pray about all kinds of things. Our journey began with flying lessons in prayer, Ps. 25. We learned that we may sing for joy, Ps. 90, for the great things God has done for us, Ps. 126. We were taught to ask the Shepherd of Israel to hear us, Ps. 80, sing Hallelu Jah in Ps. 148 and dance in the winepress of grace, Ps. 8.

We were given a prescription for ascription to help us glorify the Lord, Ps. 29. An invitation was extended to find shelter in the shadow of God’s wings in Ps. 36 and know that God is our rock and refuge, Ps. 71.

We were challenged to make a willing commitment to bless the world in Ps. 138, asked to reflect upon what our chief delight is, Ps. 1 and exhorted to take delight in the Lord in Ps. 37.

We were reminded that the Lord is a forgiving God in Ps. 99. Then were encouraged to find rest in the shadows of life in Ps. 91.

We learned to listen to our heart, Ps. 27 and how to pray avid prayers when we find our hearts arid and thirsty, Ps. 63. We celebrated “Oh, Happy Day!” with Ps. 32 and learned how to respond when the days aren’t so happy, Ps. 70.

Having started our journey with Advent, we entered Passion Week and Easter with Palms of Praise and Psalms of Love, looking at portions of Psalms 118 and 31. After Easter we celebrated the open access we have to the Holy Presence of Almighty God through the gates that are now open in Christ, Ps. 118; and we rejoiced in the Gospel, as found in Ps. 30, which has lifted us from the depths of sin.

Thus, what better way to wrap this journey up than to consider the most well know Psalm of all and the forever foundation we find in the sheepfold of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 23 begins with a testimony of absolute confidence and faith in the Lord. The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Christ of the New. The Shepherd of David’s confidence is the Lamb who was slain to become the Shepherd of blood-washed believers in Jesus. Therefore, we lack nothing we truly need, we have nothing to fear and we are continually refreshed by Him.

Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life, He guides us along the right paths; all we have to do is follow. Even when He leads us through the darkest valleys, we must never forget, we have a prayer to pray to help us find comfort and confidence in Jesus;

“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.”

The accompanying passage from John 10 brings the 23rd Psalm into the present life of all who believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the shepherd that David, and all the scriptures point to. We who believe hear His voice, follow His lead and find everlasting pasture in His presence. Our security is eternal because our Shepherd is eternal. Jesus the Son is God the Father, they are one. The salvation Jesus secured is everlasting, for He is everlasting.

The fold is open to anyone and everyone who hears the shepherd’s voice and follows Him, as the passage from Revelation 7 envisages.

“‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”

“‘Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!’”

The invitation is to come out of the great tribulation of this fallen world, wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. This we do when we exercise our hearts and minds and will to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. Then, all the comfort and confidence of Psalm 23 becomes our comfort and confidence. Then we find ourselves in the great multitude; “…they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,” [Is. 49:10] nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; “he will lead them to springs of living water.” [Is. 49:10] “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” [Is. 25:8]’”

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing, … and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Forever in the fold.