Holy words for a very holy week
By Rev. Adrian Allen, Pastor
Lamar First Baptist Church
Every Christian looks forward to this week. In Lamar, we celebrate Passion Week with Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday. We are excited to know that Jesus was celebrated with Hosana, had Passover with His disciples, was betrayed for money, was brutalized and killed and on Sunday morning, He came out of the tomb alive. On Palm Sunday we have reached our goal of preaching through the first 23 Psalms in the book of Psalms. The series has been entitled “Songs To Live By” and the Palm Sunday message is “He Leadeth Me! O Blessed Thought!” I have condensed the message from Sunday morning to include as a devotional. The second most quoted passage in all the Bible is Psalm 23, behind only John 3:16. The most quoted six-verse passage is by far the Twenty-Third Psalm. The refrain of the title of this message was written by William Bradbury and he also wrote the tune. His most famous tune added to a poem was entitled “China,” which was added to what we now know as “Jesus Loves Me.” These hymns are fitting for the culture we now live in, because they were all written in the midst of the War Between the States 160 years ago. As you think of the Twenty-Third Psalm there are three major themes within this Psalm. The first is pursuing happiness in life. As Americans, we hear about the “pursuit of happiness,” but true happiness only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We must be able to say, “He is my Shepherd.” The secret of a happy life is rooted in that magnificent spiritual relationship. Jesus shares His life with us to the point that I shall not want is a reality. He is the great Shepherd of the sheep. Jesus gives His life as He restores my soul. Restoring of one’s soul means literally “to bring back.” The restorer of the one that was lost relates to Jesus’ parable about The Lost Sheep in Matthew 18. Jesus gave His life for us and bears to this day the scars of Calvary. Jesus places His life within the heart of every believer, He leads me in right paths … for Him. The sinless, spotless Lamb was made sin for us, that we might be made righteous in Him. The next theme is promised happiness in life. At verse 4 David transitions from writing in the third person to writing in the second person. He goes from talking about the Shepherd, to now talking to the Shepherd. The valley of the shadow of death is a place that is real, but for the child of God it is a place of no harm. The shadow of a dog cannot bite you. The shadow of a gun cannot kill you. The shadow of death cannot harm one that has placed their trust in the ONE who created it all. A prepared table in the presence of my enemies shows God’s ability to sustain and satisfy His children regardless of the situation. The final theme we find within Psalm 23 is purchased happiness through eternity. C.H. Spurgeon calls goodness and mercy God’s two footmen. Footmen rode with a carriage and would repair the road during the day to ensure the best travel possible for the passengers within the carriage. Goodness takes care of my steps and Mercy takes care of my stumbles. In closing the Psalm, David reminds us of the privilege to reside within God’s house for eternity. Although kings never resided at the Temple, what better place than to know that you are residing with God forever.