Refreshed in the Hot Springs
Monday, May 11, 2015
Psalm 23:1-6 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 forever.
In the spring of 1972 I sat down in the driver’s seat of a brand new yellow Chevy Malibu and began a 4,000 mile trip to Fairbanks, Alaska. I was on my way to a mission radio station at North Pole, Alaska. The car was provided for me by a dealer who was transferring it from Minneapolis to Fairbanks. I was the delivery driver. Back in those days, the Alaska Highway through the mountains was not paved, so 1,500 miles of the trip was on gravel that was more like gumbo when it got wet. Twice I almost went over an unprotected cliff edge following a rain shower.
I was a poor college student so I slept in the car each of the three nights of the trip. During the third day of driving, after having travelled some 2800 miles, I was exhausted and sore. Then, on the side of the road, I saw a sign that was divine. “Hot Springs – 3 miles.” I turned off the main highways onto a dirt road that led to the most glorious hot bath I’ve ever taken in my life. I relaxed in that rock lined basin of steaming water for almost an hour, and it completely refreshed me. I drove well into the night and arrived in Fairbanks the next day well ahead of schedule.
That’s exactly how I feel about today’s visit to the Twenty-Third Psalm. This is probably the most beloved and quoted Psalm around the world. Even people with no interest in spiritual things seem to know parts of it. It is a Psalm that requires numerous stops at one of its many scenic overlooks into the caring nature of our Father in heaven. Each one is a hot spring of its own. I need to pull off the road and bathe in every one of these hot springs.
- The LORD is my shepherd – The Creator and Sustainer of all things is personally involved in caring for every detail of my life.
- I shall not be in want – I may want things, but the LORD knows exactly what I need and always provides. He provides nourishment and rest in green pastures; He provides refreshment from quiet waters; He encourages me and gives peace and contentment to my soul.
- He guides me in paths of righteousness – The LORD guards the honor of His Name by guiding me into righteous activities, decisions, and lifestyle choices so that my life is a reflection of His glory.
- I will fear no evil – Even though I may be surrounded with enemies and death, the LORD is my protector – His rod and His staff can be trusted to handle all threats to my life, and my trust in Him is rewarded with comfort and peace.
- The LORD prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies – The presence of the LORD brings such security that even in the middle of the storms of life I can sit at His banquet table and enjoy His food and fellowship as if nothing else matters.
- You anoint my head with oil – The Lord confirms to me that I am His child forever, set apart for His service, healing all of my sin.
- My cup overflows – I am experiencing abundant life; there is fullness to every aspect of life because of the blessing of the LORD’s presence.
- Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life – The LORD causes all things to work out for good because I love Him and I am living according to His purpose for my life.
- I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever – I am constantly motivated by the hope of glory – the guarantee of a home in heaven forever in the presence of the LORD.
Which of these baths will you enjoy the most today?