Reflection on Psalm 22-23*
The two psalms—psalm 22 & 23—read today provide a striking contrast between the holy and the homely.
Psalm 22 is such holy ground that we take off our shoes and walk with careful, even hesitant steps. More than any other passage of Scripture it penetrates into the actual suffering of our crucified Lord: the pierced hands and feet, the body itself agonizingly pulled apart, the racking thirst, the mocking onlookers. Thank God for the reticence of the Gospel accounts: truly “we may not know, we cannot tell/ what pains He had to bear.” Psalm 22 presses to the limit of what Scripture allows, and we do well to read it sparingly and with awe. We are face-to-face with the sheer reality of divine inspiration, for, 1000 years before the event, David not only foresaw suffering, but the suffering of the Crucified Messiah. We marvel as well as tremble. This is the unique miracle of Holy Scripture. We worship the Lord our God both for the extremity he suffered for us, and for the book he has written for our learning.
But—and here is a lovely thing—the homely Psalm 23 is equally true! It can be seen as a threefold picture: Shepherd, Companion, Host. Now note that each picture asserts a truth: for the continuous present, as long as this life lasts, shepherding care guarantees that “I will not lack.” This is the Shepherd’s responsibility and since he will not fail neither will the supply! For the adversities and threats of life, “I will not fear evil.” However black the next stretch of the journey through the valley may seem, verse 4 changes from the “he” of shepherd-leadership (verse 3) to the “you” of side-by-side companionship: “My shepherd is beside me.” But now, the Bible dares to go the further step: what of eternity? Verse 6 traces the pathway forward: “all the days of my life” are catered for by goodness and committed love, and then there awaits the great return, “I will return to the LORD’s house forever.” for the endless prolonged “days” of eternal life.
As we enter into the Passion Week, it is our prayer that the holy love of God demonstrated and acted out in the death of Christ will be revealed and experienced in our hearts. We worship a God who is not far away from our suffering and brokenness; in fact, He is one who suffers with us and ultimately suffered on our behalf, so that we can be forgiven, healed and restored. God saves sinners. God guides his people. God gives us eternal life in Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
* Adapted from Psalms by the Day by Alec Mottler
This Week’s Bible Reading Schedule:
|Monday: Psalms 22||☐||Thursday: Psalms 25||☐|
|Tuesday: Psalms 23||☐||Friday: Psalms 26||☐|
|Wednesday: Psalms 24||☐||Saturday: Psalms 27||☐|
Bible Column & Reading Plan by Rev. Chang Soo Lee
Mississauga Camps Lead Pastor