Setting Out

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)

Like a desert wanderer who values pools of water beneath the shade of palms, we cling to the soul‐satisfying poetry displayed throughout the Psalms.   This ancient hymnbook contains 150 poems set to stringed instruments, written by more authors than any other book in the Scriptures. It is fitting that David, the shepherd boy anointed King of Israel, holds the record for 75 of them. Through David’s life, God reveals distinct images of the Savior.

Both claim Bethlehem as their birthplace, and both men grew up hidden away in obscurity. Unjustly harassed and persecuted by their enemies, both responded with acts of longsuffering and love, triumphantly gaining victory over their adversaries in the end. Interestingly, the titles of Good Shepherd and High King characterize them both.

We follow the Shepherd’s leading and listen for his voice as we drink in the meaning of the Psalms. With his staff, he protects and directs us through the power of his Word and his abiding presence. Unlike human shepherds who herd their sheep along, Christ lives within us and guides our faltering steps through his indwelling Spirit. Our Good Shepherd is fully present with us for the long haul, up the steep path, through the brambles in the way.

We bow before our High King’s majesty, which is on spectacular display in verses like Psalm 89:14: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” We are his beloved subjects, and we know security in his realm as he reigns in our confusing worlds.

It’s a fitting tribute, then, to join the chorus of the psalmist and respond with a loud salute or a grateful whisper: “Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!”

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