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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Man of Sorrows, Part III
Land of the Shadow of Death

A Psalm of David.
(1) The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
(2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
(3) He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
(4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
(5) Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
(6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
for ever.
~ Psalm 23 (KJV)

In the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus fulfills Psalm 23 as prophecy.

The Good Shepherd directs the crowd to sit down in the green pastures of plentiful grass—having already brought rest and restoration and righteousness with His words—and then prepares a plentiful table before them.

This writer notes that Psalm 23 begins in the third person, shifts to the second person for the two verses which speak of the Lord's protection and provision, and then returns to the third person in conclusion.

One might almost imagine Jesus speaking those two middle verses as He partakes of a meal provided by His Father while He sits among His enemies, during His walk here in the land of the shadow of death.

"Christ's miracles drew many after him that were not effectually drawn to him."
~ Matthew Henry, commentary on John 6:2 (emphasis in original)

The crowd Jesus feeds is not entirely friendly. People have sought out Jesus because of the miracles He does (John 6:2), and not necessarily to give Him their ears. After eating their fill, some intend to take Him by force and make Him King. (verse 15). We see the next day that they do not believe in Him (v. 30), but would appropriate His power to continue receiving food from Him (v. 34).

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life ...

We take our every step in the land of the shadow of death, surrounded by enemies, for the devil and his minions prowl about seeking to devour us. We shall have no fear, for the Man of Sorrows has tread upon the same sod.

We take our every breath seated with the Good Shepherd, a table set before us offering abundance of spiritual food—of overflowing goodness and mercy—even here in the shadow of death.

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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


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