The whole 23rd Psalm can be summed up in five words: for you are with me. Christian, the Good Shepherd, Jesus, is with you. He is near, close by, even tonight. Dwell on this truth.
Are you enjoying green pastures or do you find yourself beside still waters? You did not stumble upon them on your own. You weren’t told how to get there, you didn’t get a map in the mail. Sheep do not follow directions, they follow the shepherd. (Side note: They’ll also follow anyone with food and can be a bit pushy; I have a long weekend’s worth of experience caring for sheep, but that’s another story…). The Good Shepherd must be close by because he makes you to lie down in green pastures, and he leads you beside still waters.
Are you overwhelmed by worry, doubts, fear, anxiety? Don’t be afraid. Why? Because “God has it all under control”? While that is very true, it is usually not very comforting because we have very little capacity for comprehending God’s control over cancer, earthquakes, violence or a million other things that keep us awake at night.
“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.” Psalm 23:4
We need not be afraid because Jesus is with us! If you trust in Christ, there are a lot of things to rejoice in (salvation, justification, adoption, sanctification, glorification) but what you may need to dwell on tonight to drive away your fears is the nearness of Christ.
Maybe you don’t feel that he is close by; trust him. These are not empty words. I would argue that the greatest distance he could possibly be is an arm’s length away. Verse five says: “You anoint my head with oil.” He doesn’t pour it on you from heaven, he doesn’t sprinkle it on you from across the room, he anoints you with oil; his hand is on your head. Believer, even if you don’t feel very close to him tonight, take him at his word, he is near, he is with you.