Gifts

January 24, 2018

Psalms 23:5-6… 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.

            This is such a pleasant promise; we love it. But… have we read it clearly? Why not prepare a table before me where my enemies can’t see? I have been pondering this, lately.  Jesus said to His disciples, “You are the light of the world.” I have been lamenting the darkness of the world lately; but, the reason we are light is because the world is dark. One rarely uses a flashlight in a brightly lit space. Lights are mostly for dark spaces. The Lord blesses us in the world, where darkness reigns. Oh, how I wish for a vacation from the darkness. That sounds more like a blessing to me. That is coming up. Our eternity with God in heaven after evil is thrown into the Lake of Fire is our extended vacation without darkness. For now, we are still looking for those who are lost and need some light to see the Way.

            The other part of the blessing in today’s verses: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me ll the days of my life.”

            Why don’t they run ahead of me? How far behind are they following? It has been my experience that goodness has been there for me, often, and when it hasn’t, mercy has been there.  The problem with that statement is that I am the definer of  ‘goodness.’ When we define ‘goodness’ according to our “wants” list, we don’t include the things that God knows are good for us because we  don’t see them that way. James said it like this, “Every good and perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights. “  Whatever Gods gives us is good.

            In order to appreciate the 23rd Psalm, we have to appreciate God. It is not a definition of our joy and peace; it is an explanation of His. Far too often, we judge the goodness of something by how it makes us feel… and not by the intentions of who gave it to us. If your 15 year old child asked for the car keys, you would have a decision to make. Do you chastise him for being self absorbed, or do you give him bus money and say, “Later”? God knows.