Who can measure this word, "The Lord is my Shepherd?" Not He has been, or may be, or will be, but is, is now, and will be unchangeably so forever. Who can tell the blessings innumerably indicated by "I shall not want," a word which spreads itself over not only the whole of the life that now is, but that which is to come. He can never be poor in time or in eternity who has Jehovah for his Shepherd, Who has so provided for him that he shall not want.
And what courage is ours! "I will fear no evil!" Not a vain or a false, but a true and a holy courage, based on God Himself, on what He is in Himself, on what He is in relation to His sheep, and on what He has promised. How blessed never to fear! Daniel, Jeremiah, David, Paul, and an innumerable company of others in like danger with themselves, could tell us something of this.
Moreover, what rest! "Thou art with me"----rest in the Lord, on His work, and on His Word; rest in God through Him; rest in the conscience; rest in the inner man, in life, and in death; rest, yea, this is rest, truly and intelligently, to say, "Thou art with me." The Lord, Jehovah-Jesus, Who is my Shepherd, He is with me. I know Him as mine, and I know Him present with me.
And then, how personal! There are no less than seven "me's" in this brief portion of the Word, seven links of a golden chain of appropriated happiness. How sweet their sound! He maketh me, He leadeth me. Again He leadeth me. Then in verses 4, 5 and 6, it is still "me" "Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me; Thou preparest a table before me; goodness and mercy shall follow me." A short yet great Word of God truly is this which makes all so personal; and blessed is it to spell it out to one's own soul, saying, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters."
And then there is the glorious hope! a hope which lifts our eyes to the Father's house, with its many mansions, and to the bright journey we are soon to take with the Lord thither, when He shall come again. A chain of marvelous sweetness is this, "I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again; and take you to myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.'' Oh, the unspeakable satsifaction of being able to say, "I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!"
Let anyone think what this Psalm means, and what are all these hopes therein contained, and what the goal, or what all the prospects it places before us, and then ask what can time or earth give in comparison with these? We talk of the land of the blest, and we visit it by faith, but what will it be to dwell in the house of the Lord forever! It is not to tarry for a little, as we tarry now with a child or friend! It is not as a stranger or a guest, not as a servant merely, or a friend, but we are to be there as sons and daughters of the Lord God almighty, each one in the Father's house, each one a child at home!
"Oh, night and sleep and death-dim brotherhood,
Omnipotent in evil and in good,
How calm the quietude which mutely still
Awaits the purpose which ye each fulfil!
For sleep brings rest; and night the morning ray;
Lo! is it not the gate of Day,
Where night and sleep are not? for 'mid the blest,
Perfection craves no sun, and needs no rest.
Oh, chilly night, the dawn hath smiles for thee!
Oh, darksome death, what shall thy morning be?"
"The Watchman" 1888