Wisdom Wednesday: The Wisdom in Two Well-Known Passages

        The Wisdom in Two Well-Known Passages

Guest Contribution submitted by Debbie’s Dad

Today we consider two well-known passages that are interesting in their contrast and yet in their agreement in theme. Consider the first passage in the Old Testament:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

-Psalm 23

This passage, the 23rd Psalm, was written by David, a shepherd who understood the rigors and caring required to lead and care for a flock of sheep. He acknowledged the LORD was his shepherd. The Psalm is a one of comfort, often used at funerals because of the emphasis on trust in the shepherd as you go through the “shadow of the valley of death”—the shepherd is the reason you fear that no evil will come. He is with you, leading, restoring, and guiding you to green pastures – forever.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4

The second passage is in the New Testament, spoken by Jesus to the disciples on the night before His capture, trial, and crucifixion, was recounted by John. In the evening shadow of His own “valley of death,” Jesus encouraged his anxious and frightened disciples – “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” He comforted them, reminding them to believe in Him as they believed in God.

Notice the contrast in these passages:

  • In the first, a man (David) was comforted that the LORD would shepherd him through life, even in the most frightening circumstances that cast the shadow of death.
  • In the second, the LORD (Jesus), who called himself the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11,14), comforted other men who were frightened, encouraging them to believe in Him as they believed in His Father.

And yet, notice the agreement in their message:

  • Both focus on trust in a comforting, loving God.
  • Both address our need for assurance in our hope for a future beyond death.
  • Both depict God’s care for us (a shepherd) as we walk on the pathway through life.
  • Both describe our destination to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psa. 23:6) and to be in a place prepared for us, with the good shepherd (John 14:3).

Here is the wisdom in these complementary passages – to revere the Lord and trust in Him to walk by our side on the pathway through life, with the assurance that as we face the shadow of death, He is there to lead us to the place He has prepared for us in the house of the Lord, where we will be with Him forever. We will finally be home in green pastures, with the Good Shepherd of life.

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