Greater Than Danger
I have been reading Psalm 23 and cannot help but notice the confidence that the gifts of God are greater than the dangers of life. We enter this psalm with the name of the Lord. The phrase following the initial naming of the Lord sets the tone for the remainder of the psalm “I shall not want.” The Lord is the satisfaction of all needs. Nothing else is necessary. The psalm suggests that this is not only a spiritual satisfaction. With the later reference to cup and table comes the implication that the Lord is the satisfaction for all needs.
The psalm then proceeds to talk about God. “He” makes, leads, restores, and guides. Then in the center of the psalm we find a more direct address with the strong pronoun “Thou.” Perhaps this part of the psalm is more immediate or is stated with more emotion. The psalmist speaks directly to this “Thou” while walking through a deep dark valley and while in the presence of enemies. The psalmist does not fear impending danger because of the presence of this “Thou.”
Another interesting observation in the psalm is the pronoun ”I.” This is no self-centered “I”, but one full of gratitude and thanksgiving. One that acknowledges that the presence and actions of this “Thou” are enough. This “I” is trusting that life, no matter how dangerous, no matter how evil, is in the hands of this “Thou.”
The psalm knows about threatening situations. The psalm knows that evil is real. That danger exists. But it also knows that the Lord is greater than the threat. The presence of the Lord is enough. No matter the situation. It does not mean that there are no deep dark valleys. It does not mean that there is no evil. It does not mean that there are no enemies. It does mean that He might prepare a table for you right in the presence of your enemies. The presence of the Lord is enough even in (perhaps specifically in) situations where danger is the greatest.
As in the beginning, the psalm ends with the name of the Lord. This may be noteworthy and suggest that life is lived in the presence of the One with this name. The One who walks the deep dark valley with me also leads me beside quiet waters. The Lord is with us. The psalm knows that danger is real, but it also knows that the Lord is greater than danger.