The Comforting Shadow!

Sometimes I’m a little slow “getting it”. The Rev. Jimmy Bratcher pulled a song out at Sturgis Bike Rally that floored me and until a few days ago I didn’t remember that… nor did I realize where it came from, etc..

As I searched the Web for it, the lights came on so to speak. Anyhow, that is what has sparked this blog 🙂

An English word we hear little of these days pops up in some translations of The Bible.

More on that at the end of this little blog post.

Psalm 23 has been in my mind and in particular, the 4th verse re. “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me”.

Jesus refers to God the Holy Spirit as both “the Spirit of Truth” and “The Comforter” and indeed He is both.

So as verse 4 of the psalm kept popping up in my mind, I remembered various teachings and commentary notes in this respect.

The idea is that regardless of life’s storms, “My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me”. The powerful “God-WITH-us” (my caps to accent) is found right here in “the valley of the shadow of death” where “I will fear no evil”.

That is, the “Good Shepherd” will guide, defend, feed and otherwise care for His sheep regardless of circumstance or foe, no matter the weather.

Scholars tell us this psalm is most likely written by David with no evidence to suggest otherwise.

David experienced just about every sense of rejection possible including impending violence from members of his own family as well as from the king he loved and had served (though Saul was in a word, a maniac). Saul and a large army pursued David for quite some time.

But remember- David had faced fierce battles throughout his entire life. He had been selected by God from his original day job: shepherd… so this psalmist knew a few things about battle as well as sheep!

Of course what this psalm is famous for is comfort.

Many in various addiction/recovery groups memorize and pray it’s words regularly, and for good reason.

Most scholars conclude the rod and staff of God are illustrations of His authority and actual power, His ability (like human shepherds) to both guide and even catch the legs of sheep that are straying or not moving in the direction of safety and provision He intends for them.

But then I began to ponder something I had not in the past…

Some translations or commentaries as well as a Celtic Christian compline I often pray uses the term “overshadow” or “overshadowing” in this or that bit of writing.

In His deep love and grace for His followers, the Lord OVERshadows shadows. He is closer to us than “the shadow of death”. We are protected, overshadowed by His shadow, under the shadow of His wings.

I heard (and loved) the Rev. Jimmy Bratcher and band cover “Shelter Me”, written by Buddy Miller and largely known due to Louisianna bluesman Tab Benoit’s powerful version of this tune.

What I am thinking is that God OVERshadows the shadows of death.

THIS is COMFORT! THIS is the love of a faithful heavenly Father Who is present with those who “hear My voice, and they follow Me and I give to them eternal life, neither shall anyone be able to pluck them out of My hand”.

Something to think about this early September day 🙂

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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