The Shepherd Psalm: A Meditation
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The world could afford to spare many a magnificent library better than it could dispense with this little Psalm of six verses. If the verses of this Psalm had tongues and could repeat the tale of their ministry down throughout the generations of the faithful, what marvels of experience they would reveal! Their biographies would be gathered from the four winds of heaven and from the uttermost parts of the sea; from lonely chambers, from suffering sick beds, from the banks of the valley of the shadow of death, from scaffolds and fiery piles; witnessing in sunlight from moors and mountains, beneath the stars and in high places of the field. What hosts of armies of aliens it has put to flight! If by some magic or divine touch, yea, some miraculous power, the saints' experience of this Psalm could shine out between its lines, what an illumination of the text there would be!
Luther was fond of comparing this Psalm to the nightingale, which is small among the birds and of homely plumage, but with what thrilling melody it pours out its beautiful notes! Into how many dungeons filled with gloom and doubt has this little Psalm sung its message of hope and faith! Into how many hearts, bruised and broken by grief, has it brought its hymn of comfort and healing How many darkened prison cells it has lightened and cheered! Into what thousands of sick rooms has it brought its ministry of comfort and support! How many a time, in the hour of pain, has it brought sustaining faith and sung its song of eternal bliss in the valley of the shadow of death! It has charmed more griefs to rest than all the philosophies of the world. And I am persuaded that this little Psalm-bird will continue to sing its song of comfort and cheer to your children, to my children, and to our children's children, and will not cease its psalmody of love until the last weary pilgrim has placed his last climbing footstep upon the threshold of the Father's house to go out no more. Then, I think, this little bird will fold its golden pinions and fall back on the bosom of God, from whence it came.