The answer to the question is Psalm 23. More often than not, when I ask a family what Scripture they would like read at the funeral of their loved one, they reply: “Psalms 23.”
While this Psalm is very poetic, it is much more than that—it is also jam-packed full of promises! The six verses of this Psalm is vivid imagery that presents God in the language of a caring and loving shepherd, and it offers hope to God’s struggling sheep in their darkest hours.
The first three words speak of God’s eternal presence: “The Lord is.” The word “is” is present tense. The verse does not say the Lord “was,” or the Lord “has been,” or “might possible be.” It tells us that the desire of God is to be your personal Shepherd at this exact moment and in every future second, minute, hour, and day of your life.
God is present now and with Him is the essence of His attributes. He is present with His empowering grace, abundant mercy, and His loving-kindness. He is present in His awesome greatness, His truth, and in His almighty strength.
Because sheep have a tendency wander off and get lost, He is also present to light the path you walk and to shine as a lamp to your feet. He is the ever-ready, ever present, power-packed God.
Whatever your task might be for today and whatever the trial may be, remember these three words: The Lord is. To really embrace the truth of this, drop the “the” and replace it with “my.” Say it now: “My Lord is.”
When you get a chance, put a smile on your Shepherd’s face, and shout it out: “My Lord is!” This “ism” is a beautiful prism that opens new possibilities to enhance your relationship with your Shepherd.
I’ve been reflecting on the life of Moses over the last few days. I’ve have been interested in his actions when he had his back to the Red Sea and was about to be slaughtered by the Egyptian Army.
Notice what Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever (Exodus 14:13).”
If you thought you were about to be the centerpiece of a massacre, how good would you be at standing still? I’m not so sure I could stay calm, but this is what Moses instructed the people to do; and, it seems to be a frequent theme of Scripture:
• Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
• Psalm 27:14: Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
• Psalm 40:1: I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.
• Isaiah 30:18: Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.
• Isaiah 40:31: Those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
The decision to stand still and wait on God is proof of your faith in the character and care of God. Any commotion in your emotion can be soothed by the words of Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Even when things are going miserably wrong, remember that God is mighty and right; and “He will not leave you nor forsake you,”