« הקודםהמשך »
2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
said, 'O yes, sir ; I have twenty-two pounds a year, and all found.' • All found.' That was evidently more to her than the small sum total of the actual pounds. 'I shall not want.' All is found.” Rev. John McNeill.
“I was once walking through a poorhouse with the manager, a wise and kindly man, and, being pained with what I had seen, I said to him, “Tell me, now, what proportion of the inmates of this house have been well-doing people, and have been brought here by no fault of their own.' Well,' he answered, 'I know them all well, and I am acquainted with their histories, and I am sorry to say that there is not a single one of the sort you have indicated.'” - James Stalker.
2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. How does the shepherd, the first thing in the morning, make the sheep lie down in green pastures'? Not by walking them and wearing them out, but by feeding them until they are satisfied. Sheep will go on walking long after they are weary, but the moment they are satisfied they will lie down. Now a day with the shepherd and his sheep in the uplands is the life of the believer with God. His first act is the satisfaction of the soul.” – Hastings. “Show me a single person enjoying healthy repose, vital spiritual poise, rest calm and deep as a river just because life's tide is flowing full and free, and it is invariably the spirit centered in the Ever-living Heart of God.” — Rev. Frederick F. Shannon.
“Where dost thou feed thy favored sheep?
O my beloved, tell me where;
And guard me with thy tender care.” – R. T. P. Pope.
He leadeth me beside still waters. Not motionless waters, ponds, but “ waters of rest," as it is literally translated; waters that give rest and refreshment. “In the East the sheep requires water daily, owing to the heat and dryness of the climate.”
— Trisiram. Leadeth
coils at his feet as the laden
bucket rises responsive to the
rhythmic movements of his sinewy arms. Into the trough he pours the sparkling contents. Again the bucket shoots into the darkness of the well ; again, and yet again, and when the trough is filled he calls the thirsty sheep to come in groups and drink. The lambs first, afterwards the older members of the flock, till all are served and satisfied.” Hastings.
3. He restoreth my soul : he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Thus God would lead his children, by the still waters of a quiet, contented life of simple obedience, not by the troubled waters of worldly ambition, the rapids of wild passion, the cataract of endless destruction. He knows the way that is best ; let us walk with him.
II. THE PROTECTING SHEPHERD, vs. 3, 4. If the shepherd had nothing to do but see to the food and drink and rest of the sheep, his would be a comparatively light task ; but dangers are pressing in upon his flock, wild animals and robbers, and there are the many perils of the wilderness into which the sheep may stray. God, the good Shepherd, is a protector as well as a provider.
3. He restoreth my soul. Man has indeed wandered
The Sheepfold. from the right path, and he can be restored to it by the good Shepherd alone ; recall Christ's exquisite parable of the hundredth sheep. There may be some thought of that here, but the main picture is of a faint and weary sheep, whose strength is restored by the shepherd's ministrations. “He restoreth my soul : the soul he has himself created.” - Sir George Adam Smith.
He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. “ There is an insinuating and pervasive calmness in the very words, and the leisureliness of the long vowels induces something of the serenity which breathes through the entire Psalm. We cannot read them at a gallop.” – Hastings. Note the me; there is a special, individual guidance for each soul. God's "name" means his nature, his character, all that he is. He guides men for their own sakes, of course, because he loves them and wishes them to be true and happy ; but it is indeed fortunate for us that God's character and God's purpose, the greatest things in the universe, are back of our destiny, and that it does not rest on anything so fallible and empty as our own deserts.
Illustrations. “The Oriental shepherd was always ahead of his sheep. He was down in front. Any attack upon them had to take him into account. Now God is down in front. He is in the to-morrows. It is to-morrow that fills men with dread. God is there already. All the to-morrows of our life have to pass him before they can get to us." — H. Howard.
“ Here and there in the grazing country of Judæa the traveler will come upon narrow, well-worn paths. Generations of shepherds and myriads of flocks have trodden these old ways. They are the recognized highways, traversing the land from well to well and from fold to fold. A competent shepherd has expert knowledge of all these paths.” – Hastings.
“So many, many roads lie traced
Where wanderers may stray
"What though the path be all unknown?
What though the way be drear?
- George Matheson.
Illustration. When the young man, John G. Paton, decided to become a missionary, he laid the matter before his parents. They told him then, for the first time, that from birth he had been consecrated to the gospel ministry, and that it had been their constant prayer that he would be guided to that work. From that moment his doubts were removed, and he went forward in confidence to one of the greatest missionary careers the world has known.
4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Literally, “the valley of the dark shadow" ; not death merely, but all gloomy experiences. David had in his mind the deep, dark, and dangerous ravines of which Palestine has many, especially in the region between Bethlehem and the Dead Sea and in the Jordan valley. He had taken his sheep through many of them. “ In these cragged mountains there are innumerable caves, both natural and hewn in the solid rock. In these caves still live numerous wild beasts. Lions have been extinct since the days of the Crusaders, who hunted and killed till they exterminated as much life as they could during their occupancy of the country. Leopards are rare, and bears are now found only in the Lebanon ranges; but hyenas, wolves, wildcats, and jackals still roam at will over the country, as also birds of prey, such as eagles and vultures of great size and strength and beauty. All these are the natural ' enemies' of the flocks of sheep and goats.” A. F. Mamreov.
I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Even in the midst of danger and gloom the sheep are safe while their shepherd is with them. At this point the Psalm moves closer to God, the good Shepherd : it passes from “ he ” to thou”; it no longer talks of him, but to him. That is what peril does for the soul of man.
Illustration. We walk through the dark valley. There is a way out of all trials, and the good Shepherd leads us through. Every sorrow, every difficulty, is like a dark tunnel ; there is a way through it, and at the end we come out into the sunshine and the fresh air, the blue sky, the bright flowers, the woods and meadows and hills.
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. The rod is a club slung by the shepherd's side, used as a weapon to beat off evil beasts or kill serpents. The staff is a long, straight pole which the shepherd carries in his hand to help him in climbing, to lean upon when weary, to use in directing the sheep, to count them as they come from the fold or enter it, and to beat the grass and make sure that it is free from serpents.
Comfort,” as used in the Bible, means more than to soothe and cheer with love and sympathy; it has its root meaning of strengthening, from the Latin fortis, whence come our fort and“ fortitude.” We can do all things through the good Shepherd, who strengthens us.
III. THE PREPARING SHEPHERD, vs. 5, 6. The Psalm looks backward and sums up God's mercies, it looks around and rejoices in God's presence and protection, and it also looks forward, gaining exquisite foreglimpses of the joys that are to come. Our Shepherd is of the future, of the endless years.
5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Many have thought that David, when he wrote this line, was thinking of the courageous, kind way in which Barzillai entertained him when he was in flight during Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 17 : 27–29 ; 19:31-39). There are two ways of viewing the Psalm from this point ; some think that the shepherd comparison is here dropped, and the thought is of Jehovah as a host receiving the Psalmist as his guest ; others consider that the metaphor of the sheep is continued ; the “ enemies are still the wild beasts of the dark glen, and the “ table" is the flock's “ supper on the darkening wold, when the sheep feed richly on the guarded green.”. Hastings. Either way, the Psalmist is thinking of God's continued care, of God's fellowship with his children, and of the Eastern custom which makes guest and host the closest friends if they have once tasted food together. “ There is something so exuberantly triumphant in the Psalmist's boast ! It is laughingly defiant in its security. The enemies frown at the open door, while he calmly sits down to a feast with his Lord.” Rev. J. H. Jowett, D.D.
Illustration. James Chalmers, the heroic missionary to New Guinea whom Robert Louis Stevenson admired so deeply, had many enemies among the natives who sought again and again to kill him and his wife ; but each time when the would be assassins approached the low fence which surrounded the rough mission house they were held back by some mysterious force. It was the power of God, making a safe table for Chalmers in the presence of his enemies.
6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Thou hast anointed my head with oil. “ Fresh and fragrant oil, freely used in the East as a cosmetic, is associated always with festal occasions, and the neglect to provide it is somewhat of a slight on the part of a host who is entertaining guests ; see Luke 7:46.” – New Century Bible. Here also the shepherd simile may be con tinued. “ It is the last scene of the day. At the door of the sheepfold the shepherd stands, and the 'rodding of the sheep' takes place. The shepherd stands turning his body to let the sheep pass : he is the door, as Christ said of himself. With his rod he holds back the sheep while he inspects them one by one as they pass into the fold. He has the horn filled with olive oil, and he has cedar-tar, and he anoints a knee bruised on the rocks, or a side scratched by thorns. And here comes one that is not bruised, but is simply worn and exhausted ; he bathes its face and head with the refreshing olive oil, and he takes the large two-handled cup and dips it brimming full from the vessel of water provided for that purpose, and he lets the weary sheep drink. There is nothing finer in the Psalm than this.' Rev. W. A. Knight.
My cup runneth over. Literally, " My cup - abundance !” This may be the sheep's cup of water, as just explained, or it may be the brimful cup offered by the host to his guest. In either case David is thinking of the abundant life which God gives his children, the overflowing beauty and riches of the natural world, the abounding joys of home, of friendship, of society, and above all the ever-full satisfactions of the life of communion with God. "O look, my soul, and see
“Heart of Christ, О cup most golden,
Liberty from thee we win;
We who drink no more are holden
By the shameful cords of sin.'
T. T. Lynch. “How can our cup be kept overflowing ? (1) By keeping it always under the spring. (2) By drinking fully. (3) By communicating to others.” Hastings. “ The overflow of your cups shall not only be goodness and mercy as passive virtues, but the activities of goodness and mercy.” Caroline Hazard.
Illustration. “ Annually when the ice broke up in Russia the Czar went in state to drink of the river Neva, and having drunk, it was the custom for the Czar to return the cup to his attendants full of gold ; but year by year the cup became so much larger that at length a stipulated sum was paid instead of the old largesse. But however large the vessel we bring to God, and however much it increases in capacity with the discipline of years, God will still make it overflow.” – Rev. W. L. Watkinson, D.D.
6. Surely goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life. Goodness and Lovingkindness are pictured as two of God's angels, sent to attend David all his days, providing him with all blessings and warding off all evil. The word translated “ surely may also mean only.” Nothing but goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me.” The word translated “ follow" has the meaning " to pursue,” as if God were determined to overtake our self-willed wanderings with his goodness and mercy.
“Goodness and mercy
Horatius Bonar. “ The Psalmist does not ask that blessings shall continue to lead him, but that goodness and mercy shall follow him. They are not to be the guides of his life but the consequences of his life. The man who has been blessed of God is to go steadily on, and behind him, like a flock of sheep, will follow the good thoughts and merciful deeds of a better world.”. F. G. Peabody. And I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah forever. Literally, “ for length of
This is the joyous benediction at the close of this glorious Psalm. Illustration. “ At Cadiz, in Spain, above the entrance of the Casa di Misericordia, or House of Refuge, is carved the inscription in the words of the One Hundred and Thirty-Second Psalm — “This is my rest : here will I dwell.' The ear misses the two familiar words of the Psalm, ‘for ever.' A friend has told me that as he looked up one day at the inscription and noticed the omission, the Superior, who happened
On to the end."
to be near, with a smile explained the reason. * This Casa,' he said, “is the rest of - but not for ever.'” Rev. Hugh Macmillan, D.D.
“Lord, thou art Life though I be dead,
Love's fire thou art however cold I be:
Nor home, but thee.” — Christina G. Rossetti.
“I shall not want rest. ' He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.'
I shall not want drink. • He leadeth me beside the still waters.'
“I shall not want forgiveness. He restoreth my soul.'
“I shall not want guidance. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
“I shall not want companionship. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me.'
“I shall not want comfort. “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.'
"I shall not want food. parest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.'
“I shall not want joy. 'Thou anointest my head with oil.'
“ I shall not want anything. “My cup
runneth over.' Plockhörst.
“I shall want nothing in this life. The Good Shepherd.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow
me all the days of my life.' “ I shall not want anything in eternity. . And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.' Mrs. John R. Mott.
REVIEW: THE NOBLE LIFE OF SAMUEL.
SELECTION FOR READING: 1 Sam. 12:1-5, 13-25.
GOLDEN TEXT. — I will instruct you in the good and the right way. - 1 SAM. 12:23.
Devotional Reading : Prov. 2:1-11.
Memory Verse : If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments. John 14 :
15. Junior Topic : A Boy Who BECAME A GREAT Man.
Memory Verse : i Sam. 3:19. Intermediate and Senior Topic : STRONG POINTS IN SAMUEL'S CHARACTER. Topic for Young People and Adults : SAMUEL's SERVICE TO His PEOPLE.
Several forms of review are suggested, that the teacher may choose the one suited to the age and advancement of his class, or perhaps make a combination of two forms of review.