Dear Friends,

I would first like thank all those who have made contact with us at Trinity to ask how we are doing and who tell us they are praying for us. God is showing himself a well-proven help in our need at this time.

This week and next we at Trinity are preparing to deliver our courses live and online. We have added a week’s break so we can accomplish this (and other essential) tasks. I have been greatly encouraged at the way our staff are working together so our students may be cared for as they are equipped for present and future ministries.

With many, I have been meditating on the book of Psalms. I was struck again by Psalm 23:

     A Psalm of David

     1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     2     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
     He leads me beside still waters.
     3     He restores my soul.
     He leads me in paths of righteousness
         for his name’s sake.

     4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
         I will fear no evil,
     for you are with me;
         your rod and your staff,
         they comfort me.

     5 You prepare a table before me
         in the presence of my enemies;
     you anoint my head with oil;
         my cup overflows.
     6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
         all the days of my life,
     and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
         forever.
(ESV)

In the first and the last stanzas, David declares who God is and what God is doing for him in the very midst of his trials. The LORD is my shepherd, he makes me lie down, he leads me, restores me. Even now, he says to God, you prepare a heavenly banquet in the face of my enemies, you bless me with heavenly riches and treasure.

In the central stanza, David applies all this to his heart. He has come to see that God’s presence (“for you are with me”) and his Word (“your rod and staff they comfort me”) are the only sure foundations he has, and he rests in them. He glorifies God as he sees that God is leading him in the paths of righteousness, yes, even in the midst of difficulties and trials. And finally he exalts in God, longing for his place in God’s heavenly temple to come into reality.

David, although speaking from his own circumstances, also by the Spirit speaks of Jesus. For it is Jesus who entered into the valley of death (and judgment), “entrusting himself to the one who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). We are “like sheep who have gone astray but now have returned, the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls“ (1 Peter 2:25).

Between these two verses stands 1 Peter 2:24: “‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the tree, that we might die to sins and live for righteousness, ‘by his wounds you have been healed’.” If our Shepherd has given himself for us in this way, we may be fully assured of the protecting and guiding presence of his Spirit in our circumstances. And, we have a Shepherd who has prepared a place for us and now nourishes us with food that lasts.

With every warm wish in Christ,

Don West