Provocative Devotion: One More Thought on Psalm 23

Posted: September 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

Shortly after becoming a follower of Jesus I read a book titled, “In the Presence of Mine Enemies”. It was written by an American soldier, Captain Howard Rutledge, who was help captive as a POW during the war in Vietnam. The title obviously comes from verse 5 of the Psalm,

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.

Captain Rutledge wrote about how he and a few other POW’s were able to piece together the words of this Psalm from memory and how it gave them the strength to endure their brutal captivity. I remember thinking how amazing it was that these men were living this Psalm in ways most people could never even begin to imagine. They were able to believe that God was actually caring for them in the very presence of an enemy that was torturing them on a regular basis. In reading that I was struck by the notion that the Word of God is indeed powerful. It corrects, rebukes, comforts, and strengthens. Even in the face of anguish and suffering at the hands of evil incarnate, God is able to bless HIs own to overflowing.

Captain Rutledge and his fellow prisoners allowed the Word fo God to minister to them. They received the power and comfort that can only come from that Word and did not let the circumstances of their surroundings negate the Word. If those men could do that in a prison cell in Vietnam, if Jesus could do that in the Garden and on the Cross, why can’t I do that in the relative comfort and safety of my life?

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