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 Psalm 23:4
Many of us walk through dark valleys in our lives. The dark valley is not some mistake. The presence of a shadow means that something is standing between us and the light. God leads us through our valley of the shadow as His forgiveness moves us out of our darkest place.
Forgiveness comforts our sorrows
Like the centurion at the cross do we suddenly see what we have done to Jesus? All around us lies the wreckage that our sins have left behind. We’ve seen the pure love of Jesus and we realize that His sufferings have been at our hands. Yet from the cross the centurion heard the words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” God’s words work in our life like a shepherd’s staff that corrects and guides us. When we feel that staff we know that despite our many failures and sins He has still decided to be our shepherd and he has chosen us to be His sheep!
Forgiveness sets a banquet table
“He prepares a table before me” means that God has chosen the time and place of our forgiveness. Just as the father held a celebration when he found the prodigal on the road home, so God prepares a celebration of forgiveness just for us. When God sets the table He is not at all afraid to do so even while our enemies are watching! God doesn’t wait for some hidden private moment. He claims us as His own in full public view and then sits down with us. That is why Paul calls it, “The Lord’s table”
Forgiveness Restores more than was lost
When Jesus took the cup He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” That New Covenant cup is God’s offer of restoration. But when God restores He does more than simply return things to as they were. God’s forgiveness is the cup that overflows. God’s forgiveness pours until our cup can’t hold it all. God’s life giving forgiveness is given in such quantity that we have more than enough to give to those people in our world who have treated us badly. There is such a harvest of His mercy and goodness that even after we have given it all away -there will be enough to follow us all the way to His home!