Luther on Psalm 23:4-6

sheep-with-shepherd

Psalm 23:4-6   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.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

“He says therefore, ‘Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.’  It is as though he would say: ‘In all of my anxieties and troubles I find nothing on earth that might help to satisfy me.  But then God’s Word is my rod and my staff.  To that Word I will cling, and by it I will raise myself up again.”

“There is no other way or counsel on earth to get rid of all kinds of temptation than this, that a man cast all his cares upon God, take Him at His Word of grace, hold fast to it, and not let it be taken from him in any way.”

“Here the prophet [David] also touches upon the office of preaching.  For through the oral preaching of the Word, which enters the ears and touches the heart by faith, and through the holy Sacraments out Lord God accomplishes all these thing in his Christendom, namely, that men are brought to faith, are strengthened in faith, are kept in pure doctrine, and in the end are enabled to withstand all the assaults of the devil and the world.”

“In spiritual sheepherding, that is, in the kingdom of Christ, one should, therefore, preach to the sheep of Christ… not the Law of God, much less the ordinances of men, but the Gospel…  For through the Gospel, Christ sheep obtain strength in their faith, rest in their hearts, and comfort in all kinds of anxieties and perils of death.  Those who preach this way conduct the office of spiritual shepherd properly, feed the sheep of Christ in a green pasture, lead them to the fresh water, restore their souls, keep them from being led astray, and comfort them with Christ’s rod and staff.”

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