Bible Readings and Devotion for July 9, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for July 9, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Today we have the 23rd Psalm as one of our readings. It has been meaningful for Jews and Christians for many centuries.
I shared this story several years ago, and I may share it again someday, for it is a good story.
I met Jim in 1994 at the first congregation I served. This was in the town of Otterbein, Indiana. As a youth Jim Morgan had grown up in the Lutheran Church in that community. As part of his faith development he memorized parts of the Bible for personal devotion and spiritual growth.
He knew various things well, but he especially appreciated the 23rd Psalm from the King James Version of the Holy Bible:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
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.
Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
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.
As a young man, Jim Morgan was called upon to be a soldier in World War Two. He was a paratrooper in the D-Day invasion in 1944. His plane went down before their target for jumping, and he was the only survivor. Jim was behind enemy lines for many weeks, alone, hiding in barns, haystacks, and anywhere else he could stay. He often saw Nazi German soldiers, but, thankfully, they didn’t see him.
His parents were told he was missing in action. I saw the actual telegram which stated this. His survival training as a soldier was important. He was able to stay hidden, find food, and the like. What Jim noted to me was that it was God’s Word and God’s strength which carried him through this time. This is where the 23rd Psalm comes in to the story.
As a youth he would recite this psalm quietly each night as he went to sleep, and he kept it through the rest of his life. This scripture was a core piece of God’s Word of comfort and help while he was in hiding from the Nazi soldiers. He was in the Valley of the Shadow of death, and God carried him through. When Jim was able to get some food or water, he, in a sense, had a table prepared before him in the presence of his enemies. As Jim hid on farms, in haystacks, in the woods, or wherever he could keep cover in those green pastures and was near the still waters. By the goodness and mercy of God in Jesus Christ, Jim had his soul restored through this challenging situation.
Around 1996 I led the funeral service for Jim Morgan. In the years and then weeks leading up to his death he could point to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, as the core of his life. He gave thanks to God for the saving work of Jesus Christ. We give thanks, that by God’s grace, Jim will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. We get to live by this same grace and word of God now and for ever.
Good Shepherd of the Church, you guide us through all of life’s mountains and valleys. Meet us this day through your Word, your Spirit and the Sacraments. Continue to join with us through your death and resurrection. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen