Thursday, February 01, 2007

Psalm 23: My Thoughts

Henry Blackaby in Created to be God's Friend has the reader read and meditate on Psalm 23. The following are the thoughts I had has I went through this exercise this morning. Perhaps you will find them helpful or encouraging.

Thoughts on Psalm 23 (NASB):

Verse 1: The LORD is my Shepherd I shall not want. Jesus is my shepherd, for He is the good shepherd (John 10). I can trust Jesus to provide what I need. He loves me and will give me what I need for life. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:2-3, NASB).

Verse 2: He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. Jesus provides the security and rest I need so I can learn to trust His Father. Though it may not always seem to be green pastures and quiet waters, God will give us those opportunities to find rest in Him. Hebrews 10:23-25 reads; Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and al the more as you see the day drawing near (NASB). One of these safe places God has provided for us to learn of His love and provision is in the Church, the fellowship of other followers of Christ.

Verse 3: He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Jesus restores my life, gives me hope for the futures, and puts a new heart in my chest. But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY (NASB). Through Jesus we have received God's mercy, become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), and have received the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us in truth and righteousness (John 16:7-15).

Verse 4: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Following Jesus isn't safe, there will be moments of safety, but He will also lead us into dangerous places. Places of opposition and persecution. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39; NASB). With this truth in our hearts we should approach whatever is before us with courage: For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7, NASB).

Verse 5: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. This is found in the promise that the last will be first and the first will be last. While I do think that when I follow Jesus my life will be better, I don't think that I always see how God will honor me in this life over those who choose to oppose me. I think this is more of a verse of hope than something I will see played out in my everyday life (though God's blessings are overflowing!). Jesus made this promise; "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2; NASB).

Verse 6: Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Following Jesus will lead us into places and situations in which we will be blessed by the lives of other Christ-Followers, but will also give us an opportunity to bless the the lives of other people (Hebrews 10:23-25). James writes; Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (James 1:27, NASB). A person who lives in such away (who through faith in Jesus does what is right) is a person who has fellowship with God (1 John 1:6, 7) and can be confident about the future (1 John 2:28).

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