In Green Pastures
Psalm 23:1-3 NASB
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the chief shepherd of his flock; of his followers. Because he, God, now dwells within all of us who are his followers, in the person of his Holy Spirit, we are not lacking in anything we truly need.
And yet, as humans, we have a tendency toward fear and worry. I think that is why scripture so often tells us to not fear, to not be afraid, to not fret, and to not be anxious. Yet, fear is what comes naturally. Faith is thus supernatural. But, faith is what we must put on when we are feeling fear.
And, we do that by yielding our lives and our circumstances over to the Lord and by trusting our Lord, that he is in control, and that he has a plan, and that he will work out his plan through our life situations, if we will rest in him.
When we are feeling anxious about our circumstances, our Lord will comfort us with his promises, with his love and compassion, and with the truths of his Word, and of his divine character. And, as we yield our situations and the people in our lives over to him, resting in him, he will fill us with his peace.
And, then he will show us the way in which he wants us to go. He will teach us how we are to respond to our circumstances, and to the people in our lives, in ways that are godly, holy, pure and righteous. And, he will fill us with his Spirit and with his love, mercy and compassion so that we love others as he loves us, and so we say to them and do toward them all that God would have us to do and say, that will be beneficial to them.
The Shadow of Death
Psalm 23:4 NASB
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.
Some of the trials we face in this life pale by comparison to what others have had to suffer. Not all of us, for instance, have experienced walking through a “valley of the shadow of death.” But, many of us have.
Many of us have known deep sadness, despair, depression, and/or a feeling of hopelessness. We have known deep darkness, where all the world of evil seems to be breaking loose all around us; to where it seems that no one is real anymore, that most everything is fake, and most people are liars and deceivers, tricksters and evil doers, and the godly are so scarce.
Many of us have experienced abuse, abandonment, rejection, false accusations, betrayal, slander, and being hated and persecuted, on a somewhat consistent basis. We know firsthand the tricks and deceitful schemes of the evil one that he plays on us in order to try to discourage or to dishearten us, or to trip us up, and to try to get us to give up, too.
Yet, no matter how bad it gets, we are not supposed to be afraid. For, fear never makes anything better, only worse. And, fear is the opposite of faith. When we are anxious, it reveals that we are weak in faith. So, we must trust the Lord, give it all over to him, and then just do what he shows us to do.
My Head Anointed
Psalm 23:5 NASB
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
When we respond to these dark and troublesome times, though, with faith, with love, with compassion towards others, with joy and with peace, which all come from our Lord, and with perseverance, even in the face of great suffering, our enemy loses and we gain the victory through Christ our Lord.
All the enemy’s tricks he uses against us fall dead in their tracks, for he is not able to defeat us, because our Lord is with us, and in us, and he is giving us all we need to stand strong against the enemy of our souls and to be mighty conquerors through Christ who loves us. The devil can kill our bodies, but he cannot kill our souls. Amen!
Psalm 23:6 NASB
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Our Lord has so much good in store for us, if we will but yield our lives over to him and let him lead, and then follow his lead wherever it is he wants us to go. We miss out on so much when we choose to respond to the difficulties of our lives with fear, rather than with faith.
What seems like tragedies to us are opportunities for God to do his work in our lives. What appear to be impossible situations for us are never impossible for God to bring good out of them. When we jump ship out of fear of what lies ahead, we can miss out on so many blessings God has in store for us, and so many opportunities for us to be the Lord’s witnesses to others of his love and grace.
And, we can miss out, too, on the chance to be used of God in the lives of others to comfort and encourage them with the comfort we received from the Lord, during times when they are going through similar trials as we did.
So, when we go through the trials of this life, whether small or huge, we must not respond in fear, and we must not let Satan undo us, but we must put our faith and trust in the Lord, rest in him, and then follow His lead.
An Original Work / February 29, 2012
Based off Psalm 37 and 46
God’s our refuge and our strength,
An ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Though the mountains fall into the sea.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
God of Jacob is our fortress.
“Be still, and know that I am God;
Exalted I’ll be.”
Trust in the Lord and do good;
And delight yourself in the Lord,
And He will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit your way to the Lord.
Trust in Him and He will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine
Like the dawn, the justice of your
Cause – the noon-day sun.
Be still before the Lord,
And wait patiently for Him; do not fear.
Fretting only leads to evil.
Put your hope in Jesus Christ.
If the Lord delights in your way,
He makes your steps firm and steady.
The Lord upholds you with His hand,
So you will not fall.