Dear Precious Friends,
It is such an amazing truth that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Romans 12:2 reminds us "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."
When we open our Bible, we are literally opening the words of God. It is our absolute truth... Our instructions for our life... there is nothing we face that He doesn't answer. EVERY SITUATION, EVERY MOMENT and PREDICAMENT WE FACE. When I was at the beginning of my walk with the Lord, my mentor challenged me to memorize Psalm 23. Little did I know how much was in this scripture... and how much it would mean to me to have the words hidden in my heart.
God has given you His Spirit to “guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13).
I have heard this over and over.. "Fix your eyes on Jesus, your Good Shepherd." Do we realize what this truly means?
There are places in Scripture that are powerful, so deep, that to recite them is to experience them. Psalm 23 is one of those places. As one scholar said, "The psalm itself is green pasture; the psalm itself is still water; the psalm itself restores my soul." Hear it again in the joyous voice of a child, with a little help from dad.
Psalm 23 is very personal. There are no references to "we" or "us" or "they," but only "my" and "me" and "I" and "You." This is David's testimony, his personal experience with God. We often hear it at celebration of life services. It is precious to us, a balm to our wounded souls. And what makes this a constant friend is that it covers all of life. With simple beauty, it speaks of green pastures and still waters as well as dark valleys and enemies and adversities.
But what comforts us and helps us is the psalm's confidence. David really believes this about God. We realize as we linger over these words that what David writes is not poetic exaggeration or theoretical theology. DAVID HAS EXPERIENCE GOD IN THESE WAYS! HE HAS HEARD HIS VOICE, FOLLOWED HIS LEAD AND FELT HIS CARE... Beneath the beauty of his words there are solid convictions, formed in the crucible of crisis.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
The reason we know these things to be so about a man who wrote 1000 years before Christ is because he has left us clues right here in this psalm. Notice that in the first three verses, David refers to God in the third person: "The Lord is my Shepherd. He makes me lie down . . . He leads me . . . He restores my soul."
Then, in v. 4-5, David shifts, referring to Him in second person: "I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me . . . You anoint my head with oil." And then, he closes by returning to third person: "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Why does David switch from talking about God with 'He' to talking to God with 'You,' and why does it happen in v. 4? Why didn't he just go on to say, 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for He is with me; His rod and His staff, they comfort me'?"
May I suggest that the change "He" to the more intimate "You" happens in v. 4 precisely because it's there he speaks of the valley he has walked. He has felt the shadows closing in. Verse 4 describes the crisis points in his life. And in those times, something deep happened between him and God.
You've noticed it too, haven't you? We're more prone to talk about God when we are in the green pastures and more prone to talk to God when we're in the dangerous ravine. In the light, we are prone to wander off in pursuit of greener grass. But in the dark, we hug His knee.
David changes from comments about God to communion with God because during his valley time, he stayed ever so close to the Shepherd, never taking his eyes of Him. He had experienced God in a way there that had ushered him toward intimacy with the Almighty Shepherd.
As we walk through this pandemic and difficult times, where do we turn.... Psalms is a great place to hear from our Lord when life hurts, I invite you to immerse yourself into hearing from God through a familiar oasis where we will see that God is closer than you think in times of crisis.
My prayer this morning is that God so imprint His truth in your heart that you will find your confidence in Him rise above the storm clouds in your life, even as David did. Take a few moments with me this morning to see David's confidence in times of crisis.
When we read Scripture with the help of our teacher, the Holy Spirit, the Bible is no longer just a book written thousands of years ago but a source of life-giving revelation. Read the Bible prayerfully, paying attention to any words, phrases, or ideas that stand out to you. Allow God to apply Scripture directly to your life through his Spirit. And as you read, submit yourself to God’s word with a continual “yes” in your heart. Choose to be a doer of the word that you might be blessed in everything you do (James 1:22-25).
Please comment below that "I AM CHOOSING TO BE A DOER OF THE WORD THE I MIGHT BE BLESSED IN EVERYTHING I DO". We must know His word to Do what the Holy Spirit guides us to do.
*Source: Bible, Holy Spirit, Sermon : Confidence in Times of Crisis: Lloyd Stilley, First 15 Devo