Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Psalm 23 The Source

Take a minute and read psalm 23.  Then consider what it says, ponder the words and read it again.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 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. (Psalm 23:1-6 ESV)

This is a great passage used often to comfort people in times of loss.  That is such a great use of Scripture, I highly recommend that we all practice using Gods Word to comfort others.  Yet today I want us to be reminded about the Source.  It is The Lord who is the Shepherd, the one who " makes", the one who "leads", the one who "restores", the one who is "with me", who's Rod and staff bring "comfort".  It is the Lord who brings a sense of power and authority to overcome enemies and who brings blessing to those He leads.  The Lord Jesus is the Source in this wonderful text.

As the Source, the Lord is the focus.  The follower experiences what the Source does for them but the follower is not the focus.  The opening line of this Psalm has a lot of depth.  The Lord is proclaimed to be the Shepherd, the one who leads, guides, cares for, feeds and protects the sheep.  This opening continues with the words "I shall not want".  This declares that the more you understand that the Lord God is your Shepherd then you will not be in want.  This does not mean you will not have needs, the rest of the Psalm talks of the Shepherd meeting many needs, so this is different.  To not be in want, means that the follower trusts the Shepherd to meet their true needs and that other wants or desires will not be part of their focus.  Let me paraphrase the line to help us understand this.  

The Lord Jesus is my Shepherd; I will find my true needs met in Him, I will cast off my own selfish desires and wants because I am not the focus, I am not the source, and so I state with commitment and conviction that I will not be found wanting, I shall not want.

There is no guarantee for an easy life with every blessing that you want.  No to the contrary it is about the Shepherd knowing what you really need and never leaving you to fend for yourself.  It is not all green pastures and still waters, it is also about righteousness, the shadow of death, evil and enemies and how regardless of the difficulty of life the Shepherd is with you through it all.

So today as you pray, remember the Source, the Good Shepherd, Jesus.  Be reminded that He is the focus and our wants are not the focus.

Pastor Bruce

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