Here we are again, many things in life have changed and I think I'm going to get more time to write. I sure hope so. I enjoy my time of thinking on what the Lord would have me to say to you guys, and then getting to put it all on paper (virtually at least) for you. We've been going through the Forgotten Way study on Sunday nights as I'm sure if you've read any of my posts you already knew. Going through this study has presented a new perspective on the way that I look at the Word. It hasn't changed the Word, but rather my view of it. I now see things more clearly in the spiritual sense than just the words on the page or the fleshly concerns of the Word. Let's take a journey shall we?
Get out your Bible. Normally I add links to the verses and things that I am using, and I will, but I feel that you'll see what's to be seen looking at text on paper vs jumping back and forth between tab. Now open to Psalm 23 (link). Read over it real quick, and come back to this post.
Read it? Good. Let's begin.
For years I was taught by pastors, teachers, leaders, and friends that this passage was David in a time of trouble reaching out to God. Which for what it's worth, isn't a false teaching so there's that. However, let's change our perspective a little and go through verse by verse. Open your eyes, don't be blind even though you see. You are a Child of God (Romans 8:14-17) and as a Child of God you must realize that you are spiritual in nature.
So let's look (all the verses are from the NASB. You are free to use your version of choice, I haven't see where it makes a difference in what is actually said):
The LORD is my shepherd,I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
What is David saying here? He is saying that Yahweh (the LORD) is his shepherd, and as such he lacks nothing. How many of us live our lives like that? How many live as true followers of the good shepherd (John 10:11) that lack nothing? Many of us, myself included get caught up in the wants and desires of this life completely forgetting that Jesus is the shepherd who laid His life down for us thus giving us all that we needed. OK so that's a pretty normal thought from that verse, what about the next 5?
He makes me lie down in green pastures;He leads me beside quiet waters
Hmm this one looks a lot like the first in the "God provided for David, and thus will provide for us" category. But look deeper, look from a spiritual perspective. If we walk with God daily, in spirit, we will follow His lead right? God can only do what is absolutely best for us, we're his Child remember? So He brings us to the green pastures, the sustenance that we need. And He takes us to the quiet stream, the water that flows freely. By following God (Luke 9:23) we are cared for. Let's look back at the first two verses, what do they have in common? They are pretty firm in the "we are cared for" category, and that's truth. God cares for us. He leads us if we follow. He can only provide what's best for us all the time. Both of these verses can be viewed from the flesh or from the spirit. It's a matter of how you look at them. Look back over the first two again, but view them from the spiritual perspective only. Do you see how God cares for us, both physically and spiritually? And to think, this is just two verses...
He restores my soul;He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
And here we have the first verse that you can clearly see the spiritual connection between David and Yahweh. God restores the soul. He lifts us up out of the pit and remakes us (2 Corinthians 5:17). We don't have to be what we were before He rescued us, and that's clearly evident in the second part of the verse. Again God "leads" us, this time He leads us in the path of righteousness. If we'll only Surrender to His leading and follow we would walk in righteousness. See He doesn't lead us in righteousness so that we would be lifted up, no He does it "for His name's sake". Even Jesus said that our being one in Christ and the Father was so that the world might see Him in us (John 17:21).
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.
Even though we walk in this world, knowing death is a heartbeat away we have nothing to fear because You Lord are with us. Beautiful verse, but often limited to only the flesh once again. Jesus said that we are in this world, but we are no longer "of this world" (John 17:16). We walk in the valley of the shadow of death because we don't realize that we can be and in fact are already seated in the highest places with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7). While we don't have to be in the valley, at many times in our lives we find ourselves in the valley, it's when we find ourselves here that we must realize that He is with us. Christ, being God, set aside His glory to be with us, and to bring us to Himself.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;You have anointed my head with oil;My cup overflows.
This verse goes back to what I was just saying that we are seated already in heavenly places with Christ, we just have to open our eyes and see it. Our Father has prepared a table for us, even when our enemies strike out at us. We have to look at the Father and say, "Abba, thank you. I trust you, and will keep my eyes on you" (Ephesians 2:4-7, Romans 8:14-17). He has set us aside to be His, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit as His children (Ephesians 1:13). We cannot hold the grace of God, and thus we spill over with His grace to the world, or at least we should.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
We have reached the end, our fleshly existence should be filled with goodness and lovingkindness (love, mercy) because it is shown to us by the Father daily. If we are to be true followers of Christ we are to keep His commandments (John 14:15). Our Bible study group several months ago got into a deep thought on what are the commandments of Jesus? We finally agreed that the only command from Jesus was to love. You see, as Jesus pointed out to the pharisees who were trying to trick Him, love sums up all the laws of God. Love of your brother, love of your neighbor, and yes love of your enemy. As a follower of the Good Shepherd we should love all the days of our lives. And when those days come to an end, we know that we will be in the Father's house forevermore.