Re:Verse reading—Psalm 23 (day six)
There is a lot of goodness in Psalm 23. God’s provision, His care and help are dear truths, among several others. More than these, or their summary, David is reminding us that we are not alone. Not in the abstract way at all, but real and close; although at times with our deadened senses, He can be hard to see or hear. But He is there all along. And like a good friend, he listens rather than interjects, nor makes attempts at quick fixes. Every so often, without even a word, he reminds us, I’m bigger than this scary moment. I can carry it. My son already has.
In the world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world. –Jesus
I will never leave you or forsake you. –Jesus
Re:Verse reading—Psalm 23 (day five)
“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life”. David doesn’t jump to any wild conclusions about God’s care, character, or interaction with His children. Instead, after reflection and careful observation, David becomes convinced of God’s nearness and willingness to constantly supply goodness and mercy. David has considered his own experiences and has held them up against God’s promises. They have matched up perfectly. So, David concludes with certainty and decisiveness (SURELY) that God is eagerly pursuing us to demonstrate His pleasure in doing good and showing mercy.
What conclusions can you make about God and the christian life based on your own experiences and God’s promises?
Re:Verse reading—Psalm 23 (day four)
Sheep depend on their shepherd to provide rest…protection…provision…comfort…direction… goodness…and lovingkindness. Everything that they need is provided by the shepherd. The same is true for us…our Shepherd, Jesus, provides for our every need. Why then, do we seek other sources for our needs? Why do we seek what the world has to offer, when Jesus will abundantly provide? We take elaborate steps to ‘do it our self.’ It is pride! We think we can do it without help from anyone when, in fact, we are completely dependent on others for everything.
When we humble ourselves before God and, in faith, trust in Jesus, we find rich and lasting provision. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…what more could we ask for? Are you looking for guidance, provision, protection, or comfort? Look to the Shepherd!
“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” (1 Peter 5:6)
Re:Verse reading—Psalm 23 (day three)
The Lord is my shepherd.
Can we imagine a type of caring in which the vulnerable—subject to harm against which they have no defense—find themselves in the care of the powerful? And can we imagine this care being all-encompassing, such that provision for the vulnerable is not a reaction to circumstances, but an anticipation of them? We can, but only on a lower order. Shepherding has formed part of the human enterprise for a long time, so we know some animals live in this kind of care. The human spirit longs for it, yet has all but given up on the possibility of its existence. David’s turn at shepherding became a door of revelation, and someone met his longing full on. It turns out this type of caring does indeed exist, and that it’s better than we imagined.
Re:Verse reading—Psalm 23 (day two) I shall not want. vs. 1b
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
One of the things we teach our children is the difference between need and want. Recognizing a desire from a necessity is not always easy when our emotions get involved. One of the by-products of dwelling with Jesus is a way to help clearly differentiate the two. Being content is not about being apathetic, it is about understanding a dependency upon Christ for our source of fulfillment. Ultimately we will want what he wants for us. That leads to a restored soul.
Re:Verse reading—Psalm 23 (day one)
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”–v 1.
Who knows when young David discovered this life-changing connection! HOW I am rests on (rises directly from) WHO He is. My condition. His character. Same. Same.
For years (?) David faithfully cared for His father’s sheep. Silly animals. Not smart. Their safety depended on David’s presence and attentive care.
In a profound moment of clarity, David realized that he had the same relationship with God that his sheep had with him. “I am a sheep” he must have whispered to himself. “The LORD is my shepherd.”
It is a no-win situation. I have tried, believe me. Finding security in self and situation is a useless and anxious endeavor. Courage comes only (and hope with it) when I look, with David, to the Lord and discover Him strong and near.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)
Re:Verse reading–2 Kings 5 (day seven)
A miracle happens between verse 11 and verse 15, a miracle even greater than the physical healing of leprosy. Early in chapter 5 Naaman is desperate, seeking healing anywhere he can find it. He will travel the world to seek out this prophet of Israel if there is any hope of healing. When Naaman finds Elisha though, he has no faith, and we get this line in verse 11, “Behold I thought…”. Naaman is not ready to submit to this prophet of this God in Israel.
But in a few verses, we get verse 15, “Behold, now I know…”. Before, Naaman thought he knew the right answers, now he knows the LORD, the God of Israel. This change of mind, from “I know” to “now I know the LORD” is dramatic, even more so than a healing miracle, because ultimately what we all need is a change of mind, not healing. We must lose our own thoughts and wants, and get to know the LORD.
Re:Verse reading–2 Kings 5 (day six)
“Send him to me so he may know there is a prophet in Israel.”- Elisha
Naaman’s need was great; he needed healing, but not the kind he expected. Elisha knew though; he was interested in far more than healing his skin, he wanted Naaman to “know there is a prophet in Israel.” In short, he wanted to put the fear of God in Naaman, that there is no god like our God.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…and faith. Naaman left with both.
Re:Verse reading–2 Kings 5 (day five)
The encouragement and testimony of a Jewish slave girl were a catalyst for the events in 2 Kings 5. She gave testimony of what she believed and pointed others to God (thru His prophet). Her words were humble, confident, and offered hope.
Do we encourage others with this same attitude and approach? We can and should regularly share our experience with God (His goodness and faithfulness to us) with those around us. We can and should share what we believe about the Living God. Our story and our faith will offer encouragement, hope, and “life”to those around us each and every day.
“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” 1 Peter 3:15
“He then answered, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25
Re:Verse reading–2 Kings 5 (day four)
It is a common belief…even when we don’t recognize that we are doing it. If we work hard enough and our good works outweigh the bad, we will have redemption. It is known as ‘salvation by works.’ This belief may be common, but it is misguided and false. We cannot be saved by anything we can do.
Naaman just needed to know what steps he needed to take. Being a great warrior, he knew he would have to work hard for his cure (redemption). When the only thing he was asked to do was to wash in the muddy Jordan River, he thought he had been had. He’d come all this way only to discover he had been deceived. His wise and loving servants persuaded him to simply act in faith and he was healed. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.