Since last month, I have been meditating on my favourite Bible chapter – Psalm 23. The love and the warmth of the Heavenly Father has just captivated me completely. I was going through a time of weariness, and I felt like I’ve reached a dead-end. Just one of those tough times that make you look upward to heaven and scream, “Lord please give me a break!”
Even though others could see a calm exterior, only God knew the storms within my heart. I have realised my mistake in being strong for others and hiding my weaknesses. God has asked me to stop being a hypocrite and double-faced. Clearly, if I am sorrowful at heart, putting up a facade is a big lie. Let’s not forget what God has said about liars and hypocrites! When the storms knock on your door, let go of your pride and scream out for help or else you will surely drown. Makes sense doesn’t it? Also, keep in mind that your only sure shot help is Jesus.
Now, I am learning to lean on God. From this there is one thing I have derived:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Trust me, one has to really fight to prevent the “self-pity” mode. I almost felt guilty about feeling cast down. That’s when God led me back to Psalm 23.
I realised we all need help, we all need comfort. It is not a sin to feel downstruck and no one can be happy all the time. If it was why would David (the author of this Psalm) call God his comfort?
Psalm 23:4 “….Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
So, now let’s go line by line, because each line seems to have so much more to it (maybe even more than I can put in words). Above all I pray this will be a blessing to everyone.
Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
The Lord is our Shepherd – this means He is your caretaker. He will be your protector, provider and guide. He will tend to you in every way. He will make sure you lack no good thing. After all, He is Jehovah Jireh – God your provider.
Philippians 4: 19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
I was once asked to look at the journey of life as travelling by a car. How fruitful a journey is depends on the person guiding the way, most importantly, the person on the steering wheel. One wrong turn could mean you are lost and have come to a dead-end. A reckless driver could cause an accident and may even kill themselves. Who is the driver of your life? Just give the steering wheel to Jesus. He will guide your steps.
1 Samuel 2:9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
Sheep don’t have to worry about their own well being. They are taken care of. However, their well-being depends on who the Shepherd is. We all come to crossroads in life or a fork in the road. We feel like the decision is in our hands, and often we get confused in such situations. It is better to leave it up to the Lord to direct our paths. I have to remind myself about this many times and all the Lord says is, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
When I am confused or lost about anything I hang on to the following verse:
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
So who is your Shepherd, your Guide and Lord of your life?
Psalm 23: 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
Green pastures have always signified prosperity, fruitfulness and contentment. That is where God wants to lead you. He wants to give you the best. All we have to do is make the Lord our Shepherd. How do we do that? We pray and seek Him. We read and obey His word. Reminds me of:
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man, Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
The benefits of letting the Lord lead and take on the steering wheel of your life is more than the world could ever offer. The world entices us and tries to convince us how beautiful it is and how dull a Christian’s life can be. I walked down that road and almost went astray to be lost forever. But this Shepherd of mine sought me and pulled me back in His love. Now, don’t get me wrong I am not providing a way for you to become a billionaire. Even billionaires can be the most unsatisfied people in the world. I am talking about contentment. That He will provide your needs so that all may see, marvel and know that He is your God. He will be glorified in you and through you and not let you roam around begging in want. For those who obey this is the blessing:
Deuteronomy 28:9 “The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. 10 Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the LORD will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.
So if He is the leader, the one guiding your life, He will lead you into green pastures.
“Still waters” – I did not realise the significance of this until recently. He is the Lord who calms the storms. When the waters around us are unsettled, He orders the waters to become still. He leads us out of chaos and into peace.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 16: 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
So when you are surrounded by chaos, hold on to Him for He will lead you to the still waters. 🙂
Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness, For His name’s sake.
What is your soul? The soul is a combination of one’s intellect, will and emotion. In this journey we call life, there are so many things around us that wear us down mentally, physically and emotionally. Sometimes we try and steer our life according to to our ways and end up getting torn apart. Our soul is damaged in the process. Are you broken-hearted, depressed, lost, confused, lonely, vulnerable, suicidal, etc? These are signs of a broken soul. But the good news is Jesus restores our soul. Another major thing I have learnt about over the years is soul ties. This is nothing, but binding your soul to a person. In other words, giving them access and right to influence your intellect or mind, will and emotion. This is very much like when you are romantically involved with someone. But a soul tie with the wrong person could damage your soul. Soul ties could be with anyone, not necessarily a lover, it could be a friend or even a family member. Wrong soul ties can most certainly break you or harm your soul. So here in these four words – “He restores my soul” – is a promise that He will heal you. So just allow Him to work in you. I have heard so many say, how do I get over him/her, thoughts about him/her haunt me, etc. If you have similar questions about relationships in your life that don’t mend no matter what you try, REMEMBER: HE RESTORES YOUR SOUL
Now let’s take a look at, “He leads me in the paths of righteousness, For His name’s sake.”
Oh so righteousness is something God wants from me so that He may be glorified. What does this mean? Righteousness is not something I can work for or earn on my own. God leads me to the path of righteousness. So is He leading or are you running astray?
One may ask, “What is righteousness?” It is obedience to God’s commands. But remember one thing:
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
So if we are all unrighteous anyways, what is our hope? Now I direct you to the cross of Christ where our sins are washed away.
Matthew 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Have you sinned? If you say no, the Bible says you are lying. Maybe you don’t even know or remember if you sinned back when you were a child. We all have sinned and the only way to wipe the sins away is the Cross of Christ and the Blood that He shed for us. So what you waiting for? If you haven’t ever asked Him to wash away your sins, do it now. For He leads us onto paths of righteousness.
Psalm 23:4 Yea, 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
What is worse than facing death? Your own death or the death of a loved one? Nothing is as painful as facing death and more so the death of someone you care about. Death, an ultimatum. Death came into the world as a result of sin. If we look back at:
Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
So, if Adam and Eve disobeyed God, death would come into the world. Do you think otherwise?
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
So here we go, they disobeyed God and that’s how death came in. With death, the fear of death and many other evils. But God did not want us to perish. For the body will die since it was established that man would die if Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had allotted the punishment of eternal damnation for all those who disobeyed. It was initially for satan and all those who disobeyed him and rebelled against God. It was not made for humans. But since we disobeyed and became rebels automatically we come under the damnation meant for satan. However, thank God for He has saved our soul and spirit from eternal damnation by the cross of Christ. It is done and if you have not accepted it before or feel you need to reaffirm your belief, now is a good time!
In this verse, people often associate “the rod and the staff” with chastisement or punishment. Wait a moment! We are talking about a good Shepherd not one who beats up his sheep silly, till they want to run away or just die. We are talking of the Shepherd who cares, comforts, guides and most of all PROTECTS! The verse says the rod and the staff comfort us. How? Because we are safe. The rod and the staff are to drive away all wild animals and thieves who want to steal, kill and destroy us. Remember, we have an enemy. Don’t get comfortable living outside the Shepherd’s protection. There are many who want to harm you. Stay in and reap the benefits of a protected, peaceful and comfortable life. When I say enemies I don’t talk about other men or women. For our enemies are not of flesh and blood, but that of spiritual powers of darkness, cosmic powers, rulers of the air or demons, and spiritual strongholds. These influence human beings around us and work through them. So if someone is troubling you, it is not them, but these evil forces working in them and through them.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
His “rod and staff” have truly been my comfort, especially the last one and half years. Actually, when I look back I can say it has always been my comfort. Ever since I made my commitment to make Him my one and only Master and Saviour. From people and their condemning tongues to false teachers to huge boulders thrown by protesters to bullets of an AK 47 to nightmares and other evil things, He protected me from being slain or even hurt.
The rod and the staff is God’s Word filled with the power of the Holy Spirit that glorifies Jesus. It is His very Word spoken to us leading us on a path of faith, truth, and holiness. It stirs up the complacent, brings back the prodigal backsliders, and preserves those who follow Him faithfully from wolves or false teachers. Through His word, He speaks to us, and by the power of His presence and the leading of His voice we are protected, comforted and satisfied whether in the darkest valley or the greenest pasture. Fear has no place in my life. If I fear something then I am not trusting God. So, don’t fear anything, which causes one to stray away from God.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
No matter how life is today,
Let Jesus in you, have His way,
He will restore double-fold,
He heals cancer and even cold,
When you’re alone or with many,
In joy and when you’re melancholy,
Trust in Him with all your heart,
You will surely not fall apart,
If you did not trust and are in dismay,
It is not late to turn around your way,
In brokenness, lean not on your very own wisdom,
Look to Him, He will supply the riches of His Kingdom.
Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Ever felt like you were ashamed when you were going through a bad time and your enemies mocked and gawked at you? I have. People have said some nasty things about me, from ‘all she is good for is to be a nun’ to ‘she will never be anything great’. Being a woman, I have felt put down in a lot of areas until God gave me a chance and lifted me up. If you are down at the moment wait on the Lord to lift you up. He will do it in the right time. For those who believe in Jesus, wait on Him, for He is our promoter and not any human being.
Psalm 75:6-7 For exaltation comes neither from the east. Nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.
Sometimes we feel like others who are wicked get ahead of us. But the question is for how long? The blessings that come from God last an eternity, run after them and not what people or the world thinks is treasure. For the things that we desire from this world are carnal and can be destroyed any day. Don’t settle down for less. God wants to bless you with much greater.
Luke 12:32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
So what is all this about? It basically means don’t treasure things of this world above the things of God. Do not feel demoted or small when others are richer or promoted. For God is your provider and He will make sure you lack no good thing. If you lack it is because you ask not.
James 4:1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
So you don’t have to prepare yourself a promotion or strive for things of this world. God will prepare you a table or a feast before all those who are your enemies. So relax and chew the roast chicken slowly or whatever it is you prefer to eat! 🙂 But practically this means all His goodness will be displayed on a table for your enemies to be ashamed of the times they tried to put you down.
Psalm 37: 34-36 Wait on the LORD,And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.I have seen the wicked in great power, And spreading himself like a native green tree. Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.
1 Peter 5:5-6 “For not he who promotes himself is approved, but whom the Lord promotes.”
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time
2 Corinthians 10:18 “For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled. And he who humbles himself shall be promoted.”
Luke 14:11 “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will promote you.”
To humble yourself, is basically to realise that you cannot do anything to achieve all that you desire unless you allow God to reign in you. Realise that only through Him can we truly be exalted and that’s it, all will go well with you. For He prepares the table, you just have to sit down and enjoy all that He lays out for you and bear all the fruits of trusting Him.
A lot of times in scripture, oil pertains to the Holy Spirit. To be anointed is to be chosen as a leader and given power and authority. That’s what the Lord does for us, He gives us authority. But not just that, it is more than we can contain. It flows and overflows out of us, and all around. We are the carriers of the presence of God so that His glory is revealed in us and through us and all around us. Yay!!! This is getting me all pumped up.
For He has given us authority, He has anointed us and chosen us. Get up, rise up, let your light shine all you saints of God! For He does not want us to be dry and dull, but filled with springs of living water that we thirst no more. To live an extraordinary life full of power and excitement. Jesus said, “I came to give you life and life in abundance.” Is your life very ordinary? Well it was supposed to be extraordinary. Seek and you will find is all I can say. For it is either the world or Jesus – you have to choose. You cannot have a foot in the world and a foot in Jesus. You will neither enjoy the world nor Jesus. Choose a wholly devoted life in Jesus and trust me, you will surely lead an adventurous life! An anointed life, where breakthrough, healings, deliverance and all that comes through the power of God will happen all around you. An exciting, fulfilling, powerful life. What are you waiting for?
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever
When life your life is like its falling downward and nothing seems to help you make it better, it is hard to believe that God’s goodness and mercy is with us, if we try to rationalise things by our human mind. Yes, we will go through trials, persecution, times of being low in the dark pit, etc. But it doesn’t mean God has left us. I can testify that especially in those times, the moment I lifted my voice to praise Him and thank Him, He would go before me and bring down the Jericho walls. If we just stand before the walls and wonder how they would go down, they won’t! Have you inquired of God of how to fight your battles? Sorry for straying off, but I have been led to tell you that at your worst, God is still best. Be still and know that He is God. He reigns on the throne even when you feel like you are at total loss.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
This is what happens to people who wait on God/love Him:
Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
1 Corinthians 2:9 Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
God tests us surely I would say its true. For we can trust Him, but can He trust us? Why the tree in the Garden of Eden? God was testing Adam. We all are tested, but surely God has promised good things. And it will be passed in your life since God is not a liar. Wait on Him, love Him, your reward will be far greater than you can even imagine. For just a little while and all the things of this world will pass away, but He who does the will of God will have everlasting life.
1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever
Goodness and mercy are yours to keep if you surrender to the Lord and make Him Shepherd, the controller of your life, the King, the Ruler, The Authority and most of all your Lord and Master. It sounds easy, but all the sacrifices, trials, persecutions and troubles are nothing compared to our reward in heaven. So hang in there all you who trust in Him.
Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Lastly, I leave you with this message from the Word of God:
Revelation 7:13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.[c] And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
The Shepherd became our sacrificial Lamb. We owe Him so much!