Psalms 23:1-3 ESV
“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.”
We have troubles in our lives. We go through difficulties. We have questions sometimes without answers. We are in pain. We suffer. Some things make sense to us. Other things don’t. We need wisdom. We need guidance, but sometimes about things which aren’t talked about specifically in the Scriptures, such as what kind of diet to be on, or how to resolve a particular health issue in a natural way without medication.
So, the encouragement here is that the Lord watches over us. He watches over our every step, and our every situation. He knows everything about us, from the inside out, and so where we don’t have answers for our questions, he does. But sometimes his answer is going to be, “trust me” and “rest in me.” And so we have to just trust him with our situations when we don’t have all the answers, and we have to walk by faith and not by sight.
But the Lord is never going to lead us to something bad for us. He is not going to give us permission to do what is contrary to his word. So, we can’t just say, “I prayed about it, and this is what the Lord said,” if he did not say that, or if what we say he said is in direct contradiction to the teachings of his word. If someone gives us biblical counsel in a matter, we can’t just turn around and say, “Well, I will see what the Lord says to me.”
For the Lord leads us in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. He is not going to give us permission to sin against him or to ignore his commands or to not submit to him as Lord. He is not going to give us a different answer from what his word says. So, he is not going to tell you that you don’t have to obey him or that you don’t have to repent of your sins. He is not going to tell you that you don’t have to do any works at all. You do!
For, the Lord is going to lead us in the way of holiness, uprightness, honesty, moral purity, and uprightness. For he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died to deliver us from our slavery to sin so that we might become slaves of God and of his righteousness. And He teaches us to forsake our lives of sin and to follow him in obedience to his ways, according to his commands.
Psalms 23:4 ESV
“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.”
So, when we are going through these difficult times when we don’t have answers for all our questions, we are not to be afraid of the unknown. And we are not to be afraid of the known, either, or of what people are saying is happening, or what they are predicting is going to happen. For, our government heads and our news media and even some social media memes are famous for fear mongering. But we must not fear what they fear!
And when we are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and when we have evil people coming against us, and speaking evil against us to others, we must not fear what they might do to us or say about us. For we have no control over what others say about us, and we have minimal control over what they might do to us. But this is not to say that we should then retreat. We have to keep doing the will of God no matter how people treat us.
The other thing about this is that we need to understand that we live in perilous times like the Bible told us would happen. Liars and deceivers abound. Anything can be faked or doctored to look like something it isn’t. We cannot trust what most people tell us these days, especially if they are politicians, government heads, or the news media, and sadly even if they are pastors of churches (or what is falsely called “church”).
So, a lot of what they are telling us is not the truth, or it is a combination of truth and lies intended to deceive and to manipulate naïve minds. So, honestly, we should be examining everything we see or think we see and everything we hear or read, and in prayer, and in the reading of God’s Word, and we need to be praying for much discernment in these troubled times so that we don’t end up believing the lies and end up rejecting the truth.
Psalms 23:5-6 ESV
“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
If we are truly following the Lord Jesus with our lives with wholehearted devotion to him, and if we are in tune with his Spirit, and if we are students of the Scriptures (studied in context) and we are listening to the voice of the Lord speaking truth to our hearts, he is going to lead us in the way that he would have us to go, which is the way of holiness and righteous living. And he is going to lead us to do his calling upon our lives, as well.
But then we will have enemies because Satan will be against us because we are following the Lord and we are doing his will and we are making an impact in this world for his gospel and for the salvation of lives and for the spiritual maturity of the saints of God. And so Satan will come against us, and people who are following Satan, even though they may profess faith in Jesus, will also come against us to attack us and to harm us.
But despite what others think of us or say about us or how they may treat us or ignore us, the Lord is still going to use us in other people’s lives for his praise and for his glory. So, we can’t work for the Lord to get the praise of humans, for then we are doing it for the wrong reasons, and also we may get treated with contempt, instead. So, we must serve the Lord because he loves us and he has called us and because we love him.
And God is going to bless our obedience. He will honor us when humans don’t. He will recognize what we are doing for his glory and in obedience to him when humans don’t, or when they chide us, instead. For he is the one who called us and who anointed us for his service, and so he is going to provide all that we need to do what he has called us to do. And he is going to use us in other people’s lives in ways that only he can do, so he gets all the glory and praise, and not us.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-21; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13]
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!