His Rod and His Staff

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.”

Men who are pastors of churches (or what are falsely being called “church”) are supposed to shepherd the people who are underneath them. They are supposed to instruct the people in holy living and in the forsaking of their sins to walk in obedience to the Lord Jesus. And they are to lead them in the ways of righteousness. For they are to be Jesus’ undershepherds who represent him on this earth. But sadly not many of them are doing that.

But there is a shepherd who we can count on to lead us on the right path, and his name is Jesus, who is our chief shepherd. He will lead us in the ways in which we are to go, but we have to listen to him, and then we must obey him. For he can’t lead us if we don’t cooperate with him. He can’t lead us if we stubbornly refuse to be led and we go our own way, instead, which is where many people are today who are professing him as Lord and Savior.

So, what is that proverbial saying? “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” It means that you can lead people to the truth but you can’t force them to apply that truth to their own lives. We all make our own choices in this life for good or for evil, and we are all answerable to God for the choices that we make in this life. So Jesus is our shepherd, but we have to follow (obey) him wherever he leads us, for him to shepherd us.

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.”

Life has its temptations and its trials for sure. The path we are to follow will not always be rosy and filled with sunshine. Some days are going to be really hard. Tears will flow. Emotions will be weak. We will have questions without answers. We won’t know which way to turn, other than we do know which way NOT to turn. And Satan will be attacking us with his arrows, trying to get us to give up hope and to give in to our emotions.

But we are not to give way to fear. We are to believe in the sovereignty of God over all which he has created. We are to believe that God is still on the throne, and that he is in control over all things, and that he is working all things for good for those who love and obey God and who are called according to God’s purpose. And his purpose for us is that we die with him to sin and that we live holy lives in walks of obedience to him (1 Peter 2:24).

So, even though life will hit us hard, at times, and people will be mean to us, and they will reject us, and they will betray us and even plot evil against us in order to attempt to destroy us, we are not to fear them or what they might do to us. For they can do nothing against us unless God allows it. And God will set limits on it, and God will use it for his glory to draw us closer to him, to strengthen us in our walks of faith and to teach us reliance on him.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

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
forever.”

So, if we are living lives separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus, and because we are walking in fellowship with him, those who are following the traditions of men and their cultures and their religious customs, they are not going to understand nor accept us as “one of them,” and we may even be invited to leave.

But, although they reject us and have no need of us nor want of us, the Lord has want of us, and he has something for us to do. And sometimes their rejection of us actually turns out to be a blessing in disguise because then we are free to be who God wants us to be and for God to use us in ways that don’t follow the norms of traditional institutional religion.

For, remember that Jesus didn’t follow the traditions of men nor institutional religious norms, which is one of the reasons that they hated him and rejected him because he didn’t conform to their ways, but he was different. And they didn’t like different. They wanted conformity with them. But we are to conform to Christ and to his word not to the traditions of humans.

And so, in spite of their rejection of us, and their casting us aside as unwanted and not needed by them, if we are willing, and if we will obey, God will delight in using us in ways that are his ways, and in ways we may never have even thought of before, although perfectly in line with the word of God and with the character and divine will of God for our lives.

In other words, where men may slam doors shut in our faces because we don’t conform to them and to their ways – and I am speaking here of people within the church, including pastors and other church leaders. Although they have no use of us, God will anoint us for his service and he will use us in ways he had planned for us from even before the creation of the world.

And God will use us in other people’s lives who are interested in what we have to share, and who want to learn what the Bible teaches, and who are willing to break away from the norms of institutional religion in order to follow Jesus in his ways, and according to his truth. And God will bless the work he is doing in and through our lives for his glory and praise.

And one day soon Jesus is going to return to the earth to judge and then to take us, his bride, to be with him for eternity. But not everyone who professes his name will be with him for eternity. Many who say, “Lord, Lord,” do not honor him as Lord of their lives, and so he will say, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity. I never knew you!” So, don’t be like them, please.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-27; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

When I Was Walking

An Original Work / January 16, 2020

When I was walking along the way,
My Lord was with me, and He did say,
“My child I’m with you. I hear you pray,
‘Oh, help me, Lord! Need You today!’”

He is my friend, near to the end.
Gently leads me. His servant be.
He helps me pray – knows what to say.
He’s all I need. On Him I feed.

When I am wond’ring of what to do,
He gently leads me to what is truth.
He is my helper. He strengthens me.
When I’m in want, supplies my need.

He comforts me with all His love.
Gives me His grace from heav’n above.
I heed His call to watch and pray,
To guard my heart throughout each day.

When He is calling to come to Him,
To let Him lead you, trust Him within,
How will you answer to Him today?
Will you say, “Yes, Lord, have your way”?

Do not neglect to let Him in,
Cleanse you from sin, made new within.
Leave all your sin, obey your Lord,
Trust in His Word – His mighty Sword.

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