We live in a time that we need a Deliverer. We need a Savior. From the beginning of time, Yahweh knew we would need Him. He knew we were unable to stand up on our own to the struggles and pains of this life. We were not created to understand pain, sickness, loneliness, and heartache. Yahweh created us for worship, to know and be known by the Most Holy God. We were designed to live in His presence: to be entirely whole for the glory of His kingdom. Jesus created us for a relationship with Him, and we are at our best when we walk with God just as Enoch and David did. Only as the Godhead lives in relation, we were created for relationship with Him. Even still, life is hard. He knows. He restores.
I learned what it was to find my source of help and deliverance from my mom. She knew where to run to when life was hard.. and she knew that life could be difficult. She never complained. I was so blown away by this. She just quietly found her place in His pasture for He restored her soul.
When I found myself in a place of pain and hopelessness, I have seen His presence to be where I try to stay. He has proven Himself to be my Savior and my Shepherd. I desire to follow for only in His presence do I find my purpose and life. Jesus alone can restore our lives to wholeness. Life is found alone in Him!
What His Word says. Psalm 23
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. — Ps 23:1-3
His plan of restoration, which was formed before the foundation of the world, is to restore everything back to the beginning, before sin brought about its rewards, such as illness, pain, suffering, and death. We were never meant to deal with this. The word restores in the Hebrew means, “שׁוּב shûwb, shoob; a prim. root; to turn back (hence, away) trans. or intrans., lit. or fig. (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); “He restores what the enemy attempts to steal. (Strongs)
Jesus, not only “makes me lie down in green pastures”, the wording here states, we will lie down in luxuriant pastures. Keep in mind; this passage described was in the desert. He will guide us through all things, which He can use for our good. He will bring us still waters. Yes, as the sheep of His pasture, He will lead us to where we need to heal. He will find where the waters are still. Sheep have a hard time with moving water.
Not only that, in ancient rural Palestine, the water available was from wells. This water was choice water. Not only bringing an end to thirst, but it also brought refreshment. To keep them hydrated and healthy, the shepherd will stand guard. The sheep are vulnerable with their heads in the water, He protects. This is the kind of care He brings. His living water satisfies and is everlasting.
Not only does He restore us, But He also saves us.
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. — Ps 23:4
When we are walking through “the valley of the shadow of death, we can fear no evil. Just as David walked in intimacy with His God, so can we. Jesus is familiar with all our ways. He understands our sufferings and our pain. He is uniquely acquainted with our needs, and because of this, He brings us comfort. The Hebrew word here for shepherd is Ra ah.
From Strong’s. “7462. רָעָה râʿâh, raw-aw´; a prim. root; to tend a flock, i.e. pasture it; intrans. to graze (lit.) or fig.); gen. to rule; by extens. to associate with (as a friend):—× break, companion, keep company with, devour, eat up, evil entreat, feed, use as a friend, make friendship with, herdsman, keep [sheep] (-er), pastor, + shearing house, shepherd, wander, waste.”
He is our ruler, protector but also our friend.
Jesus is our companion. He is a relational God Who does not let us walk through our pain alone. Not only that, He provides for our salvation. Jesus prepares a feast for us in the midst of our enemies. We may be mourning a loved one’s passing, dealing with a prodigal child, or family strife. All we have to do is open the newspaper or turn on the morning news, and we can find ourselves overwhelmed with anxiety. Thankfully, He is not unaware or unconcerned. Jesus takes care of our every need. We do not want for anything. I am not talking a prosperity gospel argument. But, the joy of our salvation brings the confidence of His loving grace, we can find the will to breathe, to take the next step, even in the midst of high stress and pain.
I have found times of anxiousness. I watched my mom suffer from a debilitating disease. When my son was rushed to the hospital by helicopter. Times of financial difficulties. Life can be stressful and plunge us into a pit of anxiousness. He says in Philippians…
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. — Ps 23:5-7
He refreshes and renews our souls. He causes us to rest. Even in the midst of what I would call terrifying, He brought an indescribable peace, a clear mind and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was with me. He was watching over Trenton, just as I knew when my mom passed, that He was a present and real comfort. He remains that even now in my grief.
I hold onto this promise found in Isaiah 43:1-3
But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you. — Is 43:1-3
He is my Savior, my Redeemer, and He calls me His own. Jesus calls each one of us, accepted in the Beloved!
My Shepherd prepares a feast for us in the presence, before our enemies. According to tradition, a host is required to protect his guest at all costs. When our Host is Yahweh, we do not have to fear. He is our refuge. When life gets unbearable, and it can and will, He carries us. Just as a Shepherd, He will pick us up when we are unable to walk another step. His compassion, His mercies are new every morning.
It was also tradition to anoint a guest’s head with oil. This eludes to our adoption, our position in His family, His fold. We are of royal lineage, and He calls us a royal priesthood.
My cup overflows.
The Host would provide the best wine for the guest. This wine would be ample and of great quality. It’s richness ‘brings forgetfulness’. (Scholar’s Emilie and Charles Brigg’s stated that This does not refer to being drunk but a drink which makes us glad. The wine is a prophetic reference to the Eucharist, the cup of our redemption and salvation)7 We may never forget the problems and struggles, but the pain will subside, and the pain will be forgotten. When we are at His feet, when we enter into worship, our cups will overflow. And, as Jesus preached, His kingdom has been brought down, brought near. Our cups can overflow now if we would genuinely let Him shepherd us. Eternal life starts now!
Even as I grieve my mom, I have found Him to be faithful. Jesus holds my tears; He comforts me. His Word brings comfort. His mercies are new every morning. My Savior brings words of encouragement from others around me. He surprises me with extra grace to continue when I want to find a place to throw up my arms and quit. Jesus brings sweet rest. He opens my eyes to the sweetness of the world around me and a new appreciation for all those around me. I have a new understanding of His goodness.
Peace will come, now. Hold onto this… goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever… starting now!
- This isn’t an unfamiliar Psalm. Can you name some characteristics of a Shepherd and Sheep?
- Are sheep able to be left alone?
- Are we?
- Jesus is seen in this as the Great Shepherd. What else is He called? How are His attributes on display here?
- Open 1 Samuel 16:1. God does not look at the outward appearance; He looks at our hearts. He sees the beginning from the end, we can take comfort in the fact, He is shepherding us. What does this mean to your life today?
- Have you ever needed to be replenished and restored? What does this Psalm share of His care for us? What does He provide? Where does He lead us? How do His rod and staff bring comfort?
- What kind of hope and strength will He bring us?
- What promise is given in verse 4 regarding the seasons of life?
In all of this is a common thread of surrender. My mom surrendered her life to Him, even in her great pain and suffering. I have found strength as I am yielding my heart, He guides me from mourning to beauty in my walk. How are you surrendering your life? Is it easy? Are you finding grace?
- We are promised a great reward when we enter eternity. How does this promise bring peace today?
- In the presence of God, what did David, the inspired writer of Psalm 23, also say in Psalm 16:8? What does Isaiah 43:2 says on the same subject? And Isaiah 41:10?
Want to join the discussion? Join us on facebook in His Beloved Jewels Chat!
How can we pray with you today?