27 July

The series through Psalms continues this week as King David (who was once a shepherd) now puts into poetic song his personal experience of the Lord being his shepherd…

READ PSALM 23  Make notes of what stands out for you. Feel free to use the “Leave a Comment” box below to also write some of your thoughts.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

Today’s Psalm is perhaps the most well-known of all the Psalms. It’s been adapted and used in modern worship songs and used often at funerals today. But I noticed something in the Book of Exodus a couple of years back and it’s changed my perspective in a permanent way.

After having been ‘redeemed’ out of slavery and saved from a life that almost certainly led to early death, about two million Israelites left ancient Egypt and became a nation under God. It was the beginnings of a People Group who were to be set apart from the world to follow God wherever He led them. After telling them to celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first-fruits and the Festival of Ingathering, the Creator God immediately goes on to say this:

“See, I am sending My angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. Pay attention to him, listen to what he says and obey his voice. Do not rebel against him; for he will not forgive your rebellion (transgression/sin), since My Name is in him. If you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will…”[a]

This is a hugely important statement that the Creator God is making here. For a God whose first commandment states that there is to be no other gods except Him, this passage in Exodus holds a significant clue from the past that the Creator God is not working alone. There is someone out there who has His name IN him[b] – it’s inside him or part of his DNA. There’s someone out there that we’re to listen to and truly obey His voice.[c]  while at the same time, do all what God’s says. So in an unbelievable way, this sentence shows that the Creator is using this person’s voice and God’s own instructions interchangeably – his voice is equal to God’s Word.[d]  There’s someone out there who has been given authority to judge whether or not to forgive us[e]  if we rebel against His lead. In every way, this person is a SHEPHERD[f]  who is now leading God’s sheep on a 40-year journey through the wilderness of this life, and on into our final destination of the sheep pen – the place that Father God has prepared in advance for His people to go.[g]

Jesus said, “I Am the good shepherd; a good shepherd will lay down His life for the sheep…I Am the good shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me. Just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father, I will now lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also. They will hear My voice and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”[h]

And so today, I agree with King David of old: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…”

THE LORD’S PRAYER:

  1. Praise: “Our Father in Heaven, how great is Your name. Your Kingdom come! Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…”
Because, Lord, Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips will praise You. I will lift up my hands in Your name and I’ll bless You as long as I live! [Psalm 63:3-4]
  1. Ask: “…Give us today our daily bread…”
–          The world: Pray for the suicide rate in Japan
–          Your nation: Homeless and poverty in your community
–          Yourself: Your “daily bread”.
–          Your concerns for today
Thank-you God for being able to do immeasurably more beyond all I ask or think, according to Your power at work in us. To You, Lord, be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations forever and ever. [Ephesians 3:20-21]
  1. Admit: “…Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us…”
Yes, I admit it and can’t hide it, I have sinned against You, O Lord God. [Joshua 7:20]
  1. Protect: “… Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one…”
Thank-you Lord that You are able to establish me according to Your Good News and the preaching of Jesus Christ, and by the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for ages long past… to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be glory forever. [Romans 16:25,27]

“For Yours Lord is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory for ever and ever. Amen!”

THIS WEEK’S MEMORY VERSE: Topic = God’s Word

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” [James 1:22]

[a] Exodus 23:20-22a

[b] Isaiah 9:6

[c] John 10:3-4

[d] John 1:1,2&14

[e] Matthew 9:1-8

[f] John 10:11

[g] John 14:2-3

[h] John 10:11,14-16

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