“Pray Psalm 23” The Battle Plan: Week 5 (Psalm 23)

Todd Gray February 6, 2018 The Battle Plan

Psalm 23  / February 4th, 2018 / Todd Gray

Psalm 23 is a beautiful song to God where David describes how he follows God as the Good Shepherd and trusts Him as the eternal father. Even though this psalm was written thousands of years ago, we can pray the same prayer today.

  1. As you Journey Toward Heaven, Pray to the LORD for Contentment (Psalm 23:1-4)
  2. Pray to the LORD, you Hospitable Host and Find Security (Psalm 23:5-6)

 

Sermon Transcript:

Amen. If you have your Bibles this morning, I’m loving having you turn with me to Psalm 23. You know where it’s at. You probably know it without even turning there, but go ahead and turn it there. As we go to Psalm 23, you know sometimes in your life when you look at a thing or a place at one point, and then you come back to it later, the thing or the place didn’t change, but it seems completely different to you because of your perspective? This happens to us with places all the time.
For example, if you grew up going somewhere to some place as a child, maybe a room, a house, and then later after your childhood and into adulthood you go to the same place, that same room or that same house. The house didn’t change maybe the room didn’t change at all, but it looks completely different to you. Maybe it’s much smaller than you originally realized. It’s not because it changed. It’s because of your perspective that changed.
Artists play with our minds all the time with pictures that help us understand perspective. Let’s look at this first picture here. When you first look at this picture, what do you see? You see a bird holding this poor mouse in its mouse. But let’s look at it from a different perspective. Let’s turn it upside down. Now all of a sudden you see a mouse in a boat with a big fish underneath it facing an island. The picture didn’t change at all. What changed? Your perspective.
Let’s look at this next one. Do you see the word love? Okay. Now do you see the word hate? Some of you are like, “I don’t see anything.” We’re just going to try to open up your perspective this morning. For the rest of you, I want to help you change it a little bit.
We come to Psalm 23. You’ve been looking at Psalm 23 probably for one way your whole life. If you’ve been a believer for years, you have been looking at it this one way for years, maybe even looking at it the same way for decades. What we’re not going to do this morning is change the Psalm. The truth that’s in Psalm 23 has been the same for thousands of years, and after we’re gone and buried and not here anymore, it’ll be the same for thousands more. All I want to do this morning is help broaden your perspective of Psalm 23 so it becomes fresh and new again.
Psalm 23 for most of you is related to death. Why? Because you only hear it at a funeral. I want to expand your perspective and help you to see that Psalm 23 is way more about life and those who are living than it is about death. For years, you’ve looked at it one way. Let’s look at that truth a new way.
There’s one major theme that we find in Psalm 23, and we look at it in two different ways this morning. We see number one, rest in the Lord. We see rest in the Lord, defining rest in the Lord as our shepherd, and then starting in verse 5 and 6 we see how we can have rest in the Lord as our eternal host.
Let’s read it together. Stand with me. Psalm 23. If you’re reading out of the NASB, you can probably read along with me, or if you have it memorized you can just quote it with me. Verse 1, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Amen. You may be seated.
Church, we can pray with David as in Psalm 23 for the Lord to provide rest, contentment, and eternal security. Now the perspective that I want to help broaden for you this morning is that I want you to take this Psalm with you into the prayer closet. Some of you are probably wondering right now, “Okay. I get Psalm 23. I’ve heard it. I’m willing to have my perspective broadened, but how am I going to take this Psalm into the prayer closet?” Well, I want to help you this morning. The same way that you take any passage of scripture with you into the prayer closet.
Number one, you must read it. We just did that. Number two, you must understand it. That’s what we’re going to spend the rest of our time doing together is understanding it. Then once you have read it and understand it, not only will you be able to apply it to your life, but then you’ll be able to put yourself into it. Not like you’re the main character of Psalm 23. That’s God. You’re not even the main objective there. In fact, you’re not even in Psalm 23. David’s the one that’s speaking it, but the truth that we find from Psalm 23, if you could look at God like David looks at God in this Psalm, this will change your prayer life. This will help you in your prayer life.
Let’s start by understanding the first four verses. Psalm 23 verses 1 through 4 is why we call this the Shepherd Psalm. I want you to look at this Psalm and these four verses and think about as you journey towards heaven with the Lord as your shepherd, you can also pray for the Lord to give you contentment. Really what you’re going to see in this Psalm in these first four verses is how to find rest in the Lord, but once you learn how to rest in the Lord instead of trying so hard on your own, that’s going to bring you something that’s all too allusive to you, which is this word contentment.
Most of you are striving for contentment, but you never find it because you’re trying to find it in what the world offers. I want to tell you, that cup will always be empty and you’ll never achieve it. But if you would, like David, turn to the Lord and find no want in this world from it but find everything in this world from God and the contentment comes to you, it’s only because rest has been given to you by him.
David says, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Now, when you think of Psalm 23 and you hear, “the Lord is my shepherd,” it should be comforting, but sometimes we take that image of the Lord as our shepherd a little too gently. We look at God like some kind of gentle nursemaid, and all he does, like a baby lamb, is feeds us from his bottle our whole life, and it’s almost like we see God as this weak shepherd. I want to tell you, God is anything but a weak shepherd. He’s a loving and merciful shepherd when you need it, yes, but he’s also powerful, mighty, to be feared both by you and especially your enemies.
This is how David, the Psalmist writer, looks at what it means to be a shepherd. See, in the eastern countries even to today, rulers for thousands of years as they’re ruling their people, they look at it like a shepherd. They say, “I’m shepherding my people.” Sometimes they’ve providing for them, and they’re guiding them, and they’re waiting over them, but at other times they have a killer instinct because they have to fight off the wolves and the enemies from destroying their sheep. This is God, your shepherd.
David for example as he was talking to King Saul, basically giving him a resume. Saul was looking at him like he was a little too short and weak to be fighting Goliath. David told Saul that he was a shepherd and that sometimes a shepherd has to go out there in defense of the sheep and get rowdy, to get violent, to be aggressive in the protection of his own. Let’s not look at God like this only gentle nursemaid, but for who he really is.
Also, I want you to see in this passage of scripture that the sheep are on a journey. Sometimes because of the green pasture and still water comments we think that maybe the sheep are in some kind of enclosure and all they do is lay around all day. No. That may be what your sheep do. Your sheep probably don’t do that. They wander around a little bit themselves. But 2,000 years ago, sheep were always on the move. They were always following their shepherd, so therefore it applies to your life. You’re on a journey yourself to the celestial city in a place called heaven. If you want to have success on that journey and protection from your enemies, you don’t just lie around and wait for heaven to show up. You must actively follow the shepherd. This is going to help you. You’re on a journey. Sheep are always on a journey.
I also want you to see that God is the one doing the heavy lifting in this passage. There is no room or I would say maybe very little room in Psalm 23 for this American concept of just pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and accomplishing everything that you need to get to heaven on your own. That’s an American idea. That’s not a Christian idea. Christianity is not a trail to be blazed. It’s not a new frontier to be conquered. Christianity is a narrow path where you simply must put your feet into the footprints of Christ who has gone before you and blazed the trail on your behalf. What I’m telling you is that Christianity is more about dependence on God than it is about independence.
We’re so focused on independence as Americans, and on one hand that’s good, but it hurts you in passages like this where it’s not about you. It’s not about your success. It’s not about capitalism. It’s not about prosperity. It’s about serving God and seeing him for who he is. Then all these other things can make more sense to you. God is the one doing the work. If the Lord is your shepherd, the first thing that you must see if this Psalm is going to help you, if you’re ever going to take it into your prayer closet, if that you must have a total dependence on God. If you have a total dependence on God, you will find rest in him, he will give you contentment, and then you can say with all integrity, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” Or maybe you would say in another translation, “The Lord is my guide. The Lord is my everything, and in him I shall lack nothing.”
Now when I tell you you will lack noting if the Lord is your shepherd, I’m not telling you that the Lord will give you all of your greeds. I’m telling you the Lord will provide for you all of your needs. Everything that you need, he will provide. Or maybe I should say it like this. Everything he provides is all that you need. Whatever he gives, that’s enough. If you’re following him, and you’re seeking his face, and you’re coming to him daily for your provision, whatever he gives, guess what that is? Enough. In fact, with the proper perspective, it’s more than enough as you’ll hear from David again and again and again.
There’s two things here that are going to help your prayer life, and this hurts us tremendously as American Christians. Number one, you must ask. God wants to hear his children ask him for things. But then also, you must not be selfish. There’s a problem in prayer. How many of you, don’t raise your hand, would say, “That’s probably one of my two biggest problems in prayer right there”? “One, I don’t even ask.” How many of you don’t even approach God is prayer? You never ask, and you wonder why you don’t have. But then the rest of you, so many of us, this is true of my life. I’m not just pointing at you. It’s me. When I ask, I’m only asking for selfish reasons, that I may get what God gives me and just use it on myself.
“Pastor, where are you getting this information?” Well, divine revelation from James chapter 4. James chapter 4, verse 2, it says, “You lust and you do not have.” In other words, you want all these things in this world but you don’t have them. What do you do? “You commit murder.” That’s pretty bold. “You’re envious and you cannot obtain what you want, so you fight and you quarrel. But yet do you not have.” Why? “Because you do not have because you do not ask God.” You say, “Okay, I get it. Check, I must ask God.” But he’s not done there. Look at verse 3. “You ask and you do not receive what you ask for, because you ask with wrong motives so that you may spend what you get on yourself.”
Church, we pray to the Lord, and then whatever we get from him, we need to be content with that, because whatever the Lord gives is exactly what you need. If you see God as this kind of God, you’ll walk through life and you will be able to say with honestly and integrity, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still or the quiet waters.” What David is talking about here is rest in the Lord. It’s not selfish. It’s depending on God for everything. When he depends on God for everything, God gives him all that he needs and even more than he needs. But you have to remove this image of knee high grass that this sheep is just laying around in, like it doesn’t even have to get up. It just sits there and gnaws, getting fatter. Yeah, that’s the kind of life. No.
You go to Israel today, it’s been done the same way for thousands of years. You want to find the sheep? You’re not going to find this luscious grass around a lake. You might, but it’s very few and far between. You know where you’re going to find the sheep in Midbar, the wilderness? You’re going to find them on the hillsides. You’re going to look at the sheep on the hillsides and you’re going to wonder to yourself, “What are they eating? Rocks?”
Listen. Green pastures is misunderstood by you. Green is obviously referring to grass. We can get that, because it’s nourished and it’s healthy. But the word pasture here in Hebrew is the word navah. You know what it means? It doesn’t mean to sit. It means to wander, like to wander around. It means to be nomadic. Now, if a sheep was sitting around or laying around in this luscious grass pen in your mind, why would it be wandering? Why would it be looking? Why would it be nomadic? It wouldn’t be.
I watched a video by RVL Ministries, a guy named Ray Vander Laan, and it started to make a lot more sense to me even understanding the Hebrew. When you look in Israel today, you look off at a hillside that is rocky, it’s hilly, and it’s more like a desert than it is the luscious alfalfa behind your house today, even if you have that. We haven’t had very good rain lately. Here’s what the shepherds do. They lead their sheep along the hillside that got moisture on it the night before. Although it just looks like rocks to you, the closer you get where the moisture collected in the ground, in between those rocks, you know what you’ll find? Many times all along the path, you find these little tufts of grass. That’s the green pastures. That’s where the Lord is going to take you to. As that sheep travels along following the shepherd, it eats this tuft of grass, and it goes a little further, eats that tuft of grass.
Wouldn’t you know it, all along the way throughout the day, the provision is given to the sheep, not just enough, but more than enough, but just for that day. The sheep and the shepherd, they wake up the next day and what do they do? The shepherd leads, and the sheep follow, and there’s more little tufts of grass. There’s more little green pastures that satisfies them all the day long. Now that sounds a lot more like the God that we were introduced to in the Lord’s Prayer, doesn’t it? For example, when you’re praying about your needs in the Lord’s Prayer, what do you say? “Give us this day our daily bread.” Not bread that you store up for a week or two or a month. It’s daily bread, like the manna in the wilderness. God gives the manna for one day, not two days, one day. Then tomorrow you have to wake up, and look to heaven, and ask the Lord for more manna. This is what it means to be in green pastures.
I hope that helps you, because it helps me. It’s not sitting around. It’s following. It’s not laying, eating alfalfa, just laying there lazy. I’m following the shepherd and he gives me just enough, more than enough day by day all of my days long.
Still waters, it’s the same concept. The shepherd leads you to it and you find satisfaction in it. It’s about provision. It’s about rest in the Lord because of is provision. In Israel, there’s not a lot of lakes surrounded by luscious green grass, but they have a rainy season and they have a dry season. Do you know that people even die from being drowned, because when the rainy season comes, the water rushes by and it carries many people downstream, livestock, and animals, and humans alike. “The Lord is my shepherd. He leads me to the grass that I need and the waters that are safe for me that won’t kill me.”
What David is trying to show you here is that the Lord is the provider. What you are is the follower. The bottom line, the Lord will lead you to more than you need, and what you need he provides if you follow him. In him you will find rest for your weary soul, contentment for your longing heart, and satisfaction that your whole life long has probably escaped you if you don’t see God like this.
Now we’re ready to move on to verse 3. With this context of the Lord being our provider and finding rest in him, then David goes on to say, “He restores my soul, and he guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Again, it’s a journey. It’s a daily journey. But this restoration of the soul also contributes to the rest of the soul or finding rest and contentment in him. This word for restoration has the idea of repairing a broken relationship. Another word for restoration in the Old Testament would be to repent, to turn away from one thing and to turn to another. This restoration of the soul comes by repentance of sin and recognizing where you’ve gone astray.
Now this happens in two ways for a Christian. Number one, in salvation. To repent of your sin and to believe in Christ is what it means to be saved. But then it also happens on a daily basis, not for eternal forgiveness, but of repairing this broke relationship, just like the Lord’s Prayer said, of repairing this broken relationship that happens in your life because sin is always doing what? Knocking at your door, even as a believer. You have your soul restored through repenting of your sin and trusting in Christ, because he’s the one that paid the penalty for your sin. If he restores your soul, he leads you in paths of righteousness, remember, for his name’s sake.
Now, this path of righteousness is the right path, but it’s also the right path that brings honor and glory to his name, because it’s the path, if you’re following him, that he wants you on. He will bring honor to his name. In other words, he will prove to you and those who are observing your life that he’s true to his name, and faithful and just is he. This is who God is. If you continue to follow him, he will prove his faithfulness to you. If you continue to follow him, he will prove that he is righteous. If other people observe you, your life will prove to them that he is faithful and true to you. What does he get? The glory. What do you get? The rest of your weary soul.
I want you to think of rest for a second. I’ve been mentioning it a lot in my sermon up to this point. I want you to understand what I mean by finding rest in the Lord. I don’t mean finding rest in the Lord like you’re taking a break because you’re exhausted. No. When I say rest in the Lord, I mean you find your wholeness, you find your completeness, you find your satisfaction in him alone.
Think about the Lord when he was creating the heavens and the earth. What did he do on the seventh day? He rested. Was it because he was exhausted? No. God doesn’t get exhausted. He rested because the job that he came to do was done. It was complete. As you are a follower of Christ, you find your wholeness and your completeness in him. This is what it means to find rest in the Lord. “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He leads me in paths of righteousness,” just like he leads me to the still waters, just like he leads me to the green tufts of grass or the green pastures.
So far we’ve discussed daily contentment in following him and trusting in the direction that he takes you. This is good, isn’t it, church? Can’t you see applying this to your prayer life? We’re going to get to that in a second, but here’s my next question. What about when it gets tough? What about when it gets real hard? I’m not just talking about looking for tufts of grass among a hilly, rocky, desert like environment. I’m talking about when it’s the darkest moment of your life, the lowest of the low. You’re like, “I can’t get no longer unless I were to be dead.” What about in that season of your life?
David has something to say for that too. What does he say? “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.” Another translation here of the valley of the shadow of death could be dark canyon. There’s many of these in Israel. Sometimes the shepherd, if he needs to get from point A to point B, he has to go through a dark canyon, and in that dark canyon the air’s not moving as well. It gets hot in Israel. It gets real hot in that dark canyon. But not only do the sheep have to go through that, but because the sheep are there, guess who else shows up to the dark canyon? Since there’s prey there, predators show up as well. Therefore, this dark canyon can quickly turn into a valley of death. But remember, even though the sheep are in this dark canyon, they’re not lost. Why? Because David says, “You are with me.”
Church, I don’t know what your dark canyon is. I don’t know what the valley of the shadow of death is for you. Maybe you’ve already walked through some of it and you find yourself still there today. Maybe it’s the lose of a loved one, maybe a child, a father, a mother, a sister, or a brother, and you would say, “That’s the darkest time of my life.” Maybe for you it’s the lose of a job that defined who you are, and the money, and the position, and the power are gone. Maybe it’s a spouse that you put your whole life invested into, and they finally flee from you, and your heart’s broke. That’s the darkest valley of your life.
Hear me. Whatever that dark valley is, you don’t have to fear evil in it because God is with you. God was there before you entered the valley. God may have been the one to bring you to the valley. He’s with you while you walk through the valley, and he just might be the only one waiting for you on the other side of it, even if the other side of it is heaven. Church, your biggest struggle probably if you’re walking through a dark valley of your life is that you push everybody else away because you feel like you’re alone. That’s the biggest lie. You’re not alone. Not only are there probably other Christians who are going through that dark valley at the same time as you or maybe they’ve already gone through it just like you, but even if there’s nobody else, which is not true, if there’s nobody else that’s ever gone through a valley that’s so dark as you’re walking through, you are not alone, because God is with you. If God is with you, that’s the greatest comfort you could ever ask for. You don’t have to fear evil, because his rod and his staff, they bring comfort to you.
Who’s doing the heavy lifting in the valley, church? God is. Not you. It’s not you putting on the backpack of your burden and just trying a little bit harder. No. It’s taking off the backpack of your burden and saying, “God, you carry it. I can’t do it anymore.” God is doing the heavy lifting in the valley. David doesn’t say, “My staff and my rod, they comfort me and protect me.” No. It says, “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
what is a staff? It’s just a walking stick for a shepherd. Some of them today lean on it when they’re tired. God doesn’t need to lean on it. He doesn’t get tired. But other times a shepherd will use the neck of that walking stick, shaped like a candy cane, and they’ll grab some wayward sheep that are going off the path and they’ll pull them back in. Sometimes they even got to give them a little tap, a little love tap. When they get out of line, they keep them in line. You should be thankful to the Lord that he loves you enough to discipline you when you get off the track.
What about the rod? The rod’s not like a walking stick. In fact, it’s shaped more like a weapon or a mace. He didn’t walk with it in his hand. He put it on his belt. The shepherd would use the rod when the enemies would approach, attacking and killing his sheep. That rod had the capacity to deliver death blows to the enemy of the shepherd who are trying to kill the sheep.
Church, you just can’t help but thinking about Christ when I think about the rod and I think about the staff. I realize that God brought me back to him with the staff by way of the rod. Think about it. When God took out the rod of his wrath and he delivered death blows to our enemy, which is sin, where did those death blows land? Upon his son, because Christ became sin for us. He took the death blows of God in your place so that you could be brought back into a right relationship with the Father, that you might find rest in him and contentment for a lifetime.
This would be a good point in the Psalm to talk about, “Pastor, it’s so good. How do I apply this to my prayer life?” Well, I’m glad you asked. I want to help you with that for a second. Here’s the reality. You can apply it once you understand it in any way that you like, but you must first understand it. Don’t try to misapply God’s word to your prayer life. You read it, you understand it, and then however God helps you to see him, you might praise him and you might ask him for things as you’re walking through this Psalm in your prayer closet.
I want to tell you, I see the Psalm in two ways in these first four verses. Well, really all of it, all six verses. I use it as a prayer of praise and a prayer of petition. In the beginning, I can’t help but praising God for being my shepherd who provides for me just enough for today, and tomorrow, and all the days of my life. I praise him that he’s the one who gives contentment and rest to me. But then sometimes my prayer switches from praise to petition. Why? Because I’m not always content. Sometimes I see what he’s given me as not enough for me, and I start looking to the world for satisfaction. Then I need to ask God, “Lord, help me be content with what I have instead of always wanting what I don’t have. Whatever you have given me is more than enough. Whatever I need, you have given.”
Maybe you need to use this is praising God for restoring your soul moments. Praise God for allowing you to repent unto salvation. Praise God that he allows you to restore this relationship with him through daily repentance. Then maybe you need to slip into some petition right there. Start thinking of sins in your life that you need to repent from that are causing separation between you and the Father. Do you see how this works? You could just keep going on and on.
Maybe you need to walk into this prayer in a dark valley of your life and ask God to help you see him and his presence with you as you walk through the valley. Maybe you’re hurting so bad, maybe it’s so dark you need to ask God to turn the lights on for you so you can see him walking with you to know that you’re not alone. Maybe you need to ask God to use the rod against your enemies while you’re obeying the Lord’s Prayer and you’re forgiving them. That’s your job, forgive them. His job is to fight for you. Stop trying to fight the battles on your own. Church, there’s an endless application to take his word and the truth that you learn from it into your prayer life. But if you would learn to look at God like your good shepherd like David does, I promise he will give you rest, rest from your self effort, rest from your hard work, and contentment that you’re so longing for would be given you.
But not only can this be used as a prayer of contentment, look at verses 5 and 6. You can also pray to the Lord, your hospitable host, and find security in him. In verse 4, when we’re talking about the valley of the shadow of death, I believe the illustration changes from a faithful or good shepherd to a eternal host. Now, the shepherd theme, it could work all the way through the Psalm, and that’s okay too, but look at what verse 5 and 6 say. Doesn’t it sound like a host? “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. As my eternal host, you have anointed my head with oil.” That means the King of kings is honoring you. Because of that, as my eternal host, “My cup is overflowing. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in your house that you’ve prepared for me forever and ever, amen.”
Church, David is on our mind because he wrote this Psalm, and I can almost see his life acted out in this Psalm. Not only in the shepherd boy that is learning these things about God as he’s out with the sheep, but also when he’s in danger and running from his enemies like he did much of his life, where did David continually run to? He ran to the Lord. Saul was always chasing him it seems like. Saul was always jealous of him. Every time David was in danger, he ran to the Lord for safety and security. Daily, I can do the same. Daily, you can do the same.
When your enemies are chasing you, this Psalm’s not telling you that every time, although he probably could, that he’s going to destroy your enemies. Sometimes they might catch up with you, and sometimes they may be surrounding you, looking you in the eyes. The Lord says, “Let them look. I’m going to prepare a table before you even as they are coming after you, and they won’t touch you.” You know what this tells me? It tells me that God is not always going to deliver you from the danger, but sometimes God will allow you to remain even though the danger surrounds you so you can bring glory and honor to his great name. Think about that for a second.
This is the life of Paul. For example, in Ephesians chapter 6, go read that chapter this week. The apostle Paul is in prison, and he’s asking for prayer from the church at Ephesus. He doesn’t ask the church to pray that he might be delivered. That would have been an okay prayer. He asked the church to pray that while he is in prison, not delivered from prison, that every time he opens his mouth he may make known the mystery of the gospel of peace to those who are his oppressors.
Church, this is what it means that the Lord prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies. Not that he delivers you from the danger. He might do that. But even while the danger surrounds you, he allows you to stand so you can bring glory to his great name. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Then he anoints my head with oil.” It’s just a way to show respect and honor to a guest.
Then he says, “Because of this, Lord, me as your servant, my cup is overflowing.” God as your eternal host will not only give you enough. What this reminds me of and gives me opportunity to praise God for, that he gives me more than enough. It’s a perspective change. Some of you right now are looking to the cup of the world, money, and prosperity, and power, and greed, and that cup is empty, but you keep trying to drink out of the empty cup and find satisfaction. All the while, the overflowing cup as a Christian is right before you that has so many blessings that you couldn’t even contain it all. You ignore it though.
Church, I’ve gone through some hard times in my life. As a child and even to an adult, I’ve walked through some pretty rigorous trials. I’ve been in some pretty deep waters of pain. I’ve lost so many close members of my family too early in life, and I can tell you with all integrity, in the moment and even now, my cup overflows. His mercy is more than I can even comprehend. It’s not just enough, but it’s more than enough that I can share with you and anybody else who will listen to me, and it’s not just me. That same overflowing cup is waiting on you if you would accept the perspective change that God is trying to show you.
I’m reading a book that’s helping me right now. It’s a pretty old book. It’s called Robinson Crusoe. It was written in like the 1700s, and there’s some crazy stuff in there. It’s not all right thinking, but it’s old so I kind of look past that. But don’t try to get what the book is telling you by watching the movie. The movie is like an hour and a half, and I’m listening to the book and it’s taken me over 10 hours to listen to it. The movie or anything else that’s been made out of Robinson Crusoe is like an empty shell of the true meaning there.
In the book, Robinson Crusoe is on a desert island for over 25 years. In his early years, he finds a Bible and he finds true repentance. Through the word of God and true repentance, loathing the life that he had before when he seemed like he was in his prosperity, and loving the life now that he has in a restored relationship with God through Christ, he stops thinking about what he does not have and he starts seeing his life on a desert island when you barely, what you would consider, has his needs met as an overflowing abundance of God’s mercy. He says many times in the story that he would prefer to live the life with God and Christ on the island than to have the life of freedom back in England, which is where he used to live. Only God can give you that perspective.
Let’s move into the last verse. Not only is your cup going to overflow if you’ll turn to God daily, but then he does on to say, “Goodness and mercy or lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This is a good way to end it, church. Everything good in this world comes from God. You need to acknowledge that. That would be a good practice in your prayer, praising God for your overflowing blessings, praising God for all the goodness in your life.
This word lovingkindness is an interesting word in Hebrew. It’s the Hebrew word chesed, and it means covenant keeper or it means commitment. God is committed to you your whole life long, not only in the life that you live now but for all of eternity. Speaking of eternity, we can praise him because we will dwell in the house that he’s prepared before us, because of what Christ has accomplished for us, forever and ever, amen.
Church, this is good. If you could just get a taste, or maybe even I prayed for you this week that God will give you a large portion, a large portion of understanding from this Psalm and you would be able to bask in the glory of the rest in God and the contentment that he’s waiting to give, this might be just the greatest gift you receive in 2018, maybe even your whole life long.