PSALM 23 PART 2-A

PSALM 23

PART TWO-A*

“The Lord is my shepherd…”
PSALM 23:1

 

“The Lord is my shepherd.” We have no indication from the scriptures when, in David’s life, he wrote this beautiful Psalm. Whether it was at a time as a young shepherd boy out alone tending the sheep of his father, whether in a cave running from King Saul or as the King of Israel, we only know that the power of this statement was true in all of the circumstances in which David found himself. One of the most powerful words in this simple statement is the word “is.” This word conveys the truth to us of YHWH, the Eternal One, in the most wondrous terms…PRESENT TENSE. Though truth is eternal, it does not afford us much in terms of value and meaning unless it is present tense, in the here and now. “The Lord IS my shepherd.” This is the glory of faith, for faith ever seeks to impart to us the present truth of God’s being and the comfort and power of all that He is in our present circumstances.

Religion has a way of acknowledging God in the past. Martha met Jesus after Lazarus had died; “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” In other words, the present circumstances would have been different if God had responded sooner; the present situation could have been prevented. Many of God’s people have become bitter and despondent with this outlook. They are not able to reconcile the place in which they find themselves with the tender loving care of  the Lord our Shepherd. Faith is to bring the truth that His tender loving care IS with us in the moments of great distress and sorrow. “The Lord IS my Shepherd!” Martha’s expression of disappointment was the outcome of a faith that had not yet developed into the “now” of life.

Religion also has a way of meeting the present situation with a futuristic outlook. Unable to grasp the reality of the now, Martha then responds to Jesus’s statement of “Thy brother shall rise again” with a quick reference to a future event; “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Both of these responses contain traces of faith but fall short of THE FAITH.

Faith is the element of our relationship with our great Shepherd that is a living thing. Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed reveals a living thing that grows and develops over time. The past and the present responses of Martha take into account the power and the truth of who Christ is, yet His desire for us is to see Him as the great I AM. The now faith is what makes men and women of God strong and unshakeable in the world in which we live.

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble”
PSALM 46:1-2

It is in our journey with Him that the power of this truth begins to enter into the core of our hearts; our Shepherd is a present help. The situation we NOW face we face with the knowledge that HE IS, right at this moment, our Shepherd, our refuge, our strength and a PRESENT HELP in trouble.

We read in Psalm 3 of a time when David was on the run from his own son and the people of Israel did not come to David’s aid…

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me,
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,

There is no help for him in God.” Selah”
PSALM 3:1-2

He was on the run with a small band of faithful ones and the voices of the multitudes around him in his day were saying, “There is no help for him in God.” Have we not heard such voices within our own hearts as we look at the circumstances before us? Have our hearts not sunk at the enormity and the hopelessness of the thing that we were facing? Let us be encouraged in our God, for David responded to that dark hour with…

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of
people Who have set themselves
against me all around”
PSALM 3:3-6

These declarations of faith in the midst of dark and trying times can only come from those who, in following their great Shepherd, have grown into the place of knowing that…

“The Lord IS my Shepherd”

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

*Note: This is an addition to the original Psalm 23 writings
which are being made into a small booklet.

Brian Troxel

 

COMFORT

COMFORT

“O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours,
and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
And I will make thy windows of agates,
and thy gates of carbuncles,
and all thy borders of pleasant stones”
ISAIAH 54:11-12

In affliction, tempest and sorrow the God of all comfort comes softly like the dew settling upon the grass after the long dark season of night. His silent ways bring whispers of hope within the human heart and His strong arms hold and carry us in the distress of our circumstances. He walks with us through the valleys. He gently embraces the wounded heart and in the secret of His ways we see the fair colours of His handiwork. We see the precious stones of His making become the foundation of our lives; not only strong and stable but filled with the beauty of His own being. There is no such thing as wasted tears for those that know their God. All sorrows and trials become part of the building of His story in our lives. His comfort becomes the very currency that we can share with others for it has become ours through the experiences of a life with Him.

His promises of comfort in our trials are the foundation of our hope in Him. The history of His faithfulness builds within us a strong hope to face the path that lies before us. The ONE who faced Calvary, and prayed with such intensity that great drops of blood fell as He communed with His Father, is the same ONE who is now able keep you in your dark hour. Let His faithfulness assuage your broken heart and His Grace lift you up as on eagles’ wings. Let the world know that we are not without the rich resources of our Risen Christ.

His mercies are new every morning and though weeping may endure for the night joy will come in the morning.

Ω

“Troubled soul, the “much tribulation” will soon be over,
and as you enter the “kingdom of God” you shall then see,
no longer “through a glass darkly”
but in the unshadowed sunlight of the Divine presence,
that “all things” did “work together”
for your personal and eternal good.”
Arthur Pink

BT

PSALM 23 – THE KINGS TABLE – PART 16 –

PSALM 23

PART SIXTEEN

THE KINGS TABLE

“Thou preparest a table before me… ”
PSALM 23:4

The table spoken of here is no ordinary table; it is the King’s Table. It is the Table of Royalty designated for Kings yet we find it set for those who follow the Shepherd! The Hebrew Word translated “TABLE*” here שֻׁלְחָן is properly defined as “a king’s table, (for) private use, sacred uses” (BDB Hebrew Definitions). It is the Hebrew Word used for the “Table of Show Bread”; the Hebrew word used when the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon’s “Table” and was astonished at the glory found therein. It is used when God was angry at Israel for how they treated HIS Table in their day of apostasy and neglect (see Malachi 1:7, 12). This is the Table that is provided to all who would follow their Shepherd and their King! It is a table of provision; a table of intimate and private concourse with the King of Kings. It is here that we eat of the Hidden Manna. It is here that HE comes and draws us aside to break the bread of fellowship and understanding that we may grow in strength and in our relationship with HIM. This is a PRIVATE TABLE reserved for those who follow HIM in Spirit and Truth; not with lip service but with all the passion of a heart that knows that nothing but Jesus can satisfy the longing within.

This is a prepared table. It is not one that is hastily set. The Hebrew word used here for “prepared” is translated most often in the Old Testament speaking of the armies of Israel being “arrayed” for battle. It is a prepared table for a prepared people. It is ordered and set with the utmost of care and attention to detail. God is never in a hurry. HE is always the ONE in CONTROL and HIS TABLE is prepared from eternity for our strengthening and preparation. While men would panic in the DAY of Battle our God is calm and purposed. We see Jesus at the last supper with His disciples, knowing full well the drama that was about to unfold, filled with PEACE and enjoying intimate fellowship with HIS disciples! There was no panic for HE was and is the REIGNING ONE! Let us draw near to this table and eat of HIM, with HIM and by HIM that we may arise as He PREPARED TO MEET the enemy in this HOUR.

This PRIVATE TABLE is seen throughout the Gospels as Jesus spoke in parables to the crowds and the religious leaders. Later He would take His Disciples aside to cause them to know and understand the truths of what HE had spoken. It is in these private moments that the “bread of LIFE” becomes alive to our hearts and we see and hear things in a new way! The reason men do not see the power of HIS LIFE pulsating in the Word of God is that they have not discovered this table. This table will only be found by those “who follow the Lamb” wherever HE goes. This is a table of relationship PREPARED for those who would eat of its rich provisions and walk in the strength of it. It is not a Table filled with sweet things only but also with meat seasoned with bitter herbs and bread to make men strong (EXODUS 12:8). It is, after all, the “Table of the Lord” and those who would minister Him must EAT ALL that is set before them. For it is in the eating of HIM that HE becomes a part of us!

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,
and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life;
and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me,
and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father:
so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me”
JOHN 6:52 – 57

This is not a table for the curious, for those who like to hear the latest teaching or those who run after signs and wonders. Rather it is a table set aside for those who will EAT of HIM through the medium of OBEDIENCE! Martyrs and Saints of all generations have eaten of this table and found FAITH and GRACE to overcome. May we follow the LAMB in our day to share at His table the prepared provision for the DAY THAT IS UPON US.

“…To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the hidden manna”
REVELATION 2:17

Ω

“God walks with the humble; He reveals himself to the lowly;

 He gives understanding to the little ones;

He discloses his meaning to pure minds,

 but hides His grace from the curious and the proud”

THOMAS A KEMPIS

 

* Note the instances where this word is used it consistently refers to a table of royalty (good and bad), prophets and a table of showbread in the Tabernacle and Temples.

table, 56 Ex 25:23, Ex 25:27-28 (2), Ex 25:30, Ex 26:35 (3), Ex 30:27, Ex 31:8, Ex 35:13, Ex 37:10, Ex 37:14-16 (3), Ex 39:36, Ex 40:4, Ex 40:22, Ex 40:24, Lev 24:6, Num 3:31, Judg 1:7 (2), 1 Sam 20:29, 1 Sam 20:34, 2 Sam 9:7, 2 Sam 9:10-11 (2), 2 Sam 9:13, 2 Sam 19:28, 1 Kin 2:7, 1 Kin 4:27, 1 Kin 7:48, 1 Kin 10:5, 1 Kin 13:20, 1 Kin 18:19, 2 Kin 4:10, 1 Chr 28:16, 2 Chr 9:4, 2 Chr 13:11, 2 Chr 29:18, Neh 5:17, Ps 23:5, Ps 69:22, Ps 78:19, Ps 128:3, Prov 9:2, Isa 21:5, Isa 65:11, Ezek 23:41, Ezek 39:20, Ezek 41:22, Ezek 44:16, Dan 11:27, Mal 1:7, Mal 1:12

tables, 14 1 Chr 28:16 (2), 2 Chr 4:8, 2 Chr 4:19, Isa 28:8, Ezek 40:39-43 (9)

The Book of Hebrews declares that “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat…” (Hebrews 13:10)  The only way to eat of this table is to Serve and Follow the LAMB OF GOD!!!

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – PART 14 – CORRECTION AND GROWTH –

PSALM 23

PART FOURTEEN

CORRECTION AND GROWTH

“Thy Rod…comforts* me”
PSALM 23:4

Without correction and accountability personal growth and fruitfulness becomes stagnated and stunted. Men who refuse correction cease to grow and cease to live. Jesus said “every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit”. We see this truth so aptly revealed in the world around us. Everything concerning life needs to be channelled in order to have direction and purpose. A river without banks is a flood, electricity without a path and a purpose we call “static” and a believer in God who has no personal vision or “mark” (Philippians 3:14) is one who will be without discipline or purpose. A good landscaper prunes his garden that it may grow and become all that he has purposed and envisioned it to be when he planted it. Jesus said that His father was the Vinedresser and they that are of this Vine (Jesus) are to bear fruit that the Father may be glorified. Therefore Fruit is anything that pleases and glorifies the Father.

It is in us receiving of His correction that we grow in fruitfulness and the inherent ability to bring forth expressions of the Son to glorify the Father. Let us hear the admonition from God’s Word; “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11 – 12) The proof of God’s Love and His ongoing investment into our lives is REVEALED IN HIS ROD. We read In the Old and New Testament of the evident Hand of God actively expressing His Love and correction in the lives of people; some were EXERCISED by it and others refused it with eternal consequences. Men who refuse correction choose a life that eventually comes to ruin. God’s Word has summed up this truth in one powerful verse…

“He who keeps instruction (Hebrew: correction) is in the way of life,
But he who refuses correction goes astray”
PROVERBS 10:17

Does this not convey to us the reason behind the apostasy in our land today? Is there not a reason that the LOVE OF MANY has grown cold and indifferent? People are content to go through the motions of religion while failing to realize that we are here to BEAR FRUIT unto HIM who has called us out of darkness into HIS LIGHT that we might ever live to GLORIFY HIM.

God’s Word to HIS PEOPLE today is one of grave importance; one that reveals and lays bare the reason that we are in such disarray, impotence and apathy….

“I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets,
daily rising up early and sending them.
Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck…
This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God
NOR RECEIVE CORRECTION.
Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth”
JEREMIAH 7:25 – 28

It is a Day for us to turn, to receive correction and to be EXERCISED in it that we may come forth as Gold tried in the Fire; purified and freed from our own agendas to DO THE WILL OF HIM that there may be Glory and Honour in His House.

King David knew well the power of change and repentance found in the ministration of truth from others in His day and the fruit that comes from the receiving of it.

“Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me: It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it”
PSALM 141:5

Ω

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance,
baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession,
absolution without personal confession.
Cheap grace is grace without discipleship,
grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

* See Psalm 23 Part 12 for the definition of the Hebrew Word used here

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – PART 13 – THE NEED FOR CORRECTION –

PSALM 23

PART THIRTEEN

THE NEED FOR CORRECTION

“Thy Rod…comforts* me”
PSALM 23:4

Freedom, Peace and Confidence are not possible without authenticity. Authenticity is the result of truth. Truth by its very nature must reveal and make manifest that which is false and superficial. Men may have knowledge and information concerning God without ever touching the TRUTH of God; for it is the Truth that reveals all untruths within me and the world around me. I can have great understanding of the scriptures and yet be totally blind to the true condition of my heart. This is deception of the highest order. It is called “religion” and never are we more susceptible to deception than within the realms of “religious truth”. Instead of the scriptures penetrating our hearts with the Holy gaze of His Presence we use them to “support” our own agendas, weaknesses and carnality; as a cloak to hide ourselves from the very truth that was meant to deliver us. It is to the honest of heart that the Word of God works to uncover and free from all that would hinder us in our growth and desire to SEE HIM. Purity of heart is the pre-requisite of seeing Him!

“For the word of God is living and powerful,
and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”
HEBREWS 4:12

Authenticity (TRUE BEING) is not the result of a man being true to himself rather it is the fruit of a life that (by God’s Grace) has become TRUE IN GOD. It is in the seeing of HIM that I know myself (see Isaiah 6, Revelation 1:12 – 17). HE is the TRUTH and it is in the seeing of HIM alone are we changed from the corrupted Adam into HIS LIKENESS!

“But we all, with unveiled face,
beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
just as by the Spirit of the Lord”.
II CORINTHIANS 3:18

The ability to understand and see truth is an issue of the heart not of the intellect. Therefore not only are we unable to see truth by our own efforts, we by nature hate truth because truth is that which exposes the ” untrueness” of all that we are (see John 16:18). When Jesus said “I AM The Way, The Truth…” He revolutionized the definition of truth. The religious Pharisees considered truth in terms of having knowledge of the scriptures and because of that they COULD NOT see HIM who is the truth standing before them, of which Jesus said…

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life;
and these are they which testify of Me”
John 5:39

My knowing of HIM (who is TRUTH) is directly related to the degree that I truly know and see myself in the light of HIM.

“…but then shall I know even as also I am known”
ICORINTHIANS 13:12

It is because of these things that the Rod of our Great Shepherd is so important in the development of our life with HIM. There are times where I have missed God. I have misinterpreted HIS will and purpose for me and it was HIS mercy that prevented me from walking in the error of my own wrongness. David declares in Psalm 119 “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” and again “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes” and yet again “I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me”! Our God is Faithful, Merciful and True and how vital it is that we acknowledge our need for His correction, rebuke, reproof and discipline in our lives. For all HIS dealings with us is to the end that “we may be partakers of HIS Holiness”!

Men who are only interested in being right will never be able to receive correction or instruction. In reality they do not have a LOVE FOR TRUTH but in fact (as of old) they have a desire for knowledge and understanding that can be used to support their agendas and their way of living. Well has the scriptures declared that there is a people who are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”.

It is in our journey into the discovery of HIM that we learn in truth who we really are. This is a journey filled with much of His correction and discipline and it is as we receive these expressions of His love that we are made soft and pliable in His hands. It is here that we grow in mercy and brokenness before Him and tremble at His word. These are the fruits produced by His Rod in our lives and the essential quality of heart that is greatly desired by our Heavenly Father!

“…but to this man will I look,
even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and trembleth at my word”
Isaiah 66:2

Ω

“When a man’s heart is right with God
the mysterious utterances of the Bible are spirit and life to him.
Spiritual truth is discernible only to a pure heart, not to a keen intellect.
It is not a question of profundity of intellect, but of purity of heart”
Oswald Chambers

* See Psalm 23 Part 12 for the definition of the Hebrew Word used here

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – PART 12 – THY ROD and THY STAFF –

PSALM 23

PART TWELVE

THY ROD and THY STAFF

“Thy Rod and Thy staff
they comfort me”
PSALM 23:4

We see here that the ministration of His Rod and His Staff are meant to have a profound effect upon our lives. We must realize in all of the scriptures that change and growth are to be the normal Christian experience. The word in the Hebrew that is translated “comfort” here has a lot more to do with the ability “to be sorry, be moved to pity, have compassion” (BDB Hebrew Definitions) than with what our word comfort means in the English language.

This Hebrew Word is translated 104 times in the KJV; 67 times having to do with the various forms of the word comfort (comfort, comforteth, comforts, comforted….) and the majority of the remainder being translated in various forms of the word repent (repent, repenteth, repents, repenting…). Strong’s concordance when defining this word says the following… “A primitive root; properly to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue.” The purpose of God working and transforming our lives is to MAKE US men and women who reveal HIM in truth and in character. The Rod and the Staff of the great Shepherd is to produce in us a condition of heart that reveals Him in the everyday outflow of our lives. Without becoming our lives will always be an act of trying to “appear” righteousness; a labour of great and continual effort to show a semblance of righteousness rather than simply being the real thing.

The Rod and Staff are the tools of the ONE loving Shepherd. They are both manifestations of the SAME HEART and in fact the Rod is also the Staff. It is how it is used that determines its expression. The same gracious God who administers correction is the same one who heals, restores and leads us to “green pastures”, “quite waters” and in the “paths of righteousness”.

All of God’s dealings with us are to one end; to make us expressions of HIS GLORY by what we are. It is in becoming HIS righteousness that we can in fact DO righteousness. Therefore we do not faint in His dealings with us for that is the only means by which we may grow.

Those who have been able to see the purposes of God in the daily grind of life are able to find the grace to submit themselves under the “mighty hand of God” and thereby profit in wisdom, understanding, and the character development that is necessary in this journey.

The true purpose of teaching is to produce right thinking and right thinking must bring forth right living. The scriptures declare that we are to be “…transformed BY the renewing of our minds…” Unless the ministry of truth is producing CHANGE within the people of God it is a vain thing. Faith comes by hearing and by faith alone will this life of becoming be possible.

“In the destiny of every moral being there is an object more worthy of God than happiness.
It is character. And the grand aim of man’s creation is the development of a grand character,
and grand character is, by its very nature, the product of probationary discipline”
Austin Phelps

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – PART 6 – HE RESTORES –

PSALM 23

PART SIX

“He restoreth my soul…”
PSALM 23:3

What a revelation of our Shepherd’s heart! “HE restoreth my soul…” is the simple statement that there is no other hope for us; no other means by which our soul can be set free, restored and turned away from its own misery and desolation. “HE restoreth my soul…” is the hope and anchor of all those who follow after the Great Shepherd of our souls. It is in HIM that we have reason to hope. It is in this ONE who is motivated by a LOVE that is beyond knowledge (Ephesians 3:19), a LOVE that loves because it is love, and a love that ever seeks to restore the fallen sons of Adam into the “glorious liberty of the children of God”. Let us realize that this LOVE is not just for us. It is what motivated God to send HIS ONLY begotten Son into this dark world that “whosoever” believes in HIM should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)! Jesus said in the introduction of the parable of the Good Shepherd that HE came “… to save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:11). With this in mind let us realize that what HE is to us, we are to be to one another.

“A new commandment I give unto you,
That ye love one another; as I have loved you…”
JOHN 13:34

We are to love one another AS HE has loved us. That Shepherd’s Heart that is in HIM is to be revealed and worked out in our lives in loving and caring for one another. Truth is not truth until it is EXPRESSED in the common course of everyday life. If HE has so wonderfully expressed HIS love to me by the unmerited grace of God should not that same expression flow from our hearts to one another?

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual,
RESTORE such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself,
lest thou also be tempted”
GALATIANS 6:1

The ability to restore another life is the revelation of HIS TRUTH living within us. It is the heart beat of all those who are coming to know and walk within the power and love of HIS LIFE. HE is the restorer of my soul and as HE lives so do all those who drink of the fountain of the living waters of HIS goodness and mercy. The measure of our walk, the validity of following after HIM, is expressed in the communication of HIS LIFE to restore, enable and to exhort one another to live Godly in Christ Jesus.

Ω

“Christians are like the several flowers in a garden
that have each of them the dew of heaven,
which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other’s roots,
whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other”
JOHN BUNYAN

Ω

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
I SHALL NOT WANT”

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – PART 5 – HE RESTORES –

PSALM 23

PART FIVE

“He restoreth my soul…”
PSALM 23:3

In this journey of life we slowly begin to realize that the very center and core of who and what we are needs change and transformation. The more we walk with Him, the more we learn of Him. We see the eternal power of God expressed in a love that in itself is so far beyond our grasp, our understanding and comprehension. The very quality of that love causes us to shy away from Him (who IS that love) because of its immensity and power. Yet within our hearts there is a cry and an intense desire to KNOW this ONE, to walk and live within the grip of His Life and to GROW in the wonder of a deep relationship with HIM. It is in this desire to know HIM that we discover the WAY in which we are to walk so that this relationship may become deeper, fuller and more meaningful in our life.

Change is the evidence of a life MOVING in God. No one who is active in their pursuit and desire for God can remain unchanged. A religious man may speak right things, may do good works, may appear spiritual but if there is not an ongoing work of transformation within his life there is an issue at heart.

The Hebrew Word here for “restore” (and its related forms) is translated 1339 times in the Old Testament and with few exceptions speaks of turning, repentance and change. There are countless times in our walk with Him that we have strayed, wandered or insisted on our own way yet HE mercifully comes and turns us and RESTORES us back to the paths of righteousness and truth. He is ever seeking, ever desiring for us to GROW and DEVELOP in our life with Him. The power of the New Covenant is that we are to “BECOME sons of God” (John 1:12). The only way to truly know this life of “BECOMING” is to recognize and embrace the life of change that is necessary for this reality.

Over the years I have come to realize that of all of God’s great gifts and dealings in my life, the gift of repentance is a most prized one. For it is in the things that we cling to, obstinately, and sometimes unknowingly, that we experience the bitter pangs of misery and weariness. The relief comes in letting go. The joy comes in turning from ourselves. The peace comes in submitting to HIS will and HIS way. “HE restores our soul”; HE brings us back to the good and right way. HE pulls us from things and issues, from unresolved relationships and returns us to the green meadows of HIS provisions and the still waters where we find “rest unto our souls” and communion with the ONE who Loves us.

“Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness
and forbearance and longsuffering:
not knowing that the goodness of God
leadeth thee to repentance…”
ROMANS 2:4

How blessed we are to have such a ONE who suffers long with great patience with each of us; ever seeking to restore us and work within us a heart and a life that is at home with HIM.

Ω

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
I SHALL NOT WANT”

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 PART 2 – I Shall Not Want –

PSALM 23

PART TWO

“I SHALL NOT WANT…”
PSALM 23:1

“Want” is not, for most of us, a concept with which we are familiar. We live in a land blessed with abundance. While in other parts of the world there is great want and need for the necessities of life, we here see a great want for the EXCESSES of life. When we truly believe that the Lord is our Shepherd and that HE provides our needs we should be free from the lust of things externally and internally. We should be finding rest in HIS PROVISIONS and HIS GREAT PROVIDENCES. So many of us work day and night to pay for the excesses; things that are far from being necessities. “We have to make a living” is our excuse when in reality we have sold ourselves into a life of servitude for the “things” that this world has to offer. We are not talking here of some religious vow of poverty; we are speaking of a contentment in the LORD our Shepherd. We are talking of a freedom from the passion for “things” that would entice and burden us with a life of debt to this world. Our lifestyle should not enslave us but rather free us to serve our God.

I SHALL NOT WANT is a life that is free to follow and serve our Great Shepherd. I SHALL NOT WANT is a life that is free from the lusts, passions and entanglements of this world. I SHALL NOT WANT is a life that has found peace in knowing that HE is our provider; that HE really is all that we need. It is a freedom from the pressure of this world to have and hold more. For in truth those things can have a hold on us. WE ARE ALWAYS THE SERVANT OF THAT WHICH OUR HEART DESIRES. That is why Jesus says….

“Take heed and beware of covetousness,
for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses”
LUKE 12:15

Covetousness is a condition of the heart. It steals the affections of our heart with great subtlety, slowly causing our focus to change; the reason that we do something is altered from that which is good and necessary to that which satisfies a lust or a desire. A contented life in this world is the result of seeking, desiring and living within the provision and way of the Lord our Shepherd. As we, in the spirit of thankfulness and praise, make our requests known unto HIM we begin to discover the WAY of HIS PEACE in our lives. It is a battle to keep our eyes focused on the ONE who is OUR PROVISION and our God. We are reminded in John’s Gospel…

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passéth away, and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”
I JOHN 2:15

I SHALL NOT WANT is the fruit of a life that is finding its contentment in the LIFE and PROVISION of THE LORD OUR SHEPHERD. May we daily seek this life of simplicity and rest. To abide in the Love OF the Father is to be free from the love of the World. This freedom is found as we displace one love with a GREATER LOVE. Religion is always seeking to do things that appear spiritual and we often hear the scripture misquoted “…I must decrease, He must increase…” The truth is “HE MUST INCREASE, I must decrease…”

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
I SHALL NOT WANT”

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 Part 1 – The Lord is My Shepherd –

PSALM 23

PART ONE

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

“The Lord is my shepherd…”
PSALM 23:1

“The Lord is my shepherd” is more than just poetry, more than a nice theological concept and much more than simply a feel good religious verse. To those who know HIM it is the sum total of the fundamental and essential aspect of our relationship with HIM. The Hebrew Name for LORD here is YHWH. It is the Name of God as revealed to the man Moses as he was being sent back into Egypt as a deliverer of HIS people. It is a name that depicted Glory and Majesty to such an extent that traditionally it was not even spoken, out of great reverence and respect. Yet here we see that great name being divinely connected to that of a Shepherd! The same great name that carried with it the meaning of ONE of endless, eternal self existence, clothed in omnipotence and infinite majesty, by whose power all of Egypt was destroyed on such a scale and in such a manner that to this day it remains unsurpassed in the revelation of the Judgments of God. Let us ponder upon the significance of the connection of such a God to that of not only a Shepherd, but a personal Shepherd that cares for the life of His own.

To know in some religious way that the Lord is A shepherd will convey little in terms of the power or comfort of relationship in knowing that HE is the director of our steps. We see here in this statement that this Great and Holy God is not only A shepherd but that it is essential for us to know experientially that HE is MY SHEPHERD! This foundational truth can only be true if there is within the core of my being a new birth experience that has translated me from the rebellious nature of a goat to that of a lamb that is desirous to be submissive and taught in the WAY of our God. Only by us becoming sheep in nature will we fully appreciate the wisdom and care of our great shepherd.

The Lord is my Shepherd! Let the truth of this sink deep into our consciousness. Let the power of all that it is to mean convey a warmth and comfort to our troubled hearts in times of distress. Let it speak to us that we are not mere wandering souls left to our own resources, wisdom and strength. Let it communicate to us a sense of purpose, a special relationship with the Almighty God who has taken upon HIMSELF the responsibility to lead us through the dangers of this life.

THE LORD ALONE IS MY SHEPHERD

The Lord is my Shepherd! We hear many today say that some religious leader is their Pastor or Shepherd; how it must grieve the heart of God for such things to even be considered! HE is my Shepherd. There is no man who can chart the dark waters of my needs, no man who can be made unto me wisdom and strength, and no other who can keep me in the way of righteousness and truth. HE ALONE IS MY SHEPHERD. He alone is your shepherd. You will never read anywhere in the New Testament of a man being MY apostle, MY teacher or MY prophet. He has given the church ministries of the Apostolic, Prophetic, Evangelistic, Shepherding and Teaching expressions for the building up of the Body of Christ but they are never to be yours. They are simply precious expressions given to help us develop our own personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. There is only ONE SHEPHERD. His name is Jesus and it is the solemn obligation for every true and valid ministry to bring you and me to the place of seeking, knowing, and living our lives in HIM.

“I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep”
JOHN 10:11

Brian Troxel