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

 

PSALM 23 – SURELY – PART 24

PSALM 23

PART TWENTY-FOUR

SURELY

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life”
PSALM 23:5

SURELY! The word used for “SURELY” is a particle of affirmation in the Hebrew Language; it indicates a certainty! It is the declaration of FAITH arising from a heart that is following after the Great Shepherd! It is a declaration from a life that knows there will be “valleys of shadows” and separation, of difficulties that seem insurmountable and too deep to cross in our own strength. It is the assurance felt within the heart of one that knows the character and the grace of our God. It is the very thing that carries us through the great trials and troubles that we encounter in this life. This confidence is not borne out of a confidence in ourselves but is founded upon His Goodness and Mercy that is ours as we pursue and follow after Him! We see this same declaration echoed in the life of Paul and others in the New Testament…

“Yet in all these things
We are more than conquerors
through Him who loved us.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life,
Nor angels nor principalities nor powers,
Nor things present nor things to come,
Nor height nor depth,
nor any other created thing

Shall be able to separate us
From the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”

ROMANS 8:37 – 39

This surety must come from a life of knowing and doing. True confidence is the fruit of doing. While men may say and declare great things it is through those who do His Will that the quiet fruit of confidence and stability is revealed.

“And wisdom and knowledge
shall be the stability of thy times,
and strength of salvation:
the fear of the LORD is his treasure”
ISAIAH 33:6

“Surely” is the positive declaration of those who have followed their Shepherd throughout the journey of life; for in the following of Him we can be assured that His Goodness and Mercy WILL follow us. Like a boat crossing a lake it leaves a wake that goes out to distant shores. The Psalmist here declares that the wake of God’s Goodness and Mercy will “surely” touch others, bless others and make known to others the Goodness of our God. We are not here to become obsessed with watching our wake for in so doing we take our eyes off Him and we quickly become lost in the wilderness of self! It is in keeping our eyes upon Him and following Him that we can be confident of this very thing; that “His Goodness and Mercy will follow us”.

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – CONCLUSION – CONFIDENCE & REST – PART 23

PSALM 23

PART TWENTY-THREE

CONCLUSION

CONFIDENCE AND REST

“…and I will dwell* in the house of the LORD for ever.”
PSALM 23:5

The Hebrew word translated here for “dwell” comes from the primary Hebrew root word to “sit” (*see below). It speaks of a rest and a posture of confidence and comfort. David in his pursuit of God came to a point where he was confident in His God, not himself. His posture of rest was not based on some teaching or the fact that he was a King rather his rest was based on the character of HIS GOD. This statement of confidence “I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” had little to do with David’s own ability to serve God; it was founded upon the personal KNOWING that the LORD was HIS SHEPHERD! Many of God’s people struggle with this confidence, this sense of knowing and belonging. We seek for assurance by doing good things, by clinging to doctrines, assurances from others, belonging to some Christian organization, subscribing to a well-known teacher or some other outward thing to satisfy this need for security. God has only one thing to offer us: the PLEDGE of HIMSELF; the verity of HIS own character. Every action and motive that is not birthed from this place of abiding will eventually fail to satisfy the deep longing within the heart of His own. This place of rest cannot instill a sense of complacency or apathy. It must and will produce a pursuit and seeking of HIM who has become the ONE THING the true heart desires (Psalm 27:4, Philippians 3:13). The pursuit of Him is no longer based on gaining HIS approval but is birthed of an intense desire “to know HIM”.

“That I may KNOW HIM, and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings,
being made conformable unto his death…
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this ONE THING I do…
I press toward the mark for the prize
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:10 – 14

The one who wrote the scripture above also wrote…

“But God, who is rich in mercy,
for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins,
hath quickened us together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together,
and made us SIT together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”
Ephesians 2:4 – 5

The posture of sitting together with Christ in heavenly places is born of an insatiable desire to know HIM more fully and deeply. It is the starting point of our journey. In this knowledge we will arise from our failures, disappointments and trials that are all part of the discovery of both the depths and the riches of His Grace.

Trust and confidence can only be known via relationship. Such is the heart of our Great Shepherd who leads us to the “still waters” of resting in HIM, the “green pastures” of feeding upon Him in the tranquility of His tender love and care, the feasting with Him in the “presence of our enemies” and to the discovery of His Presence with us in “the valley of the shadow of death”! Let us with great humility of heart follow HIM, seek Him and grow in the graces of HIM who is the LORD OUR SHEPHERD!

Ω

The Lord my pasture shall prepare,
And feed me with a shepherd’s care;
His presence shall my wants supply,
And guard me with a watchful eye.
Joseph Addison (1672–1719)

* H3427. יָשַׁב yāšaḇ: A verb meaning to sit, to dwell, to inhabit, to endure, to stay. Apparently, to sit is the root idea, and other meanings are derived from this. (THE COMPLETE WORD STUDY DICTIONARY: OLD TESTAMENT Warren Baker, D.R.E. Eugene Carpenter, Ph.D.)

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – THE OVERFLOWING CUP – PART 21

PSALM 23

PART TWENTY ONE

HIS ABUNDANCE

“my cup runneth over”
PSALM 23:5

The overflowing cup is a result of the Anointing. This life of abundance and flow is the RESULT of HIS LIFE and HIS influence in our lives. Man left to himself is a desert; an unruly patch of weeds, thorns and thistles. The only hope of Glory for any man is “Christ IN us…”! This abundant flow of the grace of God is known along with the keen recognition that within ourselves we are barren and impoverished. Only He has the ability to make the desert bloom, the barren land a fruitful field and the fountains of living water to flow without measure. So much time is spent by many of God’s people focusing on their lack and their own condition that they remove themselves from the fountain of His abundance. We need to take note of the Word of God in this regard…

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive:
for the Holy Ghost was not yet given…”
JOHN 7:38 – 39

The flow of this river out of the lives of His people is based not only on the Holy Spirit being given but also being received! There is much emphasis on sending men and women to Bible schools, conferences and seminars when the real need is to see them filled, empowered and living in the power, the government and the vitality of the Holy Spirit! Teaching will not empower a man (as good and as necessary as that is). True teaching must bring the people of God into the pursuit, passion and the desire for others to know of this essential reality.

Christians are not to be impoverished, selfish, carnal and wounded people. They are to be living epistles of the living God. The abundance is to be of such an order and of such a nature that the world will behold the works that the Spirit of God produces within our lives and will cause them to Glorify OUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven”
MATTHEW 5:16

True light produces True Works! The gracious pouring out of the Holy Spirit is to produce something far higher, far deeper and far more comprehensive than merely speaking in tongues. It is to produce a life teeming with the grace and glory of God; a life that bears fruit in every circumstance, a life that can identify with the pain and suffering of others, a life of abundance that flows out to others with the faith and mercy of our great God. It is to be a life that stands for truth and God’s way in a day of growing darkness and apostasy with a boldness to declare the council and purposes of God regardless of the consequences. Such things are only ours through a life that has received and continues to receive the pouring forth of this unmerited gift of the Holy Spirit.

Let us never stop growing and living and seeking and desiring more of all that He desires to give for we are reminded that the Spirit of God is poured out without measure! It is we who determine the depth of its influence and Lordship in our lives; it is we who must ask, must knock, must seek this anointing that is now ours because Jesus has been Glorified! (John 7:39)

How we must see that this GIFT is given not on the basis of our own merit but it is given because JESUS HAS BEEN GLORIFIED! Therefore the abundance, the life of overflowing is ours because of HIS MERIT and HIS ASCENSION!!!

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high,
he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men”
EPHESIANS 4:8

Let us re-evaluate the measure of the life that we live today as compared to the purpose that God has for us in CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD!

“Amplius” means broader, fuller, wider.
That is God’s perpetual word to us in relation to filling of the Holy Spirit.
We can never have enough to satisfy His yearning desire.
When we have apprehended most,
there are always unexpected supplies in store
ready to be drawn upon”
FB Meyer

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – HIS ANOINTING OIL – Part 20 –

PSALM 23

PART TWENTY

HIS ANOINTING OIL

“Thou anointest my head with oil”
PSALM 23:5

The anointing brings sanctification, power and ability. It takes ordinary people and empowers them to be expressions of Glory and manifests the gifts and the calling of a merciful and Most High God. There is, however, more to this anointing than power and divine enablement; empowered vessels can still be selfish and wounded. They can be carnal, absorbed with self, deceived and fragile. It is necessary for us to know and understand that the full work of God is to MAKE us, in thought, word and deed, a people who ARE like Him!

“And hath MADE us kings and priests unto God…”
Revelation 1:6

The Hebrew Word*, translated “Oil” in this verse, denotes fatness, richness, with clear references to cleansing and healing. In order for us to be made rich and fat in the blessings of our God we must become whole within the very heart of our being. Without the healing and cleansing aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit we would be blemishes to all that God has purposed man should be. The scriptures are full of examples of men and women who have power without character and the resulting horror of such things. Power without character is the great evil in the world today, whether it be political, financial, judicial, and above all, religious.

It is interesting to see that the express meaning of the word used in the Hebrew for Oil conveys the essential purpose of God in His plan of redemption and salvation. It is to be unto us the power of God working to bring forth of His richness, His abundance and His enablement to shine forth the character, the person and the heart of the ANOINTED ONE, CHRIST JESUS our Lord! Within the flow of the Life of the Son in us that power (dunamis Greek) is active and alive to transform the fallen sons of Adam into the Children of God!

Let us not become discouraged in His dealings with us. Let us realize that while a large segment of the “Christian” world seeks power, signs and wonders there is a quiet and determined work of the Holy Spirit to bring us to the place of being vessels fit and prepared for the Master’s use; vessels that know the deep cost of walking in forgiveness, of knowing how to extend mercy to others, having peace in the midst of conflict, grace for others, clinging to truth at all costs and the power to declare the purposes of God to those around us regardless of the consequences! These vessels are shaped by the knowing of themselves and because of that knowledge they see and understand others more clearly. They have been freed from the bitterness and strife within their own hearts that the sweetness of His healing waters may flow. In all of these things we BECOME approved unto our God. It is in the anointing oil having HIS way within the very recesses of our hearts that we know of His Joy and approval in our lives.

We read…

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver,
but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour,
sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work”
II TIMOTHY 2:20 – 21

To that end let us run the race that is set before us that we might be vessels of honour, sanctified and ready for the Master’s use.

Ω

“The Holy Spirit is the gift of the Risen Christ. His anointing filling,
empowering work is a baptism of love that gives power
to make Jesus real to you and known to others”
Winkie Prateny

* “שֶׁמֶן A masculine noun meaning fat, oil. This word has a wide range of figurative meanings relating to richness and plenty. Most simply, it is used of food, relating to feasts of good, rich food (Isa. 25:6). It is also used frequently of oil. This can be oil used for food and cooking (Deut. 8:8; 32:13); for oil which was used to anoint holy objects or kings (Ex. 30:25; 1 Sam. 10:1); or for oil used as an ointment to soothe and cleanse, leading to healing (Ps. 133:2; Isa. 1:6). The figurative meanings are also important. This word can be used to signify strength, such as in Isaiah 10:27 where growing fat meant growing strong. It also frequently relates to fruitfulness and fertile places where good things grew (Isa. 5:1; 28:1). The overall picture one gets from this word is that of richness, strength, and fertility.”

THE COMPLETE
WORD STUDY DICTIONARY:
OLD TESTAMENT
Warren Baker, D.R.E.
Eugene Carpenter, Ph.D.

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – HIS ANOINTING – Part 19 –

PSALM 23

PART NINETEEN

HIS ANOINTING

“Thou anointest my head with oil”
PSALM 23:5

In the Old Testament there were three expressions that were anointed in God’s people; Priests, Kings and Prophets. These were to be holy expressions necessary for the ministration of God’s Laws, His Mercy and His Council. This anointing was to sanctify, empower and to declare the calling of God upon a man for God’s specific purposes.

“…thou shalt anoint UNTO ME him whom I name unto thee”
1 SAMUEL 16:3

The anointing is to bring forth a life that is lived UNTO HIM. It is to work in and saturate a man’s life until his whole being is lived UNTO the Lord. It is a most significant sign of a life that has been CHOSEN by God to be lived unto God for His own end. We read of this same thing in the New Testament…

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:
and ye shall be witnesses UNTO ME both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea,
and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”
ACTS 1:8

This anointing has come to all those who have been washed in the precious blood of the Lamb; all who have sought for and desired a LIFE of separation by seeking and desiring the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is not to live a life unto ourselves or to seek to build up a church or ministry but to be witnesses UNTO HIM! It is to live our daily lives with the cry within our hearts for Him to “work in us to will and to DO of His good pleasure” that we might truly know of the Joy of the Lord (HIS JOY) welling up in our lives. It is to grow in our walk with Him by living in the sensitivity of our hearts to that anointing that would teach us all things that pertain to His Life being lived in us.

“Thou anointest my head with oil” is more than just a poetic phrase. It is a substantial reality REQUIRED for any life to live and be equipped to walk in the WAY of the SON. This anointing is an essential step in the journey of a life that no longer desires anything but Him, that no longer desires to live out of the miserable resources of self and can no longer find satisfaction in anything else. For this anointing must birth a realization that in every place and in every moment He is watching us and knows our thought life; our motivations and our actions are weighed in the balances of His righteousness. This anointing brings us to the awful realization that we are in truth “witnesses UNTO HIM”!

This anointing causes us to be open to the search light of truth within the very core of our own heart. It causes us to know that it matters very little what men think or say for we have discovered the reason for living is to glorify Him, please Him and to know Him more and more in this brief journey of life.

This anointing also causes us to speak truth, to live truth and to become more true to the life that we see in Him. It is BECAUSE of this anointing that men can be empowered to become Priests, Kings and Prophets unto our God. It is because of His gracious call, His Power and His Mercy that ordinary men and women BECOME authentic and powerful expressions of the MOST HIGH GOD!

We need look no further than the young child David to see the effect of this anointing as he grew INTO the call and purposes of God; King, a Priest and a Prophet of the MOST HIGH! Can we not expect GREATER THINGS to arise from a New Covenant that has made provision for our sin by the precious blood of the spotless perfect Lamb; who has now BECOME our baptiser, our way, our truth and our LIFE? Shall we not go on to know Him in a fullness that will please and glorify the Father? Did He not abolish the Old Testament because it could not make anything perfect and whole?

“For the law made nothing perfect,
but the bringing in of a better hope did;
by the which we draw nigh unto God”
HEBREWS 7:19

He has brought forth a New and Living Ministration of the Life of the Son that we might live in the wonder and the glorious provision of His anointing! He IS come and the scriptures testify that we have received of this anointing that we might be taught of Him and empowered of Him to become witnesses of His Life in this world.

“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you”

Ω

“The Holy Spirit is the gift of the Risen Christ. His anointing filling,
empowering work is a baptism of love that gives power
to make Jesus real to you and known to others”
Winkie Pratney

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – THE BREAD OF THE TABLE – PART 18 –

PSALM 23

PART EIGHTEEN

BREAD FOR US

“Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies”
PSALM 23:5

“They are bread for us…” This was the declaration of FAITH that characterized the lives of Joshua and Caleb in the face of Israel’s unbelief and the number and the size of the enemies that inhabited the Land of Promise. Their strength was not in themselves. Their confidence was grounded in the unshakable trust that God was with them; a live vision that enabled them to remain unmoved by the size and the scope of their enemies. This is the crucial element to a faithful and consistent walk in God. The KEY phrase to this declaration is found in the verse preceding; “If the LORD delight in us”. True Vision always lifts our eyes from ourselves and causes us to focus on the things that please HIM. The life of the Son was always centered upon the one and great eternal desire to please the Father. His will was fixed upon this one thing and because of that His life was governed by that ONE GREAT WILL. The ability to see our enemies as bread for us is in direct correlation to our submission to HIS purposes; that we are here to DO His will and to walk in HIS ways regardless of the cost.

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him;
and he will show them his covenant”
PSALM 25:14

The life of feasting at this table must always be preceded by the WAY of the ALTAR. The Altar of Burnt Offering precedes the Table of Showbread! Vision is the result of a man’s walk; our ability to see and understand the purposes of God are directly related to our heart’s condition not our intellect. Spiritual ignorance is the fruit of disobedience. It was the obedience of Abraham to take his only son Isaac and offer him unto the Lord (as per the Word of the Lord) that Abraham saw the revelation of “Jehovah Jireh” (Genesis 22:13). It was WHEN the “feet of the Priests” carrying the Ark stepped into the flooding river Jordan that it parted allowing them to enter the Promised Land. It was WHEN Judah offered himself in the stead of Benjamin that Joseph could no longer restrain himself from revealing who he was in their midst. Joseph was there the whole time yet they could not see him until there was a change of heart. So too this table is set before us with the bountiful provisions of our God to nourish and supply us with all that we need to finish this race “that is set before us” (HEBREWS 12:1).

“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress”
PSALM 4:1

Ω

“It is only by obedience that we understand the teaching of God”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

“Every man must tread the Word for himself.
One may read it in one shape,

another in another: all will be right if it be indeed the Word they read,
and they read it by the lamp of obedience.
He who is willing to do the will of the Father shall know the truth
…the Spirit is “given to them that obey him”
GEORGE MACDONALD

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – THE PLACE OF FEASTING – PART 17 –

PSALM 23

PART SEVENTEEN

THE PLACE OF FEASTING

“Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies”
PSALM 23:5

This table has been set with rich provisions and is there for us to eat and drink and become strong thereby. It is not a table for mere talking and listening but it is the table of the Bread of HIS LIFE which must be consumed in order that it becomes a reality in our lives. We have had much in terms of teaching; in fact much of our Christian experience in this land is really one of LISTENING to didactical teaching and the dissemination of information. It becomes an intellectual exercise and much of it remains purely theoretical in its actual application. We have become good at hearing, debating, and discussing the doctrines and concepts of men without the substance of LIVING in the reality of the LIFE OF CHRIST. The outward FORM of TEACHING is necessary for a season but somewhere it must give way to the EXPERIENCE and WALK in every true disciple. Notice that this TABLE OF PROVISION is not set in the confines of a nice and comfortable Christian Setting but in the PRESENCE OF OUR ENEMIES! The PROVISION comes as we OVERCOME our enemies.

It is in the conflicts of life that we discover His strength. Here, as the WORD of GOD is eaten and made real, we no longer live in ethereal teachings, concepts and good sounding religious ideas. Instead HIS LIFE is discovered WITHIN the conflicts of our daily lives! We discover the wonder of a living FAITH that must bring what I have heard into my WALK! This is where Christ becomes the EXPERIENCE of the individual believer. By its very nature the life of overcoming can only be appropriated on an individual basis. The corporate expression is only as valid as the authenticity of the individual. Just because I LISTEN to good teaching does not mean my Christian experience is valid. The validity of my LIFE in Christ can only be known by the expression of HIS LIFE in me. In order for that to be the truth of my life it requires not only a hearing of HIS WORD but it must give way to a doing of that WORD; obedience is the ONLY way to the life of OVERCOMING. If there is no obedience there can be no OVERCOMING!

In the Gospels we see and hear Jesus teaching the WORD concerning the Kingdom of God and we are struck with the wonder and the wisdom found within the beauty of HIS words. However, HE does not allow the Disciples to linger in the place of hearing only. Because HE is not just a teacher (but has come to fulfill His Father’s will) we see Him sending the Disciples to live and walk out that which He has spoken of. He sends them out to heal the sick, cast out demons and to declare the WORD of the Kingdom! Likewise the WORD must become flesh in our own experience. We must eat of the provisions of this table in the presence of our enemies! Not only the obvious, external ones but more importantly the enemies of our heart, the weaknesses of our flesh and the “I” that is always clamouring for pre-eminence, comfort and its own way. We must find HIM as our victory here or it will matter very little what we know. Judas heard and saw the Glory of Christ yet in the end he betrayed HIM for his own ends. It is not enough to know and have an association with Jesus; we MUST EAT OF HIM at this table “prepared” for us in the “presence of our enemies”!

Men love knowledge and understanding. We love to discuss things, debate things and share things but Jesus came that men may have “LIFE and LIFE abundantly…” He did not come to bring a new teaching or to tickle men’s ears with revelatory speech. HE came to be the very EXPRESSION of the all that God is. Not an expression only but the MEANS by which the fallen race of man would become “THE BODY OF CHRIST” in the earth. For this reason HE sets this table of provision that we may BECOME “bone of HIS bone and flesh of His flesh” in demonstration in our daily life. It is crucial to see that the conflicts and tribulations of this life are given to us to become strong. May God save us from teachings that leave us impoverished, impotent and unable to walk and may we find HIS table “prepared” for us in the “presence of our enemies”.

Ω

Obstacles in the pathway of the weak
become stepping-stones in the pathway of the strong.
Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)

Brian Troxel

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 15 – HIS STAFF

PSALM 23

PART FIFTEEN

THY STAFF

“Thy STAFF…comforts* me”
PSALM 23:4

The Hebrew Word translated here as staff has two meanings. The first is translated generally as anything that supports and stabilizes (A feminine noun indicating a support, a supply. It is used of what firms up, keeps stable, furnishes needed supplies…{TCWS of the Old Testament}). It is this aspect that causes us to trust in Him, lean upon Him and draw from Him strength for all our daily needs. On our journey of LIFE we discover the truth of all that HE is to us. Through this unseen support and ministration we began to see that HE is not only our saviour but indeed HE is our salvation on a daily basis. It is in the present truth of HIS life that we find ourselves in full agreement with Psalm 46:1; HE is our PRESENT HELP in trouble. Not a God that is afar off, but a God who is present and real. It is this present help that *comforts us, humble us and causes us to exclaim with the writer of the Book of Hebrews “what is man that thou art mindful of him or the son of man that thou shouldst visit him”. These are moments when HIS unmerited goodness causes us to be humbled and broken; HIS goodness expressed in the face of our stubbornness and pride.

His staff supports, leads and guides, gently nudging us into the path that HE has chosen. It is HIS staff that leads us to green pastures, quiet waters and causes us to know that HE is ever watching over the lives of HIS own. How good and faithful is our Shepherd. How merciful and gracious are His ways with us. Left to ourselves we are all like sheep that “have wandered astray”. We have sought out our own ways, our own pastures and without Him we would ever be lost in the wilderness of our own wisdom with our own miserable resources. The LORD is our Shepherd and it is in the ministration of His staff that we are comforted and made right. It gives us hope and comfort when we feel the sting of His correction for it is in learning of Him that we grow in the wisdom and love of our shepherd. It is in learning of Him that we can be more effective in our ministration of that life to one another. For the Body of Christ to become ONE in heart, faith and reality there must be a corporate expression of His heart to one another. It is in learning of Him that we are no longer able to segregate ourselves from each other. For to have the Love of God beating in our hearts we must come to the place of loving what He loves and hating what He hates. We can no longer pick and choose who may be our brother or sister. We can no longer elevate one ministry over and above another for we have seen that each ministration of His life is necessary to reveal His fullness.

It is in being humbled by His goodness that we become expressions of that goodness to one another. It is in the appreciation of His unmerited grace that we become expressions of that grace to those around us. The truth of the staff enables us to walk no longer in the poverty of our own resources. Rather it brings us to the recognition of a supply of strength that is beyond ourselves; a strength to stand when we have no strength; a hope in His supply that will not allow us to succumb to the testings we must endure. His staff becomes a point of strength where we can declare the “Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack…” He has come, HE is come to be to us all that our present circumstances require. We are not to feel as chaff driven by the wind, we are not to feel as sheep having no shepherd, and we are not to be as orphans without hope in this world. He has come to strengthen us in HIM, to bring us to the place of trust in the God of our provision. He has come to make us PARTAKERS OF THE RICHES OF HIS FATHERS HOUSE!

His staff comforts us, enables us and causes us to become rich in the provisions of our God.

“The LORD God is my strength,
and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
and he will make me to walk upon mine high places”
HABBAKUK 3:19

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

Brian Troxel