Monday, August 25, 2014

Interacting with the Psalms

Psalm 23 is one of those familiar Psalms that is frequently quoted in times of death or great sorrow. It’s so familiar to many of us that it’s easy to skip over the truth or miss what God is saying to us. There is so much application of Psalm 23 to everyday life, so let's try to see Psalm 23 with an open heart to what God wants to teach us.

What does this Psalm teach us about God?

He is our Good Shepherd (v. 1). He leads us wisely and faithfully, gently and lovingly. He knows what is best for us, and all His ways are right and good.

He is our Restorer (v. 3). We need this so often because we get bogged down with life, and we need His restoration.

He leads us in ways for His name’s sake (v. 3). God always is bringing glory to Himself. It’s about His Name being spread, His power being manifested in Your life, not your comfort, happiness, or temporary pleasure, as we so often want it to be. 

He is our Comforter (v. 4). God often uses the valleys of life to reveal areas in our hearts that need to be refined, wrong motives that need to be confessed, idols that need to be destroyed. Yet in the midst of those valleys, He comforts us. Isn't this an amazing God?

Truth about God can never be mere head-knowledge, because knowledge puffs up.  
So in light of those truths about God, what should our response be?

If He is our Good Shepherd, we should trust Him wholeheartedly. If He was an unreliable Shepherd we'd have reason to doubt, but God never fails and He never does anything that isn't perfect and right. 

If He is our Restorer, we should find Him to be our source of joy. Our treasure, our life, our all. He is the only One who can meet the deepest needs of our hearts.

If He leads us for His name's sake, we should follow Him, no matter the cost. If He did things for our sake, than it would be a small, short-lived glory. But we're following a King that is worthy of all our devotion and obedience! Because it's for His sake, we can obey Him when He commands us to love unconditionally. To serve joyfully. To give sacrificially. To fight sin. To pursue unity. To embrace accountability. To be vulnerable. To deny ourselves and live selflessly. To spread the gospel. To give our earthly lives. Every circumstance in your life is meant to bring you into deeper fellowship with Him. If God is more glorified in your life by bringing great trial or difficulty, wouldn’t you want to embrace it?

If He is our Comforter, than we can comfort others. What we’ve been given, we can then give. God works in our lives, not just so we can keep it to ourselves, but because He intends for it to be spread, through the body of Christ in the local church, and through the globe, as believers passionate about God's glory spread His name and share what He has done in their lives. But you can’t give what you don’t have. So if you aren’t experiencing these truths about God, how can you expect others to experience them?

How can you praise God for who He is today? What response and application should that bring?


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