Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The rich treasures of Psalm 23

Wow! Once again, Psalm 23 has come to my rescue. Okay, we all know that Psalm 23 is used by folks as the kind of peace-while-dying and comfort-after-death Psalm. Sure, we all know it from childhood and we love Jesus as our Shepherd but that's basically how churches use it: on the back of a funeral notice.

But lately, God is really showing me how rich this psalm is. I haven't been keeping notes on it so I'll have to just wing it and try to remember all the times it's popped up to help me of late.

First there was the power of "thy rod and they staff they comfort me." A Shepherd's Rod is used to gently chastise and lead the straying lamb. Yes, we all know it. That tap from God on the spiritual shoulder, that sweet rebuke He gives us in a dream. A sheep knows and loves that rod. It's weird, but we do. I was so sick recently and then I got a dream of a dog lapping up its vomit and a voice said, "Haven't I told you not to eat anything with corn?" Well, yes, God has told me not to eat corn. About six or so years ago...but well, I didn't really obey. Then suddenly this rod in my dream. I felt rebuke but loved at the same time. I knew God was there for me. Sure I was sick as heck but He had been there all along and He had to really give me a hard tap on my sheepish shoulder to remind me of what he had told me years ago. It was a dream where an angel showed me a plate and scraped off corn on the cob, hotdogs, and pork, from my plate. A week after the dream a friend appeared out of the blue. She had been at a party and had some extra food. And what was on the plate? Corn on the cob, mini-sausages, and pork. But did I listen with full committment to the dream and the coincidence? Nooo! (Okay, I would've been good about avoiding the corn but quite simply I didn't trust God. I didn't trust the dream from Him. I didn't think such a simple thing as avoiding corn (and it is NOT so simple to avoid all corn products nowadays) was going to help me against the sleeplessness. This second dream kinda was God's rod. He showed me that He was indeed with me, but I wasn't doing my part to listen to Him. God isn't going to tell you anything more if you don't do the first things He tells you.

Second Treasure: I had a dream in which someone said to me: "Don't you know that Psalm 23 is a warfare prayer?" That really helped me. And this affirmation and positive confession of God's care produced a miracle which paid for my breast lumpectomy. God is so good. If that thing hadn't been taken care of, I would be way more mentally wobbly than I am now. Imagine being sleepless, worried about finances, worried about younger son, AND worried about breast? God is good. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by bills, I shout out, "I will not lack! The Lord is my Shepherd."

So, last night: I was feeling very lost, lacking direction. What will we do re finances? Should we try to pay for the bills...although we're three months behind in some and six or nine months behind in others? Should we try to sell the house or let it slip into foreclosure or hope we can save it? I was feeling like someone who didn't know what road to take at an intersection and also like someone whose foot was hard to move and whose eyes couldn't see. So I lay there in the dark looking up and feeling lost. Then the Holy Spirit showed me the "guidance" aspect of this psalm. So much of it is about being led. But I've gotten so used to thinking of it as God standing beside us while we wait around to die...that sentimental death thing. But the power of its words really popped up. So many times the psalm shows God as guiding and leading. By "still waters." "In the path of righteousness." And yes, "by his rod and his staff."

This morning hubby and I said a prayer for repentance to God. About credit cards (assuming we would always have a job to pay them off.) About leaning to our own understanding (when we should have trusted God.) About rebellion (because God specifically tells his people not to borrow.)

God is so good. Waiting to see what other riches Psalm 23 brings to me.

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
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