Friday, June 06, 2008
Our Shepherd's Provision
I've begun the wonderful study of Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd, by Elizabeth George. What a blessing! Over the past couple of days I have been looking at God as Jehovah-Jireh --"The LORD will provide". One thing that was shared was the wonderful provision of God as seen in Psalm 23. Because the Lord is our Shepherd, we will not want for anything.
Dr. H.A. Ironside wrote that we will not want for:
* rest, for He maketh me to lie down.
* refreshment, for He leadeth me beside the still waters.
* restoration, for He restoreth my soul.
* guidance, for He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness.
* confidence, for I will fear no evil
* companionship, for Thou art with me.
* comfort, for Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
* provision, for Thou preparest a table.
* joy, for my cup runneth over.
* anything in this life, for goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
* anything in eternity, for I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The last question in the chapter concerning our Shepherd's provision was a very thought-provoking one. The author asked, "Can you think of any seemingly impossible situation you're now experiencing? How does the thought of Jehovah-Jireh -- "The LORD will provide" -- encourage you?"
The truth is that I can think of a situation like that. And maybe you can, too. I thought through the provision for the different needs mentioned by Dr. Ironside above, and applied them to the situation. Here is what I found:
*rest -- Even in the midst of an impossible situation, our Shepherd promises to give us rest, and, because of Him, we can sleep very well.
* refreshment -- Even in a difficult situation, God refreshes us through time spent in His Word and through fellowship with His people.
* restoration -- In trials, we may see our Shepherd beginning to restore painfully injured sheep. We can trust Him for restoration in many other areas, as well.
* guidance -- How encouraging it is that God will provide guidance even in impossible situations. We have no wisdom of our own, and can safely trust Him to guide us through the labyrinth of life.
* confidence -- How good that because of our Shepherd, we need fear no evil. Evil is often abroad in an impossible-looking situation, but we need not fear.
* companionship -- God is with us in our trials! He will never leave us or forsake us! He walks with us in the midst of the fire.
* comfort -- What a blessing that God will provide comfort in the midst of trials. How marvelous that our Shepherd is also the God of all comfort!
* provision -- Our trials may involve needs in different areas -- finances, energy, wisdom, strength, patience, to name just a few -- but our Shepherd will faithfully provide every one.
* joy -- We may have joy in our trials as we watch God work in them. But even though our trials may not look or feel joyful, we can count them as joy -- just because God says so. And He promises that His joy will be our strength!
We can know that God will provide all that we need, all the days of our lives, even in impossible-looking situations, because of His goodness and mercy. And He has provided a home for His children in heaven; we will dwell with Him forever!
What a blessing to see the provision of Jehovah-Jireh! I trust that these thoughts have encouraged someone else today as they have me.