Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Sabbath Psalm

Psalm 23 (Amplified Bible)

Psalm 23
A Psalm of David.
1THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
2He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.


3He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him--not for my earning it, but] for His name's sake.

4Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.

5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.

6Surely (or only) goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

Pastor Dave announced his text: Psalm 23; but as he read, his voice faded from my consciousness and I was deep in reflection as I began to draw connections from this beautiful psalm, to the practice of Sabbath.

The psalm starts by declaring who we belong to--the Lord--and stating that we shall lack nothing. Lately I have been seeing a connection between God's instruction to give the portion of our income that he asks and his command to rest for one day a week. I think the connection is that both require that we enter into a trust relationship with him. If I do both, will there be enough time and financial resources for my needs? Psalm 23, verse one clearly says:

1THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.

In Malachi, God puts it plainly, that not giving is to rob him, but we are also really robbing ourselves:

Malachi 3:10 (New International Version)
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

What his Word says is that if I discipline myself (in other words be a true disciple) and do as he says in the area of rest and money, his resources of spiritual, physical and material provision will be released in my life in abundance.

2He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.

3He refreshes and restores my life (my self);

5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.

(The overflow of our relationship with him will bless others!)

6Surely (or only) goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

The hallmarks of God--goodness, mercy and love, will follow us; we will leave them in our wake--and what a promise, that his very presence will be our dwelling place.

With incremental steps of obedience, he releases incremental provision and blessings. Is that not exciting?

3 comments:

Marilyn said...

Yes, it IS exciting. And true!

I've discovered I'm not as needed as I thought I was, at least my busyness is not as needed as I thought it was. A Sabbath - to worship, to recreate, to pray, to leave space for God to come into my thoughts and prayers - a gift to us.

Love what you wrote here.

Suz said...

What a beautiful post. We need to know that acts of obedience and trust will be rewarded. I have not gotten so much out of the 23rd Psalm before.

Thank you.

Belinda said...

So glad that this blessed. To God be the glory!