When you’re going through trials and don’t know what is going on, the 23rd Psalm can show you how to keep your eyes on the Good Shepherd.
Progression of Intimacy Through the 23rd Psalm
He brought me to the 23rd Psalm this morning and showed me that it is a progression of intimacy in three phases. I want to encourage you that He is good, and what you are going through, He promises He will work for your good. Surrender to the process and keep your eyes on Him.
Phase 1: The Honeymoon: Falling in Love with Jesus, Our Good Shepherd.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
We are learning to develop intimacy and establishing that He has a nature worthy of trust. Many of us are unlearning religious, man-made doctrines and discovering the love of the Father for the first time. He is bringing us to green pastures and still waters so that we may eat and drink and be full and learn to rest in Him. He is restoring our soul (healing, rewiring, equipping, feeding) because He has a journey He wants us to take with Him.
Phase 2: Testing and Training in the Wilderness
Yea, 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.
You Have Not Been Abandoned
This is the level of strengthening of the heart and developing that deeper intimacy and trust. Many of you may be tempted to feel that you have been abandoned or have missed the right turn. Here you thought you were sold out to God and long to do His will and instead of step into your divine assignment, you were sent a curve ball and feel you have been run off course. I want to encourage you through the 23rd Psalm to keep trusting and don’t let your feelings dictate your truth. Keep your eyes steady and focused on Him. You have not been abandoned. He will never leave you or forsake you. That is a promise and He does not lie.
Don’t Start Bellybutton Gazing
Don’t start bellybutton gazing either. It is tempting to go after everything you can think of, trying to clean yourself up because you must have failed somehow. Let Him lead. The wilderness is a time of comfort, contrary to what it may feel. In the book of Hosea, God speaks of the wilderness as being a place He woos His lovers to speak comfort to them. He wants to remove, cut off, prune those things in our lives that we run to for comfort or depend on that prevent the fruitfulness in our lives.
Created to Bear Fruit
We were meant to bear fruit…much fruit. The vine dresser knows what He is doing. He is not being unkind, but rather loving you deeply. You will learn that your trust is not in vain, beloved, when you start to see the fruit from your labors (and it may not look like you thought it would). Even if it does not come for a while, we can trust His nature.
When the Wilderness Feels Cruel
We have a high and mighty calling as a Kingdom Christian that will require some stripping and pruning in the process, but the goal is fruit and intimacy with the Father. We learn to cling to what we know even when we don’t understand. Even Jesus in His wilderness time clung to “It is written.” He went through everything we will go through to model that we can have victory too.
We will walk through times of testing and the wilderness can even seem cruel. We don’t need to fear for He is with us. His rod (correction and discipline) and His staff (encouragement, guidance, protection, provision) are with us. We can be comforted because God is our Jehovah Shammah, Daddy is here. Many bail out at this phase and let their circumstance dictate their theology.
Remember dear one, Who I Am and who you are to Me.
Phase 3: Positional Reigning
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Breaking Off the Bread of Our Lives For Others
This is the place where we break off the bread of our lives and feed it to those around us. We are learning to live and reign from the third heaven, from God’s perspective. Do you see the progression? We are making an investment with our lives so that God can position us to reign and rule and feed those He brings into our path. He has already done the work. We just need to believe and trust what He has said.
When the Going Gets Tough… Stand Your Ground
We are learning to break off the spirit of mammon and not run to other “gods” when things get tough. Stand your ground. Remain in the truth. Realize sister and brother, that when things get tough, the enemies are not our focus…God is and He said He has prepared a table before us. The table is not just for us, but also for our enemies so that they can taste the goodness of our God through us.
The Table in the Presence of Our Enemies
We become the table in the presence of our enemy. He is preparing us to become the table, the feast. We are anointed with oil (the presence of God and His spirit). Our cup runs over and goodness and mercy follow us all our days. Why? Because we have learned to trust the process and become like a child. Christ in us our hope of glory. He has come that we would have life and not just life, but life abundantly.
Do you trust His words? He is worthy of it all!!! Be encouraged. Get back up and keep smiling. The enemy will not understand this kind of love because he is an orphan. You are not dear one. You are His beloved.