Tuesday Morning Recap

Gentlemen,

Saturday, October 8 we will have a party at Andy’s lake house – details to follow.

Tuesday we continued our series on the 23rd Psalm with a discussion of verse four.

“Even 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. ”

What is the valley of the shadow of death?

Grady advised that it actually exists in Israel. It is a narrow pass where predators and thieves could lie in wait to ambush shepherd and sheep. Life can be like that pass. Troubles lie in wait and strike without warning.  David walked through this type of valley. Goliath tried to kill David and Saul persecuted David. We discussed how many members of our group are experiencing this type of valley.

On other occasions we create our own valleys. One of the lowest moments of David’s life was when he was confronted by Nathan – “You are that man!” David committed adultery, murder and violated the peoples trust.  The consequences of his sin were great, however, the Lord never left David. When we suffer from self inflicted wounds it is important to remember that God is with us. He will lead us back to the green pastures and still waters.

How do His rod and staff comfort us?

Jed pointed out that the shepherd’s rod protects and disciplines the sheep. Without the shepherd’s protection the sheep would be devoured by predators. Without the shepherd’s discipline the sheep can never reach its potential. The shepherds attention is sometimes unwelcome but always necessary if we are to become the men God intends us to be.

The shepherd’s staff rescues the sheep. Sheep will sometimes fall into water or a pit. The shepherd uses his staff to pull the sheep to safety.  I doubt we will ever know, this side of heaven, how many times the Lord has pulled us to safety.

What would change about our lives if we took this verse seriously?

To me the most striking thing about this verse is the phrase “tho art with me.” Whenever I find myself in difficult circumstances God is with me. There is nothing I can do to earn his love. It is a free gift.

As I said in class – religion is the worst invention of man. Religion says you can earn God’s approval. Christianity, properly understood, is not a religion, it is a relationship. When we understand this we can relax. No more working to earn God’s approval and no more fear that we can lose His love.

Next week verse five. Consider the following questions:

1) “Tho preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies” What does that image mean to you?

2) What is the significance of having your head anointed with oil?

3) The imagery used by David is of a victory celebration. Do you feel like a victor? If not why not?

See you Tuesday.

John

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