Psalm 23 - Tough Shoes
OPEN: Hey. Good morning. And welcome to STAG. I’m Jack. We’re going to take another look at the 23rd Psalm. Do a little of what I call Trans-substitution to fill out the details. It’s much richer than we read in English. Being a Believer is a tough Walk, but I want to focus on how to deal with the toughness. We’ll also be taking communion, so you may want to go now and get your elements. But first….
UW The following hour of…..
DISC The views you hear are mine and not…..
Here’s Psalm 23 from the King James:
Psa 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psa 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Psa 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psa 23:4 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 .
Psa 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Psa 23:6 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.
A PsalmH4210 of David.H1732 The LORDH3068 is my shepherd;H7462
It's more than someone to follow. He takes an active part in our lives.
I shall notH3808 want.H2637 =Just to make sure we know, this means lack
As we travel he leadethH5095 = His sparkling light conducts, protects and sustains me (through life) to the peaceful places stillH4496 waters.H4325 by the waters edge. This “leadeth” is more than just someone to follow.
he leadethH5148 =Not the same word. This is to guide, implied is transport
me in the pathsH4570 a circular track of righteousnessH666 =right, equity, prosperity
Though it seems like I am walking valleyH1516 of the shadow of death,H6757 at the bottom of a deep gorge, with shadows like death itself
I will not give reverence to or fear evil
Your righteous branch thy rodH7626 of punishment, war and rule, and
Your active support and sustenance thy staffH4938 comfortH5162 me. cause me to sigh a great sigh of relief.
anointestH1878 my headH7218 with oil;H8081
In the face of the front of those who cramp, oppress and shut me up
Original=You made fat with oil my head. You placed my head in honor with your oil
I can't hold together my cupH3563 runneth over.H7310 all the satisfaction you give me.
Goodness shows God’s omnipresence. Right down to all the parts of speech.
This word is defined in Strong's as:
From H2895;(which is the verb to be) good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adverb (well):
God is Good.
Surely goodness in every sense and kindness, piety and beauty mercyH2617 shall followH7291 shall trail after me
I will I will dwellH3427 sit down in the quiet of the houseH1004 family dwelling of the LORDH3068 self Existence
for for ever.H753 H3117 the length of all days to come.
The Self Existent Creator tends my life, taking an active part in all my actions, therefore, I have need of nothing. As we travel, His sparkling light sustains, protects, and conducts me (through life) to the peaceful places by the waters edge, where crises become mere challenges.
By the implant of His Spirit, He returns me to my original vitality. He provides a safe, lush home for me to lie down in. He is bound by His Word to guide and transport me along the circular track of right, equity and prosperity.
Though it seems at times like I am walking at the bottom of a deep gorge, with shadows like death itself, I will not give reverence to or fear evil.
Your righteous branch of punishment, war and rule, and Your active support and sustenance, cause me to sigh a great sigh of relief.
Right in front of the face of those who cramp, oppress and shut me up, You arrange and order my sustenance.
Your Graciousness has placed me in a position of honor.
Surely goodness in every sense and kindness, piety and beauty shall trail after me and I will sit down, taking up literal residence, in the quiet of the family dwelling of the self Existence for the length of all days to come.
When I studied this Psalm a number of years ago I presented it on Straight Talk this way:
The LORD is my shepherd. I shall willfully excise all desire from my life. HE supplies all my needs
Even though I’m walking through this shadow world, where I’m covered over by the example of the Real Death, I refuse to let the fear of evil and death divert my trusting action toward God.
With Him, I can always find peace of mind.
He lifts my inner being, and faithfully strengthens me to do Right, just to show that He keeps His Word.
I know that God’s might and protection are available to me; and that gives me comfort.
He provides for me, in spite of apparent obstacles.
He leads me.
He blesses me beyond my needs.
As long as I’m alive, He’ll be there to bless me, and lift me up when I stumble.
My trust assures me a place at His side throughout all eternity.
The believers Walk is a tough trip. Dr. Scott used to preach this message every year, just to remind us that we are assured by God that this tough trip includes tough shoes. Dr. Scott used to call it, Tough shoes for a tough trip. The text comes out of Deut 33:25 and also contains the promise of help. Before I read that verse, let me remind you that Paul tells us that any and all the promises that God makes to anyone in the whole bible are there for us to claim. Second Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” Paul is referring to Jesus. And any of you who have a King James Version will notice that the word “Amen” is capitalized. This is true for most translations. Most translations, though, have taken the idea that this amen is what we say at the end of a prayer. And to me this always meant “the end.” Or, “so be it.” The thing that catches my eye is that just the word “amen” doesn’t warrant a capital “A”. If you go to the Greek, you’ll see that there is the word to before the word amen. It says, “kai di autou to Amen,” also through him the Amen. It’s the Amen. Not just any old amen at the end of a prayer, but The Amen.
Paul and others tell us that it was Jesus who actually carried out the Creation. I don’t know what his name was at that time, but it was the entity that became the man Jesus who spoke the worlds into existence. You’ve heard me say that this amen is one of the three words for “faith” in the Old Testament. They all, like the Greek word pistis, express dependence. One word means lean on a staff. Another means “run to the shelter of something. This amen word as Dr Scott taught it means a state of mind that doesn’t have to think about an action. It just moves immediately toward God, using His word as a foundation. A state of mind. Matthew Henry says this about the promises and who Jesus is: “They are made (the promises) in Christ Jesus (2Co_1:20), the Amen, the true and faithful witness;” In other words, Jesus is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. He is “The Amen.” Jesus was/is the acting state of mind that accomplished God’s will. That’s why the verse ends with, “unto the glory of God.” Our action, based on The Amen’s action brings glory to God by showing that He is faithful to do what He’s said He would. There’s a pile of stuff in that little four letter word. Amen! Back to Deuteronomy 33:25
So when God is talking through Moses to the tribe of Asher, He indicates that it’ll be a tough trip when He says that their shoes shall be of iron and brass. That one phrase tells the story. Iron is meant to show strength and brass is always symbolic of judgment. There’s the strength to make it through the judgment that comes our way. This idea of strength is reiterated in the promise that follows. The verse continues, “as thy day, so shall thy strength be.” In other words, whatever is coming your way today, whatever challenge you meet, God has given you the strength to overcome that challenge. You may not have the strength to overcome ALL challenges, but you’ll have enough to get through the ones that come that day. Dr. Scott used to joke that you’d better watch out if you get up in the morning feeling like a tiger. So even though it’s a tough trip, God sets up the circumstances, day by day, so that we have enough strength to make it through.
So many preach a bed of roses for the Believer’s life. That idea fosters much error. It results in what’s called Once saved always saved. It suggests a perfect life. Joy, blessing and no adversity. A “soft” trip, just bring your flip-flops. All that only serves Ego, not God.
There are two sides to the Walk. The positive and the negative. Things to do and thing not to do. On the “not” side we’ve got to battle against the world, our flesh and the devil. On the “do” side we’ve got the commandments of God, the things that God says we are to do as part of our Walk. That means doing what He has said about the situations that come up, AND participating in His ministry. And believe me, that participation isn’t talking about going to church or being a Do Gooder around town.
The Believer’s actions can be broken down into two main parts, edification and support. And, as you’ll see, that leaves most of the regular church activities in the dust.
Ephesians four says that leaders and followers alike have one job. Edification of other Believers. The purpose of this is to foster 100% dependence on God, the way Jesus depended 100% on God. So, as CS Lewis said, “Our job as Believers is to show off God to each other.” I’ll let you extend that idea out and see what happens to evangelism. It’s too bad that evangelism has become the primary goal of the church, especially the protestant denominations. Save souls. The messages heard on Sunday, and every other night of the week, are all centered around witnessing to non-believers. Be a witness for Jesus. The Gospel and the Goal that’s preached now days is, “Jesus washed away your sins. Now go out and lead someone to the Lord.” Both of these ideas are NOT biblical.
The Gospel in the Bible isn’t “Jesus saves.” The Gospel that Jesus preached was that God’s kingdom was coming to the earth. Jesus didn’t preach salvation. He preached the Kingdom. Look it up. Paul even confirms that when it says that he preached the Kingdom of God. Don’t be confused by the fact that Paul used Jesus as proof of what he was saying. He preached the kingdom using Jesus resurrection as proof that God would set up a kingdom here on earth. That’s hard to prove, without supernatural evidence. It’s the same for us and the Bible. How can anyone believe the Bible? Just because the book says that we can gain eternal life, have you ever talked to anyone who is immortal? Ever talked to anyone who came back to life after being in the grave for three or more days? In the natural, you can’t prove living forever. So, you wind up proving the supernatural aspects of the Bible in order to give you the confidence to act on the things that you can’t prove.
It’s like if God showed up at your place one day and came in for a chat. Over tea, he had you write down that He was going to come to town on the second Sunday of next month. He told you to tell everyone you know. Show them the writing. So you take your writing around town telling folks that it’s true. You know it’s true. God was right there telling you. Your friends weren’t there. They didn’t see and talk to God. Well, come on, how can you possible convince anyone that you really talked with God, that what you’ve written is true? True to the point of having them change their whole lifestyle. You can’t. But, what if God had also told you that for confirmation of what you had written, that every time you told someone, He would send a cloud that spelled out your name in the sky? You tell someone, show them the writing, and your name appears in the sky. Then the writing would be hard to dismiss, wouldn’t it?
We have this same kind of proof in the Bible. You may not be able to prove eternal life, but you can prove that the Bible is written by inspiration of God. The Bible contains the supernatural evidence that the whole book is true. How? Through fulfilled prophecy. You go to my web site and you‘ll find the radio archive. In that archive you can listen to the 26 hour series that I presented here on KMUD. There are hundreds of promises made to the House of Israel that have been fulfilled. The House of Israel is only the ten tribed nation in the north of Palestine. The House of Judah was in the south. They were two separate nations for 200 years before the House of Israel was conquered and carried away by the Assyrians in 721 BC. Some of those promises/prophecies span up to 2520 years. And there are just as many fulfilled promises outside of those given to the House of Israel. There are probably close to as many promises/prophecies about Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection.
Well, now that we are prohibited from evangelizing, and preaching a different Gospel than Christ, we can get on with edifying the saints and letting the world know about God’s coming kingdom. Showing off God. How do we show off God to each other? We have to learn something about God before we can tell someone else. We have to study. Just our personal experiences, those unexpected phone calls from someone we had just been thinking about, those “lucky breaks” that came just when we needed them most, that inheritance from a long lost uncle, the one that saved your mortgage, are nice to hear, but don’t give someone else the confidence to act on the unknown. That’s what faithing is, acting on the unknown. Faithing is depending on God to work out the unknown parts of our actions.
The Holy Spirit’s job is to draw people to God. That’s what Jesus says. He does this by nudging people into positions where they hear something about God. When you’ve studied something well enough to relate it to someone else, you’ll be used by the Holy Spirit to tell that person what you know. That doesn’t mean you have to know it ALL, just some part well enough to help someone else understand. That’s the edification part of edification and support. But we also have to make our study known. That’s part of setting up the Holy Spirit. The person being drawn has to know that you have the info they are looking for. Announce a Bible study. Write a book. Put up a web site. Get on Public Access TV. Post a YouTube video. Study falls into the category of tithing your time. Tithing my time!? Ten to twenty-five percent of your time is to be spent in this way.
That’s the easy part. But I’m sure that some folks who do all these things can still be found without the Spirit. Paul indicts the Corinthians of this in 2 Corinthians 8:7-9. He’s puffing the Philippian church, telling the Corinthians that the grace, which is the giving, of the Philippians is the proof that they have the Holy Spirit. In other words, a person can’t fake giving over an extended period of time. Someone might even tithe for a little while, but it’s really not possible to overcome our survival instincts and “give away” a bunch of our money month after month, year after year, without a lot of help.
If you were told you had to give away $100 a week for the rest of your life, you’d probably balk. But if I said, ”But I’ll give you back $95 every week, you might say OK.
We’re not ready to just give up all that God says we should.
And we’re not talking about a measly $20 bucks in the plate on Sunday. When you put it all together, God says that we are to give back to Him 25% of what comes in. How long can a person sustain that kind of giving without help? You need the Spirit to accomplish that. But I want to outline how our giving supports the ministry.
There are three tithes and some mandated offerings. The first tithe is ten percent of all that comes in and it goes to the one who teaches you about God. It helps sustain the teacher, so he can teach some more. In the Old Testament, that was the Priesthood and the Temple workers, Levites. Then there is the second tithe. That comes out of the 90% that’s left from the first tithe. So now we’re up to 19% of what comes in. The third tithe comes out of the second tithe every third year. It goes locally. Firstfruits and a couple other mandated offerings bring the total up to 25%.
For an easy example, we’ll say your yearly income is $10,000. First tithe is $1000. Second tithe is $900. That’s ten percent on the 90% left from the first tithe. Firstfruits can be interpreted as the first week’s pay for the year. On 10K that’s close to $200. It works out to be about 2%. Who is ready to give up $2500 out of every $10,000 that comes in? Is the schoolteacher ready to give up $12,500 a year, out of their $50,000 salary? At that rate, he or she could buy a really nice car every two years. See what I mean? Survival won’t let you do that. Only the peace of mind that comes with knowing God is real and faithful to do what He says allows a person to faithe. Simply put, if you’re not tithing, you’re not making it.
There is one part we need to understand. Nine twelfths of the second tithe is spent on ourselves, so in effect, it comes back to us. But it’s not spent on whatever we choose. God has told us what to do with the money. The second is to be used to take three trips to “Jerusalem”. They were to go to the Temple for each of the three yearly gatherings, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. But every third year they were to use the second locally for the Levite “in your gate.” That’s the third tithe. And remember that tithing just money isn’t all that God wants. If you just tithe and don’t do any study or outreach, then you’re not doing it all. So figure on tithing your time, too. In other words, one quarter of your lifestyle is directed to God.
Very few Believers are even aware of all that God tells us to do. Most are given a list of sins they must not do. Very few hear the list of things they are to do. I bet that if most any preacher laid out just the tithing requirements, half the congregation would switch churches. My guess is that 95% of those who call themselves believers would fall away when confronted with giving 25% back to God. And that 75% of preachers can’t even teach proper giving. They themselves haven’t been taught or are too afraid to tell the truth.
Christianity is a though Walk. You’re always being asked to act on the unknown. It’s called faithing. It’s acting against apparent circumstances on what God has said about the situation. It’s always choosing the hardest option, the Right thing. It’s always trusting what God says, and not what suits us best. It’s surrender. Are you ready to surrender 25% of you life, time and money, with no thought of return? See what I mean? A tough trip.
And we’ve got three major adversaries to overcome, beside what God wants from us. We have our own self that’s bound to help us survive. We’ve got the world, whose structure is set up to make us help It to survive, and we’ve got an active adversary in the devil. Any one of these things is enough to get us down. All three are impossible to overcome without help.
Christianity is a bed of roses, but roses have thorns.
One of the intrinsic proofs of the resurrection is the dramatic change that occurred in many of the apostles. Augustine said that if we only had the example of Paul, we would be sure that Christ rose from the dead. I mean, the main opponent of the Way became its most dedicated prosecutor. Paul wrote more of the New Testament than any other writer and quoted the Old Testament more than all the others combined.
Another example of major personality changes is Peter. Impetuous, knee-jerk Peter seemed always ready, with the wrong answer. He was either “Not me!” Or, “All of me!” He ran from the Garden and then denied knowing Jesus three times. But that all changed when he saw the risen Christ. God chose Peter to give the first sermon that brought 3000 into the church in one day. He gave that sermon on the Day of Pentecost when Jerusalem was filled with those who came to worship at the Temple. And they weren’t Peter’s friendly neighbors. They were well aware of the rumor flying around town that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus, so they could say he had risen from the dead. They were an adversarial crowd who were quick to condemn the disciples for being drunk, at nine in the morning. And that didn’t make sense to me. The disciples weren’t gibbering like drunks. They were speaking known and understood languages. There are 15 different places named, from which the worshippers had come. And they all heard in their own language. Now, it doesn’t make any difference whether God let the disciples babble and the hearers were touched by God so they could understand in their own language or that God touched the disciples and they actually talked in those different languages, the accusation that they were drunk is indicative of the mob mindset. Some even propose that the High Priest had shills in the crowd to cause a disturbance, the way they did when Jesus was brought before Pilot and the crowd kept yelling “Crucify him!”
Well, I tell ya, Peter gave them the whole story. He brought up the prophets, and David’s promises as a foundation and even included the Holy Spirit. By the time he writes his first letter, he says it’s a tough trip. He says that God has made a way for us. He says that in spite of our shortcomings God has made our salvation possible. He says that our trusting actions are the way to our salvation. He says things are tough, but if we “roll” with the toughness, we’ll be with Christ when he comes back.
Peter is now the “rock” that Jesus called him. He has a good grasp on Christian life and how to deal with its challenges. He tells us in his first letter that we can rejoice in our challenges because Christ’s resurrection is the proof that God will save us. In the end we will receive the “fat oil” of Psalm 23 when Jesus comes back. The end of our faithing is salvation. Even the prophets and angels have tried to figure this out and are watching to see the end.
1 Pet 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, [where?] in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [[faithers are sustained by the HS and make it in]
1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [those tough things]
1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory [there’s that fat oil again] at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1Pe 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. [what’s the end of faithing, trusting God with our actions? Salvation.]
1Pe 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1Pe 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. [They had the HS in them. It’s always been that way. You trust God, He applies His Spirit to the mix. We faithe and God puts a bit of His Spirit into our bodies. How else could we overcome our desire to protect ourselves? We need some additional strength, beside our own.]
1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. [those old prophets were for this time, so that with the help of the HS we might preach Christ to you. Even angels are watching to see what happens.]
1Pe 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; [tough trip, sure, but God gave us tough shoes and the HS to help us along.]
Cm: It’s always been the same. God doesn’t change. When those Old Testament folks acted in trust of something God told them, he added His Spirit to the mix and they got through. They had to trust that God would make up for that ox that they sacrificed. They had to trust God that He’d give them three time as much crops if they let the ground lay fallow every seventh year. No farmer can, in the natural, not plant any crops every seventh year. What would he live on with nothing to harvest? They were acting in faith, the same as we are asked to faithe. And one of the clearest ways to faithe is Communion.
Can you prove that Jesus took on all your sickness? I can’t. But God said in Isaiah 53, “by his stripes, ye are healed”. And Peter even puts it in the past tense by saying “were” healed. That was after the resurrection. First Peter 2:24 He says Jesus took our sins and then say, “by whose stripes ye were healed.” Not being able to prove it is the unknown part I talked about. You have to do communion on faith that what Jesus, God’s mouthpiece, said is valid; that “pretending” that the bread and wine is his body and blood; remembering what he did by going to the cross.
Take the bread now and put your acknowledgement in the past and say by his stripes I was healed. “By his stripes, I was healed, in Jesus’ name. That was a faith act. Now the wine.
And don’t let anyone tell you that you have to have red wine. Water will do. Why? Because, as Paul writes to the Corinthians, it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. Well, he said it a bit differently. He said that we are to take communion with proper discernment. He said that people who don’t discern Jesus’ body and blood are open to temporary damnation. You see, the Corinthians were making communion some drunken feast. Jesus had to wait around outside.
If all you have is orange juice, it’s OK. It represents Jesus’ blood. The blood that he gave at his death. That’s what we are to focus on. Jesus’ death made it possible for us to approach God again. We acknowledge two things with the wine. We acknowledge that we aren’t deserving of anything but death and that Jesus’ actions, as an out raying of God’s grace, is what allows us to get back in touch with God. You’ll have to decide what words to use, but this time we’ll thank God for His grace and ask His mercy, because we can’t make it with His mercy.
Take the wine now and say it with me, thank you for your grace Lord, have mercy on me, in Jesus’ name.
WRAP: There it is. Two acts of trust in something God has said. And feel it or not, God just kept His promise to put a bit of His spirit in our bodies. If God pulled the plug right now, we’d make it in.
2-If you want to talk so more on Psalm 23, or communion or almost anything else, STAG is a comfortable, no-agenda place to do that. And we have Pastor Scott’s program by satellite.
3-We’re at 88 Briceland Rd. in Redway. The number is 707 923 ALLY (2559). Or on the web at STAG.ws. And please visit the radio archive. Free for the download.
4-I’ll be back here on Sept 4. I trust that you’ll tune in then.
5-Oh, sure, the Walk of a Believer is tough and it can get some folks down. But I guarantee that those who have a solid grasp on the fact of God’s reality and faithfulness stuff that toughness in one pocket and keep their eyes on God.
This is Jack, bye.
I love mail.