Thursday, November 16, 2006

He Keeps Us Alive

Have you ever noticed that in the first three verses of the 23rd Psalm, David speaks of God in the third person?

It is as if he were explaining God to someone else. I can almost picture him telling one of his kids about God.

You can tell that it is really personal for him – he speaks in terms of "me" and "my" – but everything spoken of God is in the third person.

Just read the verses and emphasize the words "he" and "his" as you do so.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

He is the one who keeps me alive.

Indeed, He is the only necessary thing in my life.

The purpose of this passage is not to communicate a sense of peace and tranquility. It is communicating the sustaining nature of God.

For a sheep, to "lie down in green pastures" means to have food.
To be led "beside still waters" means to have drink.
To be led in "right paths" means to avoid harm and distress.

God "restores my soul," or better translated, God "keeps me alive."

Just as sheep owe their lives to the shepherd, the psalmist confirms that he owes his life to God.

We tend to remember that God means everything to us only when we have lost everything.

I can tell you from my own personal experience that God has come alongside me when my world was crashing down. He sustained me.

David could not survive without God. It was God who kept him alive tending sheep when predators were all about. It was God who gave him victory over Goliath. It was the Lord who comforted him when he lost his son with Bathsheba. It was the Lord who preserved him when his enemies, including his son, pursued him.

He keeps us alive!

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