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The Lord is My Shephered part 6

As we have been looking at Psalm 23, we have been encouraged that God, our divine shepherd, provides our every
need, cares for our every need, and directs our every step and stop.

We now come to verse 4 where David as a shepherd would have led his flock up and down hills and through valleys.
As he recalls those occasions, he draws a parallel for Christians. It is because of these words in verse 4 that this
psalm is often used at funerals. They are words of enormous encouragement.

For many years my sister-in-law lived in the shadow of death due to cancer. She walked by faith with her husband
and children knowing the future was uncertain at best and very short at worst. As the years went by, she continued
to exhibit optimism that God would sustain her, and if He so desired would heal her. However, if He didn’t, she knew
that her destiny was secure in Christ Jesus. She recognized that her body was nothing more than a tent, a covering
for our soul and spirit as the apostle Peter states.

The wonderful truth for Christians is that death is only a brief shadow because it is the doorway to eternity.
However, the choice one makes in this life obviously determines where the doorway of death leads. Sadly, for those
who reject the gift of God’s salvation, death is not only a dark cloud, but something to be feared. For many, thoughts
of death conjure up complete fear and denial. You may not be facing death right now, but some other struggle or
battle. How do you deal with such a shadow, with such a valley experience? Well firstly, we need to understand that
a shadow cannot harm us. While we may be experiencing a time of shadow, we need to see that shadows are not
permanent. I know from my own experience there are trials that you think will never end, but they do. One thing I
have noticed about shadows is that they tend to distort or give us an unclear view of what is being shaded. Going
through shadow times is not the time to make critical decisions, as often our perspective on the particular problem
is distorted.

We need to understand that as we walk through the valley of trial and tribulation, we are only passing through, and
not setting up camp in the valley. The reality is we learn most about God, about ourselves, and our need for a
deeper walk with Him through these times. In fact, we can have our most profound witness through our valley
experiences. Someone has said that in our Christian lives we are either entering a valley experience or emerging
from one. Again, we need to understand that valley experiences can transform our worship of God, and dramatically
deepen our prayer life. In all of this, we must constantly remind ourselves that God is there with us and that He will
never leave us or forsake us.

Now a change of pace comes in verse 5. In some of the previous verses we have been on the move, but now we are
sitting at the table ready to have a feast. It is a feast in the battlefield; in a place where you would least expect to get
one. In fact, it could be a good case for some fast food.

I guess we often wonder if God is aware of our needs or indeed is capable of meeting our needs. It is important to
understand that experiencing the Lord’s abundant supply is not only linked to our relationship with God, but also
our obedience to God. I think there are times when we believe that God should prepare a feast for us no matter
what condition our walk with God is in. So often when things are going well, we manage to forget God, or at least
forget that God has blessed us with the success that has come our way.

However, when we walk with God, we can look forward to times of feasting which overcomes any discontent we
might have whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. Most important of all is that we feast on God’s Word, so
that we can grow in our Christian maturity and character. It is distinctly possible that we can go to church, Bible
study, and yes, even be involved in a Christian ministry or organization and be suffering a severe case of spiritual
malnutrition.

We don’t need to be carrying unnecessary burdens by not committing our struggles to God. This may be easier said
than done when you get a surprise announcement like your business has just gone broke, or you have been
diagnosed with a deadly disease like cancer.

However, did you notice that this feast is provided for us in the midst of our enemies, in the place where we might
least expect to find such abundant provision? The wonderful thing is that such abundant blessing tends to be so
much more appreciated in the presence of our enemies, because that is when we most need it.

Carl Carmody
Challenge Editor

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As we have been looking at Psalm 23, we have been encouraged that God, our divine shepherd, provides our every need, cares for our every need, and directs our every step and stop. Home Who Is Jesus? Who We Are What We Do Where We Serve Get Involved Newsletters Share A Testimony Share Your Faith…
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