“God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.” ~A.W Tozer (PSALM 23)
Take a moment and read Psalm 23. I know that most of us reading this article have been blessed to have already read, time and again, the wisdom and prophetic prayer of King David, the Shepherd after God’s own heart.
But have you taken the time to read it in the context of struggle? Have you read it through the perspective of process, or transition?
Here is David, a man dedicated to the perfect will, way, and call of God upon His life being bounced from one injustice and battle to another, beginning his prayer and praise to the Lord with these very words, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
You may think, well that’s beautiful, especially when you continue to read the next few verses: “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” (v 2-3)
But it is the verses that follow that really bring power to the first three, and those verses start with, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” (v 4)
Here is the picture that puts the beginning praise and even the end of this chapter of the psalm into context. David is in the midst of emotional and physical turmoil. He is surrounded by conflict from family, friends, spiritual evils, and evils coming from opposing kingdoms that are around him.
Still, still, David submits himself completely to the leading of the Lord even though other forms of action seem to make much more sense than that of resting in the presence of the Lord.
THE REWARDS OF REST
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” (v 4-6)
Although David was in the eye of many storms, because he took time and put the Lord in His proper place, at the Throne of All in David’s life and circumstances, David was able to reap the rewards that were born out of resting in the Lord Himself, and those rewards were:
- A Place of Abundance: David found that all of his needs were met and would be completely met when he rested in the Lord. (v 1)
- A Secret Place of Strength, Refocus & Repose: David was blessed with a secret place of tranquility that not only quieted his heart and mind, but it strengthened him. In both Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17, we read that the righteous (that is anyone in Christ who put there trust in Him in all things) is made unmovable and even fruitful no matter the season or circumstances. He is planted by water, given deep roots, his foliage never fades nor does his fruit, and he doesn’t even notice when the heat comes. (v 2)
- Restoration & Guidance of his soul: David found refreshing and wholeness in his identity as he rested in the Way and timing of the Lord. Our soul is our personality, the man or woman we happen to be. When we are in a storm, that identity is often attacked. Resting in the Lord reaffirms our identity and strengthens us to keep pressing toward the call and promise even in the midst of the storm. So when David rested, not only was his soul refreshed and rejuvenated but because he was rerooted in the truth of God’s faithfulness and promise, he was primed and ready to receive the Lord’s direction for his next faith moves. And he did so knowing he would gain the victory since it was all for the name of the Lord! (v 3)
- Confidence in the Lord’s Protection & Comfort: David acknowledge his storm but he also knew with confident assurance that the Lord was guiding him through his battle and would also protect him because HE was with him. Because he recognized the presence of the Lord, he was ever ready to lean into Him for comfort and assurance with each step he took in faith. (v 4)
- Victory, Deliverance & Enrichment to Reign: In the posture of resting, David watched as the Lord elevated, blessed, and delivered him even before his enemies! LET’S BREAK THIS DOWN (ISA.53): David was given a Table, an overflowing Cup, and Oil as he rested in the Lord:
- TABLE: The table, if you can receive it, is the for the believer today the Bread of Communion. When we take the Bread of our Lord’s Body, we establish the covenant we have with Him that we are more than conquerors, healed, and free!
- THE CUP: This cup that overflows today is the Blood of our Savior, the new wine of joy, that cleanses us from all unrighteousness, redeems us from the curse of the Law of sin and death, and establishes as joint heirs with Christ, free from sin.
- THE OIL: The oil of anointing comes from His crushing on our behalf and from His crushing comes for the oil that gives us anointing and this anointing not only enables us to perform the calling and purpose in and on our lives but it destroys yokes (from the enemy) and lifts burdens (from the enemy.) And our resting today comes ever more as often as we sit and take from this table (I COR 11:23-26, ISAIAH 10:27
- Confident Hope for Tomorrow & Established Relationship with Christ: When David, when we, rest in the Lord we gain the confidence in knowing that yes indeed His goodness and mercy are with and following us always. But not only that, but we know that our position in Him will never, NEVER, be removed, for in walking and resting with Him in one trial, we fall deeper in love with Him and closer even before the next! (v 6)
PERSPECTIVE BORN OF REST
The glorious beauty about Psalm 23 is that no matter which direction you read it, the Lord’s faithfulness to His children and those who take rest in Him are undeniable and the fruits and rewards from both directions are immeasurable. David began with praise and blessing and ended with praise and blessing.
Again, David acknowledges his trouble but he magnifies his triumph in the King of Kings!
SEEING PSALM 23 IN REVERSE & SEEING CHRIST’S GOODNESS WHILE WE REST
6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
3. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
1. The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
CHRIST IS ALWAYS ON TIME AT THE RIGHT TIME
Take your rest in Him. Go with Him into the quiet place when He calls out to you, no matter the cares, no matter the storms. You lack nothing in His presence and rest. But you are blessed to gain everything
Remember, Christ is always on time at the right time when we rest!