Thursday, July 14, 2011

Psalm 23

 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. 
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
 Even 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 overflows.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

1 When you picture the green pastures what do you see?
Yep, the South Dakota farm girl in me probably pictured the same things you did...the flat grassy plains of the Midwest? Yes, please!
However, this is the green pasture:
Straight from the Judean Wilderness, this picture shows God's heart for His flock. Israel has about a three month span when they get nice rainfall (none in the desert areas) and during the rest of the year they get very little rain, if any. However, at night there is a dew that settles on the ground and without it any plant life would completely die off. This dew takes the little roots in the ground and allows them to spring up just a little bit over night. 
A good shepherd leads his flock to their needed amount of food each day. He never overgrazes an area. He never leaves his flock starving. He provides. 
What do we really need today? How much do we worry about the things that we don't need until tomorrow?
 2 The number one cause of death in the desert is surprisingly drowning. During the rainy season there are many floods.The nearby limestone mountains do not allow rain to soak in quickly so it rushes over the land, carving deep canyons over the years called wadis and wiping out whatever is in its path. The picture above shows the kind of cut I'm talking about. During the rainy season, there might be water pooling here. This is when you need the good shepherd. He knows to take you to the quiet waters where there is no chance of suddenly being swept away. 
3 I learned in Israel that sheep are not smart animals. They would walk right off a cliff while the sheep in front of them. But, they do know their shepherd's voice and follow it. I feel like a sheep sometimes. I do dumb things. Do we know our shepherd's voice?
4 Nights in the desert get really, really dark. But even when we can't see clearly which way to go we know our God's voice. 
A good shepherd would never hit his sheep. He uses his rod to defend sheep from predators and his staff to hook and guide his sheep away from something dangerous. 
5 Hospitality is huge in Israel. They would drop anything to even just give directions for you to travel somewhere. When eating at their house, they fill your plate over and over again. Your cup is filled to overflow. 
Olive oil is very valuable, due to is many usages in Israel. One value is observed when they pour it on your head to keep the bugs away. Kings also have their heads anointed with oil. 
6 Our God is so good. I want to dwell in His house!! 

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