Posted by: arieliondotcom | August 17, 2013

The Almighty’s Amber Alert (Psalm 23)

The Almighty’s Amber Alert (Psalm 23)

The 23rd Psalm is probably the most popular Scripture in the world, even to non-Christians. That’s because we think of the peaceful pasture with sheep milling about. We identify ourselves as having a peaceful stroll through the meadow. If we accidentally wander into trouble, GOD will get us out. We even get to eat well and rub it in to enemies that are looking on in jealousy. And we’re followed by goodness and mercy. It’s all good, as they say. What’s not to like?

But that’s not what Psalm 32 is about. Psalm 32 is GOD’s Amber Alert. That’s the notice police put out over radio and television when a child is missing. David isn’t writing about sheep wandering gently where they like. He’s writing about GOD being in total control and the reassurance of not being left to wander wherever he likes. It’s not about a gentle walk in the pasture but being carefully guarded and guided by GOD where He wants you to go. Psalm 23 is an alarm that someone’s not where they should be. And GOD is putting out a search party to find them.

David begins with setting the stage. GOD is his Shepherd. He isn’t free to go where he wants. He may only go where GOD allows. While this is the opposite of the freedom people say they want, David says it’s actually much more secure.

David talks about sheep but most of us are more familiar with babies. He’s like a baby in a playpen. His captivity is his freedom to play with anything within reach. But wandering off on his own he’d never be free from danger or the fear of it.

Within the playpen is everything he needs. He wants for nothing. His food is nearby in a bottle. His blanket and pillow are there for a nap. Toys are there to play with and learn from and a smile and cuddle are nearby in the Father’s watchful protection.

Again, notice David says the LORD *makes* him lie down in green pastures. It’s not an option. He’s *led* beside still waters. Think of a child who is made to take a nap against his will. All the excitement of rushing streams and tumbling waterfalls, with their danger, are gone. The LORD enforces a rest for His children. Notice that all of this security is only for those willing to be in GOD’s flock, His children. With GOD’s control comes the peace of relying on Him. And in those forced “time outs” of rest, the world’s frustrations are pushed aside and GOD restores the soul of His child.

GOD leads us because He wants us to go His Way, not our own. When we’re walking with Him He holds our hands and tells us to hold onto Him. He leads us in His way for His Name’s sake. When others see our behavior He doesn’t want others to think less of Him because of us. They need Him as much as we do and He doesn’t want to disillusion them or frighten them away.

GOD walks us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. This isn’t a case of us just stumbling into trouble. David knew there were times he had to guide his sheep through dangerous areas. During those times his sheep had to have more discipline than ever. The rod and staff are our comfort because they’re used to keep us from danger, including of our own making. We are not defenseless but GOD Himself is our Protector when we walk where and when and how He guides us.

As part of that protection, we can eat in peace no matter what the circumstances. The word for “enemies” here means any kind of oppression, holding in or holding back. Like the baby in that crib, even though there are all kinds of dangers surrounding us and the lights go out, we’re safe in the perimeter GOD keeps us in. We’re bathed and perfumed in baby oil, powdered and pampered with all the food we need and all the security there is.

So what was all that stuff about searching for children and Amber Alerts I mentioned? You must be willing to come to GOD and walk in His Way for Him to save you. In a mysterious process GOD uses, we must answer and run to our Father when He calls. He has all of the circumstances of life turning you to Him but you must respond.

Today, we know the Shepherd David wrote about is JESUS Christ, who described Himself as the Good Shepherd. He said He came to seek and to save those who are lost. But He also said, as much as He longs to have us follow Him, we must be willing. There’s an Amber Alert, an All Points Bulletin, to find you. GOD has sent His sheepdogs, Goodness and Mercy, to hunt you down and lead you to Him.And once you are His they will continue to follow you and keep you in the sheepfold. They will chase you all your life, but how do you know how long you will live? Death is as close as the next heart beat or blood clot. An accident or unexpected illness.

For those who have the freedom of being slaves to Christ, there is the only true security. They have the comfort of His forgiveness of their sins and guidance to keep them from sinning. They have the freedom to enjoy all the good, pure things of Life in joy under His protection. They have all they need and the reassurance of Christ’s Presence in every circumstance. They have real satisfaction in this life and the eternal life with Himself in the Father JESUS is leading them to. And they will live with Him forever.


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