Friday, July 4, 2008

Psalm 23:5-6 God’s Provision and Our Redemption

I am blessed to live in a country where we have the kinds of freedoms that we do. There are a lot of brave men and women who died to make sure that my family and I can sleep in peace in a great country. They provided this freedom at the cost of their very lives. However blessed I am to live here in America, I am fully aware that I will not be here forever. Eventually, my God will take me home to the place prepared for me before the foundation of the world. While I await the day of my heavenly homecoming, however, I know that my God, in His providence, provides for me here on this earth.

This is echoed in the last part of verse 5 where the psalmist writes “My cup overflows”. I have experienced hardship and tough times in my life. From changing careers to going back to school to studying accounting and being laid off 3 times in a row all while dealing with the trials of a first time father, there was a period of a few years there where I honest to goodness thought I was going to crack up. I can still feel the scars, metaphorically speaking. I once described myself to someone as being like a clay pot that had been under too much pressure and had developed small little cracks. I was held together but only barely. However, even in those dark days, my God allowed me to keep food on the table, gas in the car, clothes on our backs, a roof over our heads, and diapers on my baby girl’s butt. I didn’t have everything I wanted but I had what I needed. Compared to what my situation could have been, I would definitely say my cup did, in fact, run over. God blessed me abundantly beyond what I deserved. It was by His sovereign grace that I was able to finish school and land this really great job. Even though things looked bad sometimes and I didn’t know how I would make it, God definitely filled my cup to overflowing and I praise Him for that. The psalmist echoes those sentiments in this verse.

Of course, I realize that this world is not my home to quote the old hymn “I can’t feel at home in this world anymore”. I can have joy, peace, and contentment in this world because of my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I know, however, that the ultimate peace and joy will not come until I reach heaven. I can picture what it’s going to be like when I finally get there as I read the last verse of this psalm. I will experience God’s “goodness and mercy” while I live here on earth, but when I reach heaven where I “will dwell forever”, I will know what true contentment is. The psalmist, speaking as a sheep of the Lord, echoes here his feelings of complete satisfaction. He says “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. Where else, he might say, would I rather be than here where my Shepherd who has provided for me as we journeyed into the table land of the mountains and back again. My Shepherd loves me and takes care of me. I wouldn’t leave here because I am so bountifully blessed. When we arrive home in heaven, we’ll know—truly know—what the psalmist means. We will experience first hand the blessings that will come from dwelling in the presence of God in heaven forever.

Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible Copyright 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission

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