I shall not want

So, I haveĀ got to know psalm 23 well over the past few years. But I never noticed this great promise until today. I SHALL NOT WANT. I think a big question when you are in recovery is, how am I going to get through this? In fact, anyone going through a hard thing can think, what about tomorrow? In fact the Lord Jesus had a few things to say on that.

But here, right smack bang in the start of Psalm 23 is the great promise. With the Lord as my shepherd, I shall not want.

I will not have a time where my needs outweigh his supply.

There will not be a moment where I can justifiably say, he has let me down.

As he gently works on my wants, I will come to see that there is nothing I lack.

How did I miss it? Because God’s word is not just expansive for the scholars and deep thinkers; it is expansive for the believer and you can never wring it dry!

HOWEVER, beware of ‘deceitful desires’ that is another phrase that has come back to me today. Paul mentions this in Ephesians 4. As we are fundamentally broken our desires would throw us about like a ship on a tumultuous sea. We need to be wary that not everything our desires feed us is right. In fact, they could be getting used as the devil’s handmaidens to con us. Our desires are deceitful and so we need to learn to be suspicious of them. When I want something, feel a longing, notice a prod…is that thing actually true and right according to God’s word? Do I need to think about that now? How COULD I choose to think about it using good doctrine. The battle after all, is to have good doctrine rather than bad. And, everything is theological. It is theological because there is a battle raging. Thankfully the adversary is defeated.

So, realise that in the truest and best defined sense, we shall not want. But realise also, that the things you are wanting are possibly handmaidens sent to deceive you. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT.

Advertisements

Hebrews 12: a treasury for the tested

  1. We see that sin easily entangles (I have the image of the net thrown by a gladiator). I sort of imagine that getting properly entangled takes time and so I will notice it easily. But no. Sin easily entangles. Had we considered that, we might not have so easily got trapped (v1). But the good news is we CAN ‘throw it off.’
  2. We have a great cloud of witnesses willing us on. Our true comfort in human terms does not come from sympathetic listeners, but from the fellowship of brothers and sisters who have passed through such trials.
  3. Fix our eyes on Jesus, as per previous post. We are saved by looking, Numbers 21.
  4. Did you noticed Jesus scorned the shame of the cross. That is he derided it, snubbed it, put it in it’s place. We also must refuse to be shamed. Shaming is a big thing in many cultures and the devil uses it profusely.
  5. God disciplines us, because he loves us. Not because he hates us (v5). An African friend of mind said: ‘Simon in my culture we discipline our children, not because we hate them but because we love them.’ He was appalled at the state of our society and his words hit the mark after a rather unruly youth Bible study!
  6. When we have hardship (v7) we should make ourselves stronger by saying, this could be loving discipline by my Father. It is the mark of being a son (v8).
  7. v10 it is always for our good and to preserve us in the faith.
  8. v11 Don’t be surprised if it feels horrible at the time– there is the guarantee of a harvest of righteousness which comes later. Peace is also promised later. How true this has been in my experience. There is a time promised when this seasonal discomfort will end and the malicious thought that it will ‘never end’ is to be fought.

 

John Newton’s advice on persevering

These points are from Vaughan Roberts talk at the Evangelical Ministry Assembly (2016)

Things we can learn from Newton’s writings…

  1. Always delight in grace

He resolved ‘to tell the world from my own experience there is mercy for blasphemers.’

Keep close to the atonement he told ministers.

2. Keep looking to Christ

Realised that only through Christ he would grow in godliness. He often quote Hebrews 12:2 with reference to fixing our eyes on Jesus. Also 2 Cor 3:18.

There is the importance of seeing Jesus as ruling, reigning, interceding for us. A believing view of Jesus ‘does the business.’ We are not to resolve to become holy in our OWN strength, but by looking to him.

3. Be disciplined in devotion

Keep directing your soul to hungering and thirsting for Jesus. We need a humble dependence in our changing circumstances.

Sometimes getting our own heart in order is no easier than raising the dead.

4. Maintain close relationships

5. Suffer well

Ministry he said was ‘a sorrow full of joy.’

Don’t focus on the trials themselves, but look back to the cross, forward to glory and upward to the sovereign Lord.

Leave our troubles to themselves and ‘walk to Golgotha.’

‘All of our concerns lie in the hands that bled for us.’

‘If it be the way to heaven, the end will make amends.’

Amen