Be Refreshed – Day 3
by Andy Frost
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 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 (vs4-5).
We don’t know the future. And as parents we often have a flurry of concerns for our children. Will they get into the right school? Will they make good friends? How much should we be concerned about their grades? Are we making the right choices about their futures?
We can end up living in a place of fear.
Psalm 23 begins with three verses that depict a serene country walk with green pastures, quiet waters and straight paths. Then verse four changes tack and begins talking about the darkest of valleys. In verse five, we have this strange picture of a meal prepared while surrounded by enemies. This is David the warrior writing and I picture this fine dining experience with sword-wielding soldiers set all around, waiting to attack.
In life, we are never sure how our circumstances will pan out. There will probably be times with green pastures and there will likely be some dark valleys.
In verse five, although enemies surround David, God has laid a banquet for him. His head is dripping with oil, which was a precious commodity, and his cup is overflowing. This is a beautiful picture showing that even in this dark moment with the enemy all around, God is present, meeting David’s needs.
As we look into the future we can often fear what lies ahead, but this psalm is a reminder that we are ultimately not defined by circumstances. We can’t control the future. The Israelites were instructed to keep the Sabbath holy, resting one day in seven. Even during the harvest times, they were to keep this rhythm. It may have meant that they collected less crops but it reminded them that they were not the masters of their own destiny. They were to trust in the presence of God.
God-centred living is not about being dictated to by circumstance. It’s about responding to the provision of God.
God-centred living is not about being defined by what we can make happen. It’s about being rooted in God’s grace.
God-centred living is not about being fixated on the “what ifs” in the future. It’s about responding to God, who is our shepherd, in whom we lack nothing.
Put your concern for the future to one side and look for moments when you recognise the presence of God. It could be in the joy of your child’s laughter or the stillness as your children sleep. God is present.
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