One of the greatest joys and privileges of my life is getting to walk with my family in ministry. This week on the blog my beautiful daughter, Arah shares some amazing revelation and insight that she has recently received from The Lord. It really touched my heart when she shared it and I know it will bless and minister to you as well!
In the Father's love,
YOU ARE VALUED.
Breathe in the fresh grass, feel it’s soft touch on your skin as you lie down looking at the sky. Aroma of bread from the picnic you’ve just finished begins to fade with the wind. Hear the light rush of water in a near stream, feel the presence of your friend beside you. Now take your friends hand and walk with him. Listen to his laughter and the gentle smile in his voice as he talks not only about his plans but your plans, your life, everything about you that pleases Him. Sense your heart being at peace listening to his words.
Psalm 23 is a passage most Christians, and likely non-Christians, know or have heard in their lifetime. It’s honestly one of the verses that we can easily become jaded to because we’ve heard it so many times. Don’t get me wrong, hearing it often isn’t a bad thing but sometimes is easy to have knowledge of something without knowing what it’s actually saying.
Maybe it’s from hearing it so often as a kid but I, as a visual learner, always had a very literal mental picture while reading this. Me, the sheep running around in beautiful green pastures while Jesus the shepherd smiled and watched and played along. It may not be an inaccurate picture but as I read this passage recently I saw a few entirely new pictures. I saw me, as the 21 year old Arah today, walking side by side with Jesus my friend among beautiful green pastures and flowing waters. Him guiding the way, living life, talking. The intimate moments of close friends who genuinely care for and about each other.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need. He let’s me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters. He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name sake.” vs 1-3
Currently I’m living in the Netherlands for a few months and one of the cultural differences here is that it’s generally okay for a woman to be alone at night riding a bike. In America, that’s typically not the case. When I read the next verse it was very easy for me to place myself in this situation.
“Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and staff - they comfort me.” vs 4
As I walked with my friend, we came across a dark alleyway, the kind that most suggest you stay away from. Shadows covered every corner and you could only see what was directly in front of you. While normally my heart would have fallen to my stomach from fear and I would have ran the other way, the peace never left me. I continued listening to my friends laughter and the gentle smile in his voice, knowing that I was safe because he was with me. Sure, I stepped closer to him, placed my hand in the crook of his arm, and he welcomed it.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and faithful love with pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.” vs 5-6
The scene then switched to me as a guest being hosted in a castle by the King. Sitting at a long wooden table in a stone room, my stomach twisted in knots for those around me were those who knowingly did not like me. The seat next to me was empty for a time because it was the King’s seat, my friend’s seat who walked with me through the green fields and the dark alleyway. Unlike most King’s, this one served his guests personally, pouring wine into each of there goblets and as he did his eyes and smile remained on me and peace entered my body. It was clear to everyone that I wasn’t a simple guest who the King felt obligated to host for a night or two, possibly due to some family relation. I was a highly valued, highly favored, beloved, and forever welcomed guest of the King.
As I write this I can’t help but wonder about all of the others at the dinner table. I believe the Lord has purpose in everything, preparing a place for them and personally serving them wine. Writing this I was put back at the table and I wanted to shout to them “this can be you!”
I’m not sure where you find yourself in this story, but be honest within yourself about where you saw your role as you read it. If it’s in my shoes then enjoy your walks with the Lord, the intimate relationship harvested among the green pastures, dark alleyways, and dinner tables. Maybe it annoyed you to read about those experiences and you find yourself as another guest at the dinner table. If so, I truly believe that the Lord invited you there to tell you that He wants to show you how much He values you, how much he craves a relationship with you. Talk to Him about it. Prayers don’t always have to be formal, they’re simply a two-way conversation between you and God; you talk, He listens, He talks, you listen.
My prayer is that whether you do have a close relationship with the Lord already or not, you see how valued you truly are. There are multiple names of God used in this passage and if you look at them in order they appear like this:
Jehovah-Rohi - the Lord, my Shepherd (vs 1)
Jehovah Jireh - God who provides (vs 1)
Jehovah-Shalom - God of Peace (vs 2)
Jehovah-Rapha - God that Heals (vs 3)
Jehovah-Tsidkenu - God of Righteousness (vs 3)
Jehovah-Makkah - God who Smites [defeat or conquer] (vs 4)
Jehovah-Gmolah - God of Recompense [restitution; paid for; reward] (vs 4)
Jehovah-Shammah - God of Presence (vs 5)
Jehovah-M’Kaddesh - God who Sanctifies (vs 5)
Jehovah-Sabaoth - God of Hosts (vs 6)
I prayed about what God wanted to say through His names in relation to these pictures He gave me in this passage and the order in which the names are presented is what was pointed out. Our Shepherd is the God who provides peace, healing, righteousness, conquering, restitution, his ever-present presence, and He is always providing these things to us in so many ways that at times we are unaware of.
Throughout all of these images or scenes God gave me to share with you while reading Psalm 23 and names of God used in this passage, we see how our friend, our King, our shepherd genuinely loves us. Genuinely likes providing for us, spending time with us.