APRIL 13: BACKWARD TO FORWARD

BACKWARD TO FORWARD

By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. He restoreth my soul, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. 
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psalm 23:6-1
Today's Read: Psalm 23:6-1: Isaiah 1
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 There's a great tendency to deal casually, carelessly, and mindlessly with people and arenas that become a routine everyday part of our lives.
Consider:
-We're more short and impatient with our spouses and children, than even strangers, on account of the ongoing, interconnecting day by day interactions we have with them. We take them for granted.
-We drive the same route everyday on our way to work and, when asked what houses line the way, we find ourselves questioning whether we've ever driven the route at all. We're not paying attention anymore.
-We attend celebrations and funerals and corporately utter the Lord's Prayer or Psalm 23 as though it's a necessary formality, a "right of passage," expressive of camaradie or united spiritualism with hearts entirely out of sync.
Does it matter?
Yes ... I think so.
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Our senses become deadened when our expressions hold hollow and are spoken in rote, liturgical manner.
We speak without heart and our hearts do not speak at all.
"Wherefore the Lord said, 'Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men."
Isaiah 29:13
and
"Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophecy of you saying, 'This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship Me ..."
Matthew 15:7-9
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Psalm 23 is written from backward to forward in an effort to wake us up;
To shake us from our fearful lethargy,
To jar us from the stagnant pools we have begun to swim in.
From beginning to end the chief Shepherd of the soul desires to interject His presence into our lives in living, breathing, life-enhancing ways.
-From this Psalm, we are delivered from hell by our Redeemer, and prepared for an eternity:
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
-From this Psalm, we are delivered from our enemies, rescued by our Redeemer, and granted favor and elevation within His holy presence:
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over."
-From this Psalm, we acknoweldge evil and death as "part" of life's journey, but recognize Christ's eternal presence as our source of safety and guidance through it.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
-From this Psalm we experience an internal and eternal restorative power found only in our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
"He restoreth my soul, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
-From this Psalm we are granted a peaceful passage into the eternal presence of our living Redeemer. We find our rest and our true peace in Christ alone.
"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters."
-From this passage, from beginning to end, the chief Shepherd and Redeemer of your soul and mine, finds its "true" contentment in Christ alone. And when we are "fully" with Him, we are present "with" Him, and our wants our diminished and we are satisfied.
"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want."
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The valley of apathy is more to be feared than the valley of death.
We must remove ourselves from such scenes and pray for redemptive life to beat again.
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Three Study Suggestions:
1) What happened in the reading "backward" of Psalm 23?
2) What lethargy is Christ desirous of lifting you out of, and are your mouth and heart in sync?
3) Purchase the book PILGRIM'S PROGRESS by John Bunyan.
It'll wake you and has the potential to "jar you" from your earthly nap.
Read Christ's word and live again.