Wednesday, January 31, 2018

When I’m Under Attack, Learn to Just Rest

In review of Psalm 23:5 it says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” (23:5 NIV).

Bottom Line:
God provides comfort in times of need. In fact, when you turn to him, He will overflow you with blessings.

What this means to me:
God will give me comfort when the odds are against me. In fact when I turn to Him, he overflows me with his blessings.

Psalm 23 allows me to see God as a caring shepherd and a dependable guide. Given this I must follow God and obey his commands. He is my only hope for eternal life and security.

In summary, the Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need in Him. He lets provides me rest and allows me to be peaceful. He renews my strength. He guides me along the right paths. Paths that bring honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest situation, I need not fear for He is always close beside me. His rod and staff protect and comfort me. In times of trouble, he will prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. He honors me by anointing my head with oil. My cup will overflow with blessings. Surely His goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life. I will live in the house of he Lord forever.

This psalm helps me to focus on the discipleship qualities I need as I follow. As the Lord is the good shepherd, I am one of his flock, one of his sheep. I’m am not frightened, passive animals, but rather an obedient follower, wise enough to listen to the one who will lead me in the right path and ways.

As I allow God, my shepherd, to guide me, I will find contentment. However, when I choose to sin and go my own way, I cannot blame God for the environment we create for ourselves. God knows the "green meadows" and "peaceful streams" that will restore me. I reach those places only by following him obediently. Rebelling against him is actually rebelling against the shepherd's leading is actually rebelling against our best interests.

In ancient Near Eastern culture, Hosts were also expected to protect their guests at all costs. God offers to protect me at all costs. God offers the protection of a host even when enemies surround me.

I can be encouraged to know that as his follower, I dwell with the Lord, the perfect shepherd and host. He promises to guide and protect me throughout my life. He welcomes me as a special guest in his house forever.

Today our civilization is losing its civility. The world is getting ruder! One of the things that’s causing that is the internet, because it allows people to hide behind the screen and say things online that they would never have the courage to say to others face-to-face.

All those people are doing is revealing the smallness of their hearts. Great people make people feel great, but small people belittle people. People who belittle others have a little knot for a heart, and they make fun of others because they think it will make them feel better.

What I’m learning is that I don’t handle rude people on my own. Rather I let God handle them. I should let God be my defender.

King David understood this. He knew what it meant to be attacked emotionally, verbally, and physically. As a young man, he was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of Israel, but he didn’t become king right away. And that’s why Saul, the reigning king, wanted to kill him, and why David hid in caves while being distrusted, pursued, and in constant danger.

Yet David never said a bad word against the king. He never retaliated, because God was preparing him to be the king after his own heart.

David says in Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” (NIV).

David was recognizing God’s goodness to him. God would anoint his head with oil, which says to the world, “This is my guy! Back off! This is going to be the next leader.” David’s cup overflowed, which meant God kept blessing him and blessing him, even when others attacked him.

Does it sound like David was stressed out? No! He didn’t have to use up all his energy defending himself because he trusted God to be his defender.

It will take a lot of faith and humility to rest and trust God when I’m under attack, when I’m misunderstood, when rumors are spreading about me and people are saying things about me online or at work. When that happens, my inclination would be to rise up and do something about it.

I’m reminded this morning that I’m most like Christ when I remain silent under attack. Jesus was constantly attacked, yet he never retaliated, even on his way to the cross. He remained silent before his accusers because he had entrusted himself to the care of the Father.

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you” (1 Peter 4:19 NLT).