Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jehovah Raah: Lesson Six

"The rod and rebuke
give wisdom,
But a child left to himself
brings shame to his mother."

Proverbs 29:15


In our last lesson, we looked at how believers in Christ are not to fear the world nor man simply because Christ has already conquered death for us. We learned that it is wisdom to fear the LORD God of Israel rather than man because it is God who has all the power and sovereignty.

Today we will look at the last half of Psalm 23:4

"For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

King David was a shepherd at heart. He knew what it meant to be alone with the sheep in the wilderness. He knew what it meant to protect them, provide for them, and be with them at all times. He also knew the dangers of leaving the flock alone without protection.

We have read about the irresponsible shepherds in Ezekiel...

Please read:

Ez 34:1-10

These selfish shepherds worried more about feeding themselves than the flock. They abandoned the flock and allowed the beasts of the field to devour them. They were scattered.

As a result, the LORD became the shepherd of His people and gathered them together.

Now, as a result of Christ's New Covenant with man, we are part of that flock. We are being led by a benevolent shepherd who loves us because He died for us.


Your rod and Your staff

When we think of the rod and staff, we tend to think of the harsh discipline of the Lord. But to the shepherd, the rod and staff were used for very specific things.

For Jacob, the staff helped him cross the Jordan:

Gen 32:10

For Moses, he took the rod of God into his hand when he went to Egypt:

Ex 4:20

And during the first Passover, Moses was commanded to take leave in haste with God's people with staff in hand in order to properly direct God's people.....His flock:

Ex 12:11


We read in Scripture that the rod was used for discipline and fighting off attackers, and the staff for leading and directing the flock. Remember, sheep are not driven from behind, but they are led by the shepherd who walks in front of the sheep using his staff to direct them.

The flock looks to the staff for leadership of the shepherd. He could quickly use the rod to defend the flock against the beasts, and the rod was used to discipline stray sheep back into the fold.

2 Sam 7:14

We see that though discipline comes from the Lord, He never removes His love from those in the covenant. He always loved David.

Jer 48:17

It is the LORD God who can break the staff of the wicked and take over as shepherd.

1 Cor 4:21

Here Paul warns of discipline by the rod.

Our Messiah will rule with the rod:

Ps 2:8

Rev 2:27

So, in Scripture we read how the rod and staff truly are comforting to the believer and complete fear and dread to the non-believer. The Lord will break the staff and rod of the wicked who mislead and rule the flock with cruelty:

Ez 34:4

King David in all his wisdom, understood that once in awhile the shepherd has to use the staff to re-direct the flock back into the fold and use rod to fight off attackers for the flock.

Therefore, he found much comfort in the LORD's discipline and guidance. He knew the LORD personally. They had a very close relationship. God knew David's heart because he had the heart of a shepherd.

Part of our covenant with the Lord is His protection (rod) and presence (staff) in our lives. Both of these promises should bring us great comfort each day as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.


"Leadership is all about motivating people to follow. Therefore everything in leadership hinges on the leader's relationship to his people. It is possible to motivate people simply by sheer force, but that is not real leadership; it's dictatorship. And it never really achieves the goals of leadership. That can be accomplished only by a loving loyalty."

-John MacArthur (The Book on Leadership, 2004, p. 70)



Monday, November 24, 2008

Jehovah Raah: Lesson Five

"I called on the LORD in distress;
The LORD answered me
and set me in a broad place.
The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?"

Psalm 118:5-6


Jehovah Raah
The Lord My Shepherd

In these often troubling times, fear is all around us. Many fear for losing their jobs, careers, or homes. Many have fears regarding health issues or insurance issues. No doubt about it, there is an abundance of fear all around us today in America.

With so much talk of "hope" lately, we see very little comfort in the news on television or in newspapers no matter who resides in the White House or when.

One thing is for sure, the Scriptures have always told us not to rely on man for comfort or safety simply because man is finite. Man is a temporary presence here on this planet. We would be foolish to place all our hopes on man.

Please read:

James 4:14

Instead, we are told to place all our hopes on the LORD God who lives and reigns today as He did yesterday.

Psalm 118:8-9

The psalmists knew of what they wrote. They had lived through many rulers of men only to see the LORD God come through in the end for His people. Therefore, it is no real surprise what King David wrote:

"Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

-Psalm 23:4


The Valley of the Shadow of Death

King David knew of which he wrote. He had to live in fear for his life for many months when he became King. He hid out in caves hoping that King Saul would not kill him.

While in those caves, David wrote many beautiful songs to the Lord:

Ps 7
Ps 9
Ps 17
Ps 18

These are just some of the wonderful works of David as he acknowledged God's faithfulness toward His anointed.

How can we acknowledge God's faithfulness toward us during times of uncertainty?

We can turn our eyes upon Him and give Him all the glory:

Ps 115:1

Ps 116:3-9

Ps 27:1

It is far better for us to fear the Lord than to fear death.

Ps 115:13

Ps 18:28

We live in a world where men fear the end of the earth. They try in vain to stop the earth from coming to an end thinking that we can have any influence on its demise.

But we would be wise to fear the LORD who created the earth, sun, and moon. We would be wise to fear Him who allows the sun to shine upon us without destroying us:

Ps 84:11

God is both giver and protector. He allows our sun to shine on us because He knows we need its light. Yet it is He who protects us from its heat. It is He who holds the world in His hands. Yes, it is wise to fear Him rather than the earth.

Is 60:19-20

Micah 7:8

He is our everlasting light! Fear the One who can turn out that light and end our lives. What can death do to a Christian who fears the LORD?


For You are With Me

Remember the covenant promises:


Here King David reminds us that the LORD God is with those who fear Him. We have the promise of His presence in our lives. Praise God for that!

Ex 15:2

Ps 62:7

Ps 118:14

Is 12:2

The LORD God is our strength and song.


Well, that's it for today. I've given you alot of Scripture to look up and read. Carefully and prayerfully read each verse and meditate on them. You have a protector to get you through any difficult time in life.

You have that shield to protect you in any battle.

It is the LORD God who is there to help you in any situation. Call upon His name to be saved from your enemies. He is faithful and true.

He is the Good Shepherd.


"After reading Scripture, we must ask God for light to scrutinize our hearts and lives, then meditate upon the Word. Disciplined meditation on Scripture helps us focus on God. Meditation helps us view our worship as a discipline. It involves our mind and understanding as well as our heart and affections. It works Scripture through the texture of the soul...pray without ceasing."

-Dr. Joel Beeke (as cited in "Feed My Sheep", 2002, p. 117)

Next time we will look at what the Rod & Staff mean to the Christian.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jehovah Raah: Lesson Four

"But as for me, I will come
into Your house in the multitude
of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward
Your holy temple.
Lead me, O LORD, in Your
righteousness because of my
enemies; Make Your
way straight before my face."

Psalm 5:7-8


Jehovah Raah

When we read the psalms of David, we can easily see how well he knew the Lord God. We read how close their relationship truly was. The psalm above was set to music for flutes. When I think of the music of David and how heartfelt the lyrics were, I like to imagine what his music will be like in the New Jerusalem when there is no more sin nor sadness.

Just imagine the words to his songs of praise then!


A Prayer for Guidance

"He restores my soul;
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for His name's sake." Psalm 23:3

Today we will look at how God restores us and how He guides us as our Good Shepherd.

Please read:

Ez 34:13-15

Here we read about how the Good Shepherd will bring His sheep out from among the peoples and gather them from other countries to their own land.

How this must have been music to His people's ears!

We in America know nothing about wandering without a land. We know nothing about living among our enemies where we are hated and despised. But our time is coming. We would be wise to heed the words of our LORD written here in Ezekiel so that we can remember that these promises apply to us now.

We have the Good Shepherd to lead us, bring us, feed us, and take care of us.

Remember what covenant means:



Please read:

Jer 23:3-8

The LORD God did provide for us an earthly shepherd who suffered temptations and passed every test so that we can have a perfect example of how to be good servants here on earth.

Jesus Christ called Himself the Good Shepherd as He made Himself equal to God.

John 5:18

We do not have two Good Shepherds, but One.

John 10:11 & 14

Is 40:11

Our Shepherd gently holds us in His arms where we are safest.

Picture that in your mind. Try and feel the arms of Your Lord and Savior around you carrying you through the hardest of times.

Ps 51:12-13

Ask Him to restore the joy of Your salvation within you today!


"He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."

The paths of righteousness. What are those paths?

1 John 1:6-7

John tells us to walk in the light as He is in the light so that we may have fellowship with Jesus and be cleansed.

We have read so far that the Lord provides for us so that we want for nothing. He makes us lie down and rest and restores our souls.

We have also learned that He guides us in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. His name is the ark of the covenant (2 Sam 6:2-3), His name is written on our hearts. We are His temple now.

What's in a name?

Prov 18:10

Deut 28:10

Deut 28:58

Is 42:8

Matt 6:9

John 10:3

Acts 4:12

Phil 2:9

Rev 2:13

So, He leads us down paths of righteousness that we may be cleansed....and then His covenant is cleansed. His very name is cleansed.

Ps 25:4-5

Yes, show us Your ways, LORD. For our ways are foolish. Lead us in Your truth, for we know no truth apart from You.

Be the God of our salvation this day.

Restore our souls with the joy of that salvation.


Next time we will look at what it means to have the LORD protect us from our enemies and what it means to be punished by a holy God.

"Paul is an example of a loving leader who labored in prayer. Compelled to pray not only for the saved but also for the lost, he burned with love for Israel and prayed for her salvation...Paul's companion Epaphras is another inspiring example of a loving leader who fervently prayed for those he loved...How blessed the believers in Colassae were to have such a faithful, loving shepherd."

-Alexander Strauch (Leading with Love, 2006, p. 118-119)



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jehovah Raah- Lesson Three

"You visit the earth and water it,

You greatly enrich it;

The river of God is full of water;

You provide their grain,

For so You have prepared it.

You water its ridges abundantly,

You settle its furrows;

You make it soft with showers,

You bless its growth."

Psalm 65:9-10



"He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the quiet waters." Ps. 23:2

As we learn more about the covenant we are in with our holy God, we begin to realize just how merciful and gracious He is to His own. As the Good Shepherd to His flock, he not only provides for us so that we want for nothing, but He leads us to those green pastures and quiet waters where we are fulfilled and rested.


Please read:

Ez 34:12-13

Here we see that the Lord will be good to His people after their earthly shepherds used and abused them. The Lord will bring them out of bondage and provide for them their own land. There He will feed them throughout the land.

"Pastures of tender grass..."

The phrase "green pastures" is translated as "pastures of tender grass"

When the land is in obedience to God, He blesses it. When the land continually sins against God- He curses it.

Think for a moment how our country has sinned against the Lord God. We have allowed 40 million babies to be aborted while we lived in comfort worrying about our houses, children, jobs, materialism, and pleasures of the flesh and eyes.

We have allowed the gospel message to be twisted and misused to exalt man and not Christ.

We have allowed marriage to be made a mockery, not by the homosexuals, but by Christians who have married and divorced over and over again.

We have put more time into our homes and our material things surrounding us than with God Himself.

Ez 14:12-23

The Lord did not withhold his Hand from His own people and His own land. Who are we to think He won't judge this land?

But for those who repent of their sin, cry out to the Lord, and seek His face: mercy is given.

Ez 16:8

Ps 23:2

It is of the Lord that we live and have provisions at all.

Think of it....He will make us lie down in pastures of tender grass. Ahhh, doesn't that sound nice? After walking, working, striving all day. The Lord promises us that He will make us lie down and rest. I picture fields of green tender grass that feels soft and cool on my feet.

Funny how we have to be "made to" lie down and rest at times! We work and work until finally we have to rest. Here we read that the Lord Himself will make us lie down and rest.


"He leads me beside the quiet waters."

The phrase "quiet waters" is translated as "waters of rest."

Doesn't that sound lovely? Not only will our Lord make us lie down in pastures of tender grass, but He will lead us beside waters of rest.

Why do sheep need to be led to those waters of rest?

Could it be that they are so dumb that they could enter into rushing waters and be led astray by their desires to quench their thirst? Could be.

We, as the Lord's flock, tend to do things like that. We tend to foolishly walk away from our Shepherd and seek our own comfort without realizing how much danger we are in. That is why we need a Shepherd to lead us. It is God who searches out those quiet still waters for His sheep. The sheep do not have to search on their own, for to do so would bring great danger as there are many predators out there looking for them!

It is the same for us. When we leave the safety and comfort of our Shepherd and our earthly shepherd, we are in grave danger from the predators out there seeking to destroy is.

As wives, the Lord has provided us with earthly shepherds. Pray that yours is honoring to the Lord. Lift him up daily to the Lord that he will lead you appropriately.


Well, today we learned a little more about how the Lord honors His covenant promises and how He will not tolerate sin in His flock. Sin must be dealt with by a holy God.

And the Lord is dealing with His people even now. These promises found in Ezekiel apply to us this day because of what the Lord did for us on that cross. He brought in those from another flock to call His own...that's us!

John 10:14-16

Satan thought he had won the war. He thought Jesus was conquered forever when he watched Him die. But Satan was wrong! Now the Lord is our Shepherd too and all the promises are made "yes" for us because of Christ. Praise God!

Take time today to truly meditate on what it is the Lord does for you daily. All the provisions He brings and all the rest He grants to us should never be taken for granted. Take time to thank Him today.


"Little did the serpant realize that almost four thousand years later, as the nails pierced and bruised the heels of Jesus' feet, that his head would be bruised with the same act and that his power over us broken. The ruler of this world was cast out (John 12:31), yet Satan seemed the victor. The demons rejoiced because now they were sure they had been right in choosing to follow Satan! For three days it looked as if the war had been won. Then the stone was rolled away!"

-Kay Arthur (Lord, is It Warfare?, 2000, p.86)



Monday, November 10, 2008

Jehovah Raah- Lesson Two

"Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,

You who lead Joseph like a flock;

You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!

Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,

Stir up Your strength,

And come and save us!"

Psalm 80:1-2



During these most difficult times in our country's history, it is time for Christians to be in God's word with most earnesty. It is in God's word where we find our solace and comfort during times of uncertainty.

As His sheep, we are safest when under His watchful eye. When we stray, that is when we are in danger of the beasts of the field.

Today we will look more at how God protects us and provides for us during both good and bad times.....


"The Lord is my shepherd....I shall not want..." Ps 23:1

Please read:

Ez 34:4-5

When our earthly shepherds (pastors, fathers, husbands....) fail to do their jobs and protect what has been given to them, we see how easy it is for the sheep to be scattered and left for death in a cruel world.

We also read here that sometimes these earthly shepherds rule over the flock with harsh cruelty.

We see that in today's world as well when we read about priests abusing children, pastors having extra-marital affairs, and when fathers abandon their children.


Ez 34:12

In this day and age, it feels like a "cloudy and dark day". Read the newspapers, internet, or watch the news and it feels like nothing good is coming.

But when we search the Scriptures for the good news of God, He comforts us with His words!

Ps 80:3

Yes, restore us, LORD! Heal our wounds, bind up our broken hearts, gather us to Your strong able arms yet again.

Ps 18:1-2

Be our shield as we enter into battle. Be our strength when we have none. Be our fortress where we stand and watch for the enemy. Be our deliverer when we meet that enemy.

I will call upon the Lord!

Ps 18:46

Because the LORD lives!


"I shall not want..."


As we look at the covenant promises of the Lord, we see that He provides for His flock. David understood this. When hiding from Saul, David's cries were heard by God. When Jesus was tempted in the desert by Satan, the Lord provided His words instead of bread.

It is tempting to think that the Lord will not provide for His people during our times, but we worship an eternal God.

He does not change.

If He provided for His sheep in the past, He will provide for us now.

Ps 37:25-29

King David lived a long time. Yet he never saw the righteou forsaken nor the children of God begging for bread.

Ps 37:16-20

David tells us that we who call upon the name of the Lord will not be ashamed. Meaning, God will be there for us as He has since the beginning of time. We can trust our Good Shepherd to be there to feed His flock.

He will search for those who are lost and scattered.

He will deliver them.

He will provide for them so they shall not want for anything.

Praise God!!

Take time out today to read God's words and praise Him for all He has done and will continue to do in your life until that day of completion.


"We must show repeatedly, by both our manner and our matter, that God is truth. When our Lord says, 'I am the Way , the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me,' He is saying that God is truth. We must show our hearers repeatedly that God is truth."

-John Armstrong (Feed My Sheep, 2002, p. 175)



Friday, November 7, 2008

Jehovah Raah- The Lord My Shepherd

"He heard the sound of the trumpet, but
did not take warning;
his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes
warning will save his life."
Ezekiel 33:5
The Lord My Shepherd
In studying the word of God, a recurring theme reverberates throughout: covenant.
Creation all around us reveals much about God, but not everything. He gave us Special Revelation that sets Him apart from all other beings and gods: His word.
By reading His word, our holy God...the One True God....reveals much about Himself to His children.
In this study, we will look into what covenant means to the believer. We will look at how our God tells us in His word that He is our shepherd who lovingly watches over us and at times has appointed earthly shepherds to watch over us.
Please read:
Ezekiel 34:11
Ezekiel 34: 1-6
Here we see the clear contrast between man's attempts at shepherding God's people and what God says He will do.
Psalm 23
This most beloved and oft quoted chapter in the the book of Psalms reveals how King David understood the covenant he had with his Lord. We should take time to study this chapter in order to learn more about our Lord and Savior. We will begin with the first verse:
"The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want."
Our covenant with the Lord can be broken up into three parts:
  • Provision
  • Protection
  • Presence

Here David begins with the first part: provision


Jehovah Jireh- The LORD provides

In Ezekiel 34, we have seen how the shepherds were forsaking the sheep in order to feed themselves. So, God said that He Himself will search for His scattered sheep.

Ps 95: 6-7

1 Pet 2:25

Luke 15:4-7

Here we read in the verses of Scripture about how God is our Shepherd. Because He is holy and perfect, He will meet our every need. When we are saved from His wrath by His blood, we enter into that covenant. He is our provider. As He provided for His people in the desert as they wandered, He will provide for us now that He has entered into the covenant with even the Gentile nations.

Acts 20:28

He has appointed over us earthly shepherds or "pastors" who are to be there for the church. As pastors, these men are under a heavy burden not to be taken lightly. They are to "feed" the body God's word because it is perfect. Pastors are to provide for the people and make sure they are learning and understanding what God's word says.

As our opening verse clearly states, a watchman has to sound the warning to save both himself and the people. God's word is that trumpet warning. Our pastors should be preaching God's word and only God's word to the people to warn them about their sins, God's wrath, and judgment.

When a pastor fails to do this, he is not being the watchman. He is not being the shepherd. He is failing to provide for his people whom God gave to him.

Remember, the flocks given to these pastors were purchased with Christ's blood. They belong to Him and have been given away.

Ez 33:30-33

Many people come to hear the word of the LORD but are not doing the word of the LORD. Pastors need to lead by example. Attitude reflects leadership. When a pastor is meeting the needs of his people and showing them love through actions, then the people will too!

To be appointed shepherd over God's people is a heavy burden indeed. We are like sheep. Not too bright and easily led astray!

Pray for your pastors to meet the needs of God's people by feeding them His word.


"Preaching is important as a means of grace not merely because it is used of God to bring about conversions, but also because it is used for our sanctification, that is, our growth in holiness once we are born again. If you look back in your life and ask what it is that God has most used in your life to make you grow, you will find that in that vast majority of cases it is preaching."

-James Montgomery Boice (Feed My Sheep, 2002, p. 43)


Next time we will look more into how God provides for His sheep and also how the LORD protects His sheep.



Running the Good Race


Haven't run in two days due to a head cold approaching. Yuck. I hate getting sick when trying to train for a race. This happened last year as well, but all turned out ok in the end. Better to be sick now than in December!

I did run 8 miles last week for a long run and did a 5 mile run earlier this week. It was hard because I wasn't feeling well, but I completed it.

Hope to do a short run today and up the mountain tomorrow. Then will do a long run (9 miles) on Monday.