There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
Where Will The Prisoners Sing?
Ps. 137:1-4, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?”
Acts 16:23-26, “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.”
Where are we dwelling? Where do we make ourselves at home? Are we setting down by the rivers of Babylon? They will be dried up. Are we weeping there? Thank God we have been called to the river of the water of life – Rev. 22:1.
Are we dwelling in a strange land? Roaming around Rome, babbling down in Babylon? Where are our harps? Does Babylon have weeping willows for it’s captives? Do our instruments of mirth belong on the willows? Who put them there and why? Why are our harps just hanging? When they should be accompanying and enhancing our singing.
Babylon means confusion, I guess that is a proper place for groaning and moaning the blues. Are we so far out of the will of God, or out of fellowship with Him, that we cannot sing the Lord’s song? Is He more than a prayer away? It is true, the willows of Babylon are no place for the harps of Zion. We seem to be often in a strange land or a far country. But whatever our situation, with faith’s focus on our deliverer we certainly can tune our harps and sing the Lord’s song.
Now just being mindful of where we have come from and where we might have been, is only part of the story. Our song soars up to celestial realms as we consider our destiny. Thank God this world is not our home. Glory to Go, our prison songs may also be the song of the soul set free. Oh, when we get into cramped quarters, or in dire straights, what song will the surrounding prisoners hear? Some songs precede the shaking open of prisons, even to the liberating of prison keepers.
THE TRIBULATION IS COMING
Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, Kansas
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” Matthew 24:29.
Jesus is speaking in the above verse of “the Tribulation.” A period of time, seven years allotted by God for the judgment of Christ, of rejecting mankind on the earth. The book of Revelation tells of this terrible time which shall soon come upon the earth.
Matthew 24:7 says, “... and there shall be famines, and pestilences (diseases) and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” leading up to the
The Scripture tells of great calamities that will happen on the earth during this horrendous time. “The sun will be darkened and the moon shall not give light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”
Jesus Christ will take His throne in heaven (Rev. 4) immediately before the seven years begins. Then the tribulation period will begin. The counterfeit of Christ will make a covenant with Israel, no doubt for a guarantee of their safety for seven years (Daniel 9;27). He will appear to be a very wonderful gifted man, who will charm many into believing that he has the answers for the world’s problems. The beast out of the sea (known as the Antichrist) of Revelation 13:1-10, will become the ruler of the world, and with his partner, the beast out of the earth (Revelation 13:11-18), known as the False Prophet, a religious figure, will bring the world into bondage to Satan and to themselves. Those who do not take the “mark of the beast,” if caught by the evil forces will suffer beheading (Revelation 20:4), but those who take the mark will suffer from the wrath of Almighty God. Terrible sores will come upon all those who take the mark (Revelation 16:2). In Revelation 9:4 it says that the locust that come up out of the bottomless pit will hurt and torment those who are unbelievers, who do not have the “seal of God in their foreheads.” The suffering of those who take the mark will be terrible, i.e. the trees and other vegetation being burned up, great hail falling, the waters turned to blood, plagues and destruction and etc.
The believers of this age will be with the Lord in heaven. The Overcomers of this age will be helping, calling forth the judgments, in agreement with Christ who will be ruling from heaven. There will be believers on the earth, and also a believing remnant of Israelites who will be protected from all the danger and wrath, but some will suffer death at the hand of the Antichirst and his forces. Their spirits will be instantly with the Lord. They will be rewarded for their faithfulness to stand against the evil manifested during that time.
Matthew 24:21-22 tells us, “For then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” The last three years of the tribulation are known as “the great tribulation.” The Antichrist’s rule will be in full swing, and his wicked persecution of the believers will be in effect. The Antichrist will break the covenant he made with Israel and begin persecuting the Jews. God will miraculously protect a “remnant” or small portion of believing Jews by hiding them in the wilderness (Rev. 12:13-16). Daniel 12:1 “...and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered everyone that shall be found written in the book.” Also, Jeremiah 30:7 states, “Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”
This message may seem terribly gloomy, but it is what the Word of God declares. The wrath of God will surely come upon this world which has turned away from the truth of God’s Word and is running headlong after Satanic things, those things of disobedience of God. However, the world’s sin is not what will cause them to experience the wrath of God, only one thing, their rejection of the salvation provided through Jesus Christ’s death upon the cross.
Apostle Paul commended the Thessalonians in saying, “...ye turned to God from idols to serve the living God; and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom God raised from the dead even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” Through Jesus Christ and our trust in Him as our Savior, we are, “DELIVERED FROM THE WRATH TO COME.” We can claim the promise to be “kept from the hour of tribulation.” Very soon the trumpet will sound and the overcomers of this age will be taken up to be with the Lord (I Thess. 4:13-18). Let us be watching and waiting for the trumpet to sound as Jesus gives a triumphant shout, “Come up here!” The Holy Spirit will give us power to rise up to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Praise God! Praise God!
At my place work, when we have meetings, we have to let everyone know where the shelter is before we start the meeting. This is especially important in Kansas as we have potential for tornadoes, and everyone needs to know where to go in the event of such an emergency. Many people in this country have a place of refuge in or near their house.
Some are a place of refuge from weather events, and some have shelters for the event of something even more serious. Many schools and other locations where people might be gathering even have bomb shelters from a time when war seemed very likely. Now days, we have locations around our city that are considered “safe places or zones.” A child that is lost or being pursued could go there for refuge.
I think all of these can bring some spiritual thoughts for us. In our spiritual life, we need to know where to go for refuge in case of any occurrence that might bring harm to us, or anything that will overwhelm us. Scripture makes it clear that we have a spiritual refuge. A place we can go for shelter.
Webster’s dictionary gives this definition for “refuge” – Shelter or protection from danger or distress. The psalmist understands exactly. “To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1. The Psalmist always knows where to turn for refuge.
God is our refuge in several ways. There are issues of safety, and issues of distress and despair that come upon us as part of life.
The first refuge we must come to is salvation, which is a refuge from God’s wrath. As sinners, we were deserving of God’s wrath, and nothing we could do ourselves would prevent that. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” Romans 1:18. Revelation 6:16-17.
However, God had a solution for this, and in Jesus Christ, He provided a refuge for us from that wrath. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Romans 5:8-9. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Read Hebrews 6:18 and 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
What a marvelous refuge. What a shame that so many refuse to run in to this refuge. Imagine if there was a tornado coming, and you had a shelter right near you, but you refuse to use it. Seems kind of silly doesn’t it? And yet, this is the attitude of much of humanity today. God offers a free shelter in Jesus, and they refuse to enter.
The second refuge is a refuge for the soul. Where do we go when our soul is troubled? Again, the Psalmist always knew where to go for refuge. When the troubles of the world around him were overwhelming, he went to the Lord. “To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Psalm 57:1.
We are often tempted to go to the world when our soul is troubled, and maybe find refuge in something there. Drugs, alcohol, psychology, and many other things. Or even just someone to make us feel better. How much better to go to our Lord who knows our soul, and cares for us more than anyone else.
I am not suggesting that we cannot enjoy the comfort of friends and family at times of distress, simply that our first place to go should be our Lord. He may very well use someone to help us, but the true refuge for us is under His wings.
“I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:4-5. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” Psalm 62:8.
Thirdly, God is a refuge for our mind. When the enemy comes against us, he most usually starts with our mind. He begins to work on how we think about things in our life, and how we view the circumstances. As we are assaulted in this way, we can easily give in to the despair that can follow, but God knows how to give us a refuge for our mind.
Satan will also work on our minds to draw us away from the truth of God’s Word. He would have us turn aside, and leave off running the race to rob us of our reward, and rob God of His deserved praise. Paul was concerned about this. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3
Satan would also rob us of our peace of mind by getting us focused on the things in this world, and how bad things are around us. Our situation in life might be less than we desired, but we need not despair about that. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
DANIEL 7 – Part 2
We read about the monstrous Roman Empire last time in verse 7. It was the most powerful world empire that this world has known. It broke in pieces and devoured everything in its path to greatness. What it did not own, it crushed with it feet, spoiling it. It was dreadful, terrible and strong exceedingly. It acted beastly especially to the Jews.
As terrible as it was, the worst is yet to come in the last phase of the Roman Empire. In the latter stage of this empire, it had 10 horns, which it did not have when Daniel first saw it come up out of the sea (the Gentile nations V. 3). It was not divided in power at the first for it was strong and fierce and diverse from all others. It never could be said that it had 10 horns before it deteriorated from within. Then it resulted in the part iron and part clay phase. The strong Roman Empire had ceased to exist. It must rise again, so we see the same beast with 10 horns, a divided kingdom develops.
The 10 horns are not to be confused with the 10 toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s image. Because 3 of these horns are plucked up and we don’t have 3 toes plucked off. These horns are an earlier stage than the toes are. The toes are at the very end, when the rock cut out without hands falls on the toes and crushes them. So the toes are at a latter time than these horns are. These horns represent kings (horns always speak of power in prophetic language). So these are nations that are in harmony with the revived Roman Empire or we could say, what is left of that Empire; a confederacy of united European nations. In the last several years there has been changes and it is till changing. It is for God’s purposes in the end time. We don’t know all that will take place, but we do know He lifts nations up and tares nations down. He does His will among them. They think they are so smart and are doing this and that, making treaties and working out things, but it is all going to fall in a hole.
V. 8 – “I (Daniel) considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” This is the Antichrist before whom 3 horns are pluck up by the roots never to come back again. So 7 horns are left. They no doubt are the 7 kings that John saw in vision in Rev. 17:10 which will rule over the 7 heads of mountains that is kingdoms at the beginning of the 7 years of tribulation. John saw this 7 headed empire arising out of the troubled sea.
Rev. 13:1, “And I (John) stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea (the unstable Gentile nations), having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” V. 2, “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” It is a conglomeration, a little bit of all these world systems, all in one. V. 3, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” This is not the same beast of V. 1. This beast of V. 3 is the Antichrist that they will run after.
So out of the 7 horns left of the 10 horns, one of the heads not one of the horns will be wounded unto death, the Antichrist.
Rev. 17:9, “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.” Out of the 7 heads he will come and be killed and raise from the dead. V. 11, “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” V. 12, “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” A lesser body of nations.
Back to Daniel 7:8, the little horn came up in the place of the plucked up 3 horns. This horn will “have eyes” of discernment and ability to deal with people. Chapter 13 of Revelation tell of his special discernment and special mouth. He is different from other people because he is empowered by Satan. He had eyes like the eyes of man and a mouth speaking great things.
Dan. 7:9, “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” Here Daniel sees a heavenly scene, the throne of Christ. It is set in place in Rev. 4:2-3.
Out of His throne comes lightening, thunders and voices, the judgments of God – Rev. 4:5. A new name is given Him, “the Ancient of days,” it is 3 times in this chapter – Vs. 9,13,22. Fulfilling the prophecy of Isa. 9:6. “The everlasting Father.” Today Jesus sits at His Father’s right hand interceding. But there in coming a day when he will get up from His Father’s throne and be seated on His own throne. Gentile times end when Jesus the Jew sits down on His throne. The Gentile nations are not going to want to give up their place of ruling the world,” so He will take it by force. Tribulation will begin, the world is judged. A description of tribulation time is covered from Revelation chapter 5 to 19.
“Whose garment was white as show” speaks of His holiness and righteousness in every way. “The hair of his head like the pure wool,” wool in taken from sheep; a wonderful picture of the honor the overcoming sheep will give to the Lord Jesus Christ. Honoring Him as their head, giving Him the headship that is rightfully due unto Him. “Hair” in scripture also speaks of weakness. We see Calvary is this. II Cor. 13:4, He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. “His throne was like the fiery flame” He can pour out judgment because He is ruling as God, almighty, the Everlasting Father, The Ancient of days. “His wheels as burning fire” speaks of a cycle of time in Ezek. 1, and here we have the cycle of God’s judgment. II Thess. 1:8, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Heb. 12:29, “For our God is a consuming fire.”
Dan. 7:10, “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” It only takes His divine presence to defeat all the forces of the devil. He defeated the Devil through His word. He was victorious in every way. The overcomers will be ministers calling forth His judgments in the book of Revelation. “Thousands thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand” speaks of an astronomical amount. And agrees with Rev. 5:11 (an innumerable amount) “Stood before Him” they have a standing before Him, “Judgment was set” in other words it is unchangeable. Jn. 5:27, all judgment has been given unto Him, because He is the Son of man. He will reign as God Almighty, yet He will judge as Man. He has the authority to judge because He the Lamb of God was slain. “The books were opened” it is the book of judgments sealed with 7 seals (Rev. 6) the opening of each seal releases judgment upon the world. He keep accurate books and His judgments are just because He is just.
Daniel 7 to be continued in the next issue
Debra Isenbletter, PastorSpringfield, Missouri
Vs 17: “Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
In this verse we see two additional miracles. First, the preparing of the fish and second, the preservation of Jonah.
The Lord Prepares the Fish: “Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.” When did the Lord do this? He did it “Now,” He did it when the time was right, He did it and there was no delay. The “great fish” was where it needed to be at the right time, in the right place. The moment Jonah was thrown overboard, the fish was waiting. Who did this? It was “the Lord,” the God of Jonah, the One Jonah said was the Creator. Genesis says, “And God created great whales [lit. sea monsters] and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind.” (Gen.1:21). The Psalmist says that God “made the sea and all that therein is [all that is in them].” (Psa.146:6). There were many different kinds of creatures in the sea, this “great fish” was one of those creatures. It had already been created, and now the Creator gave this “great fish” a great Purpose, it was to Preserve Jonah.
The Lord “had prepared” this “great fish.” That is past tense. This was done before Jonah fled because the Lord knew Jonah would flee; knew where he would flee to; knew there would be a great storm; knew how the sailors would react; knew what Jonah would suggest they do; knew they would throw Jonah overboard. The Lord knew all this before it even happened, so He “had prepared” this “great fish.” The word “prepared” does not mean created here, it means “ordered” or “ordained.” The Lord gave His creation a purpose, He gave His creation instructions and His creation obeyed Him. The Septuagint says: “God ordered the fish to swallow Jonah at the appointed time.” In Jonah there are four things God prepared for Jonah. This is the first of those four things that God “prepared” or “appointed.” God prepared a great fish (1:17). God prepared a gourd (4:6). God prepared a worm (4:7). God prepared a vehement east wind (4:8). God is in control, He sees everything and He uses everything.
People try to figure out what type of “fish” this was so they can find a natural explanation as to how Jonah could be swallowed. Though the word “fish” here is translated “whale” in Mat.12:40 another translation is “sea monster.” It was a “great fish,” we are not told what kind of fish and it does not matter. It does not matter if it was a whale, or a whale shark or any other type of fish man tries to name that could swallow a man. What matters is that it is a creature God created and that God controls. “No other miracle of Scripture has called forth so much unbelief. The real miracle is not the swallowing but the fact that Jonah was alive when he was cast out of the great fish on to the dry land.” (Scofield Study Bible Notes)
That great fish “swallowed up Jonah.” The word “swallow” is used 50 times in the Old Testament. It means to “devour, to destroy” (Gen.41:7) or it means “to engulf, to swallow down.” (Jonah 1:17) Jonah was swallowed up in two way. First by the sea after he was cast into the sea, second, by the great fish. He was swallowed up but he was not destroyed. That is a miracle; that was for his protection and his preservation.
The second miracle is Jonah’s preservation: “And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah was kept alive! The belly of the fish is like the grave. It is a place of confinement, a place of judgment but also a place of preservation. The “three days and nights” speak of an ordained time. Jonah may not have known this but Jesus knew this. Jesus has prophesied that the “three days and nights” was a sign (Mat.12:39-41). It was a sign for Jonah; a sign for Nineveh; a sign for Israel. It is a sign for us. It is the sign of death and resurrection. It is a sign of our Savior.
The “three days and nights” was a time of testing, the testing of a disobedient prophet (Jonah) and an obedient prophet (Jesus). The “three days and nights” was a time of training and a time of waiting. Both Jonah and Jesus had to wait for deliverance. Both Jonah and Jesus have been swallowed up. Jonah was swallowed up by the sea and Jesus by death. Jonah was swallowed up by the fish and Jesus the grave. Both Jonah and Jesus have their faith put to the test and both cry out in faith. Both Jonah and Jesus trust in the Lord for their deliverance. Jonah did not know if or when he would be delivered but, in the end, he cried out in faith: “Salvation is of the Lord.” Jesus knew that “Salvation is of the Lord” from the very beginning. He knew He would be delivered, and when He would be delivered. He knew even more, He knew that He would deliver us. He knew the full potential of that cry “Salvation is of the Lord.” It is now our cry. When Jesus was raised from the dead, something else was swallowed up. It was death. “death is swallowed up in victory” (1Co.15:54). That is the Apostle Paul’s cry. Praise the Lord!
To be continued
Part 2Vicky Moots
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou are with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Psalm 23:2a: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Sheep don’t lie down until they are full and satisfied, and then they lie down to chew the cud. So how does the shepherd cause them to lie down? Ezek. 34:15 states, “I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down…”. That means He brings them into a rich, green pasture so that they eat their fill and have to lie down. Have you ever eaten so much at a good dinner that you just wanted to go lie back in a recliner and rest and let the food digest while you savored the meal? Our Shepherd satisfies our hunger with even more than we need, not just the bare necessities. The more we hunger, the more He provides. Jesus said in Matt. 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” He leads us to green pastures where we can eat our fill. Green speaks of resurrection, such as we see every spring when the brown grass and the barren trees turn green. Spiritually it represents the resurrection life of Christ who is the Living Word. We feed upon the Word and then lie down and rest in Him and meditate on His goodness as we slowly chew and digest what we have read. We rest in the resurrected life of Christ who gave His life for us. His life satisfies the hunger in our soul and it is the only thing that can. Many people today are trying to satisfy their hunger with the things of the world, but they are only temporary. The more they get, the more they want, and they are never satisfied enough to lie down and rest. Only by knowing the Lord as their Savior will they experience that kind of satisfaction.
Another thing that is important to sheep before they will lie down to rest is that they must feel safe from predators. If they are afraid or feel insecure, they will not lie down. The shepherd’s voice is calming to them if they are restless. Our Shepherd’s voice, His Word, also assures us, as His sheep, that we are safe and secure in Him. He speaks calm words of assurance to us in John 10:27-28: “My sheep hear my voice [the Word], and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” How much more secure can we get than that?
If you are feeling insecure and unable to rest, then you need to open your Bible and read God’s Word. Read it out loud so you can hear the Shepherd’s voice speaking to you to let it calm your fears. The preceding verse should give you blessed assurance that you are safe in the Shepherd’s hand, no matter what or who may come against you. Are you listening to His voice? Or are you listening to your own feelings? Or what others tell you? Take time to stop and hear the Shepherd’s voice and then enter into His rest and lie down. His calming voice also speaks to us in Luke 12:32: “Fear not little flock…;” and also, in Matt. 14:27: “…Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
Hebrews 4:9-10 speaks to us farther about resting in the Lord: “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” What does that mean? God created the world in 6 days and on the 7th day He rested, because the work was finished. When Jesus died on the cross, He cried out, “It is finished.” The work of salvation was completed. There was no work left for us to do to earn salvation. Nothing that we do could ever add to a work that was already perfect and complete. He makes us to lie down to rest in the finished work of Calvary, to cease from our own works. Paul declared in Gal. 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” If this is true, then it means that I can rest from my own works, because it is no longer I, but Christ my resurrected, living Shepherd, who lives in me and has done the work for me. Therefore, I choose to believe it and to lie down in His green pastures and be content and secure.
Psalm 23:2b: “he leadeth me beside the still waters.” He led us into green pastures to satisfy our hunger and to cause us to lie down. Now He leads us by still waters to quench our thirst. “Still waters” means “waters of quietness,” cool and refreshing. Sheep will not drink out of rushing, turbulent water that splashes up on their face. Likewise, we need our quiet times to drink in the Word of God to be refreshed. Today it seems like we are always in a rush to get things done. Sometimes God allows circumstances in our lives that cause us to have to slow down in order that we have time for His Word. We may even find ourselves experiencing some things that are like what Job went through, such as loss of health, loss of a loved one, loss of possessions or of a good paying job before we are willing to slow down and take the time to rehydrate ourselves with Living Water and to listen to His still, small voice.
The still waters of quietness are not stagnant but quietly flowing. He does not lead us by a waterfall to show us His majesty, but by quiet waters to provide us His peace. These waters are not muddy or murky because they are not troubled waters. They are pure, clean and refreshing, and we are invited to drink of them in Isa. 55:1: “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters…”.
Our Shepherd leads us to the waters, but we must be willing to drink. Jesus offered a drink of the Living Water to the Samaritan woman at the well to quench the thirst in her life that she had been unable to satisfy. When He revealed to her that He, Himself, was that Water of Life, she accepted His offer and left her waterpot and went to tell others that she had found the Christ, the Messiah.
Jesus offers Living Water to us today, to all who are thirsty: “…If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink” (John 7:37). These are the waters of salvation and of the Holy Spirit, as well as the water of the Word, through which He provides us His peace that passes understanding. It is during these times, as we drink in the waters of quietness, that He is able to restore our soul.
To be continued