Summary: "Refreshing My Empty Times" provides four essentials for experiencing satisfaction in life from Psalm 23:1-6. If you’ve ever been disappointed by the emptiness and dissatisfaction that often times marks our lives, then you might be ready for Times of Ref
The Crossing Community Church
Times Of Refreshing
“Refreshing My Empty Times”
Pastor Jim Botts
September 1st, 2002
As Labor Day arrives, many of us are officially getting out of summer mode. Remember when it was springtime? We wanted it to be summer: swimming at the beach and enjoying the great outdoors? Then when summer came, we wanted it to be fall: cool dry breezes, colorful leaves and football. Then when fall arrives we begin to look toward winter, snow days and spending the holiday season with family. But when winter comes, we want it to be spring again, sunny days, nature blossoming back to life and baseball.
One man put it this way. When I was a child I wanted to be an adult with freedom and respect. When I was 20 I wanted to be 30, more mature and sophisticated. When I was middle aged, I wanted to be 20, full of youth and energy. When I was retired, I wanted to be middle aged, seasoned by experience and without physical limitations. Then my life was over, and I realized…I never got what I wanted.
So many of our lives are characterized by dissatisfaction, always wanting something else, yet feeling empty and wanting more after we get it. Children want more toys, teenagers want more freedom, adults want more money and seniors want more time.
We’ve been in the book of Psalms, looking to experience “Times of Refreshing” from the presence of the Lord. If you’ve ever been disappointed by the emptiness and dissatisfaction that often times marks our lives, then Psalm 23 is for you. One of the most beloved portions in all of God’s Word, it has been a comfort at funerals, an encouragement to the bedridden, and a blessing to young children. King David wrote this Psalm, which gives us the essentials for “Refreshing My Empty Times.”
Read Psalm 23:1-6 (NNAS)
There are four essentials for finding refreshment in empty times…
1. KNOW WHOSE YOU ARE (v1)
The imagery of the Psalm:
When King David wrote how God meets our deepest needs, he did not envision a beggar crawling to a rich lord, or a trembling slave entreating his cruel master, but he pictured the relationship between a Loving Shepherd and his dependent sheep. David grew up a Shepherd and knew all too well the relationship, which he describes. To understand this Psalm we have to have the perspective of a sheep belonging to a Shepherd
**I can’t make it on my own:
People are referred to as sheep at least 65x in the Bible.
Isaiah says that ”we all like sheep have gone astray, each has turned to his own way.” Jesus was moved with compassion toward people because He saw them like “sheep without a Shepherd.” Not very flattering comparison when you consider how God designed sheep:
1. Directionless: cats and dogs can find their way home instinctively, but sheep are directionally confused very easily. They need the Shepherd to guide them.
2. Defenseless: most animals have defense mechanisms – sharp teeth or claws, speed, illusiveness, keen sense of smell, sight or hearing, strength, ferocity or a growl, but not sheep, they are totally vulnerable to attack from predators. They need the Shepherd to protect them.
3. Fearful: very aware of their weaknesses, sheep are spooked easily. They are emotionally reactive animals, often driven by fear. They need the Shepherd to calm and rest them.
4. Filthy: Other animals lick, scrape or roll themselves in the grass to get clean, not sheep, they will carry parasites and remain filthy unless the Shepherd cleans them.
5. Dependent: other animals can find food and water on their own, but sheep will be happy to eat poisonous weeds and die. They are so dependent that one will follow the other in destructive patterns. They need the Shepherd to provide for their most basic and fundamental needs.
That’s God’s Design: Like sheep, we were NOT created to try to make it through life on our own. Because God designed us to for a personal relationship with Him, and we’ll sense something is missing from our lives until we come to know Him. The sense that something is missing from our lives is felt by the “poor and unknown” as well as the “rich and famous.”
Kurt Cobain, the leader of the platinum-selling rock band Nirvana made a career by singing about life’s emptiness and frustration. At the age of 27, he took a shotgun and killed himself in his Seattle home. Despite his success and fame, he regularly spoke of the emptiness of his own life. After Cobain’s death, former President Clinton had his infamous encounter with MTV. A 17 year-old girl in the audience told Clinton, “It seems to me that Kurt Cobain’s recent suicide exemplified the emptiness that many in our generation feel.”