Summary: Contrary to some, God rally does want us to have purpose, pleasure and peace this side of heaven, but we let stress cloud our thinking and then that moment of stress robs us of a lifetime of rest!
Last week we learned just how sufficient our Shepherd is in all areas of life.
2 Corinthians 3:5 “…Our sufficiency is from God.”
We learn that in verse 1: Jehovah Raha = “God my Shepherd” Did you know that there are 7 times in the Bible that Jehovah is connected to another word that makes a name for God? This is great…
• “Jehovah Raha”… Psalm 23:1
• “Jehovah Jireh”… The Lord my Provider - Geneses 22
• “Jehovah Ropha”… The Lord my Healer – Exodus 15
• “Jehovah Shalom”… The Lord my Peace – Judges 6
• “Jehovah Tsidkenu” … The Lord my Righteousness – Jeremiah 23
• “Jehovah Shamma” …The Lord Ever Present – Ezekiel 48
• “Jehovah Nissi” … The Lord My Victory – Exodus 17
But now are you ready for a blessing? In Psalm 23
• “The Lord is my Shepherd” = who is that, Jehovah Raha
• “I shall want” = Jehovah Jireh
• “He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still water” = Jehovah Shalom
• “He restores my soul” = Jehovah Ropha
• “He leads me in paths of righteousness” = Jehovah Tsidkenu
• “I will fear no evil, for You are with me” = Jehovah Shamma
• “You prepare a table in the presence of my enemies” = Jehovah Nissi
No other chapter in the Bible can we find this!
Would you agree with me that life’s struggle is tough, tedious and even torturous at times? Ever feel like you are burning the candle at both ends? If you did not know – Americans are dying a slow death because of the mess of stress – it’s at an all time high here and around the world! And I don’t see stress leaving very soon from the fabric of society!
Would you also agree that when we are stressed, we have a tendency to get down on life? Shakespeare’s Macbeth reveals his philosophy of life when he said, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard of no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Contrary to some, God rally does want us to have purpose, pleasure and peace this side of heaven, but we let stress cloud our thinking and then that moment of stress robs us of a lifetime of rest!
Let’s Look at Solutions to Stress:
1. Learn to Rest In The Presence of The Shepherd.
“He makes me to lie down”
Don’t we have a tendency to just go running pass that phrase? I’m learning more about sheep than I thought I ever could or wanted.
First, sheep usually get up around 4:00am, because they like to eat when it’s still cool outside. Second, sheep don’t digest their food if the shepherd doesn’t make them to lie down in peaceful surroundings. Sheep are fearful of lying down – for good reason!
There’s an old expression with Arab Bedouins “You can lead sheep to water, but you can’t lead them to lie down.”
Let me ask, when you were young did you like to lie down and take a nap? If you are anything like me, it was a royal battle most of the time. Have you ever had a child say, “Mom, I’m going to just go lie down right now!”
So the shepherd knows best when the sheep need to lie down!
LifePoint: Resistance to rest is a mark of immaturity both in the natural and spiritual realm.
We all struggle with this – don’t we? We get up and we have our routine and hardly even think about God for the first half of the day – and God is saying to us along the way, “You’ve got it all wrong!” God wants us to rest in the presence of the Shepherd!
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”
“Still” = Cease from trying to strive without the shepherd. You can stop your restlessness when you surrender to the Good shepherd! The wars going on in your spirit, the battles going on in your mind and the fight going on in your will all cease when you surrender to the presence of the shepherd.
The stress of keeping up with the Jones is a sure mark of stupidity, the mess of keeping up with the hottest toys is a sure mark of immaturity and the pressure of keeping up with a schedule from hell is a sure mark of insanity!
We have so many in our society that if they are honest, have found that personal prosperity alone has failed to give real personal peace. We have so many today that if they are honest, have found that the power grab has failed to give real personal power.