I love this Psalm. It paints yet another picture of our wonderful Creator. He shepherds us and cares for us more than we could ever imagine. His grace is without limit. “I have all that I need.”
There is so much richness to this psalm, I could probably write a whole series of reflections on different sections. Take some time today to read through this a couple time if you can. How is it speaking to your heart? How do you see God a little differently when you see him as your Shepherd?
Does this sound wonderful? “A river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Most of the rivers we encounter these days are murky and often times smelly. The water of life, referring to eternal life is perpetually flowing without fear of pollution or running dry. Jesus referred to this “water of life” when he was speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well. Remember his words, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
We do know who is preparing this for us. We know the source of this living water. It is flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb. We will be forever nourished by the water and the fruit of the tree of life. It’s like the circle has completed itself. The tree of life was in the garden when Adam and Eve fell into temptation. They and their ancestors were banned from the blessings of this tree because of the curse of evil. In the end, evil has been demolished and all will be restored to what was originally intended.
That’s quite a headline! Satan’s Defeat! Hallelujah! Amen! We can all rejoice and be glad. But there are some challenging parts to today’s reading we should not overlook. First of all, Satan is set free from his 1000 year captivity (or however long this represents). There was no prison reform for Satan. In fact, if I were to guess, he came out stronger, angrier, and craftier than ever.
After all of that, we have these words of comfort. “Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Such a fate, it couldn’t have happened to a “nicer” bunch! Forever banished. It makes you wonder why there was the 1000-year imprisonment in the first place. Again, time and space is not literal. God had his reasons.
I came across a great explanation of what it means to fear
the Lord by brother Jonathan Crosby. He says, “The fear of the LORD is belief
in the Creator God of the Bible with an awestruck consciousness of His glory
and greatness and a loving desire to obey all He requires to please and worship
Him and avoid disappointing Him in any way. It is like the humble adoration and
affection that good children give a loving yet authoritative father.”
Think of this as we unpack the verse for today, verse 23. It reads, “Fear of the Lord leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm.” Unfortunately, this security does not mean we won’t encounter troubles and challenges in this life. The promise here is that when we fear the Lord, we have life with him forever. It is then that we are forever safe and secure, protected from harm.
People are born, they live, and then they die. How and when we die is not something we can predict. Jesus brings up two situations where people were tragically killed, perhaps “before” their time. Many times we see people die today in car accidents, from disease when young, or other disastrous circumstances. Do we ever ask ourselves, “were they more of a sinner than me?” I hope not.
Jesus is warning us in these verses to not focus on the fate of others. We are only responsible for ourselves, so that is where the focus should be. It’s like that in life. We all know a busy body, right? That person who just has to be in everyone else’s business. They are likely to have an opinion or two on how people are living their lives, too. May this passage speak to them and urge them to stop such ungodly behavior! Continue reading “Luke 13:1-9 – The Barren Tree”