What the recession taught me Part III
“I am a sheep in good hands”
Synopsis of Bible Study 11/11/09
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Psalm 23: 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. -In this Psalms, David is not at a place of ease, because Saul was in pursuit of him. David is in a state of stress and strain. During this time, he gets in a reflective state and he reflects over the relationship he has with God. Sometimes during our stress and strain, it causes us to reflect over the things that are really important. What the recession did for most of us is cause us to focus us on the most important relationship that we could ever have and that is a relationship with the Lord. When David opens up in Psalms 23, he says the Lord is my shepherd and he shall not want. This really gives us an incredible revelation of the shepherd’s provision.
I. Shepherd’s provisions
Psalm 23:1: 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
1. We really want to put in perspective the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. We are dependent on the shepherd taking care of us. This means we have now become the shepherd’s responsibility. If we allow ourselves to be shepherded, we come under his covering, allowing him to take care of us. We discovered in the recession that people allowed other things to take care of them. When those things couldn’t take care of them anymore, they realized who they should have allowed to care for them (the Lord).
2. The sheep know him by name. God’s so concerned about our welfare, even when we are going through something that’s personal, he will leave the 99 in search of us. He will leave the other flock unattended just to claim you and bring you back into a right relationship with him.
3. He shall feed his sheep. Isaiah 40:11: 11He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.- God will take care of his sheep. God gathers the lambs. The lambs represent those who are young spiritually or in other words, spiritually immature. God picks them up and carries them in his bosom. During the recession, there were a lot of stuff we could not carry, but God said he will carry us between jobs.
a. He takes care of those lambs that are with young. The latter part of Isaiah 40:11 says that he shall gently lead those that are with young. They are lambs that are pregnant and can’t move at the pace they need to move. God says he will take care of you until you can birth it. In other words, many of us had dreams inside us and it wasn’t time for it to come out yet. Because you were pregnant with that dream or that vision, God says he will carry us or lead us gently so that we may make it through.
4. Spiritually, emotionally, and physically. We have to have confidence in the relationship. There are lots of people that came to know God during the recession. We knew the shepherd before the recession and because of that, we should have trusted him during the recession. Of all people, having known God, we should have known that the recession would not last for you. Luke 12:22-31: 22And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? 25And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. – God knew we needed gas in our car, because we are in a relationship with him. He says to us that we need to seek the kingdom first and all these things that we need will be added. Verse 31 says God wants to give you the kingdom. Don’t worry about how things will be taken care of. Remember we are the sheep and he is the shepherd. When we refer to the Kingdom of God, it is God’s order in heaven being brought into the natural. When we pray, we are asking God to bring the kingdom down, because that is his will for our life. If there is no welfare in heaven, then we can declare we will not be on welfare here in the earth realm, because the shepherd will take of us. Some of us pray too small. We ask for stuff instead of the kingdom. Ask for the kingdom and the stuff will follow. The Lord is our shepherd. He is taking care of our finances, our future, and etc…We don’t have to cling to a relationship that will let us down, because God will supply all our needs. We were never supposed to be in want. There are people reading this right now that don’t make much money (less than 30,000/yr) and they didn’t even know there was a recession. We are his sheep and we shall not want!
II. Sanctioned pause
Psalm 23:2: 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
1. God will make us rest. Ex- Bishop Walker explains that there are times that he has a hard time distinguishing between being trifling and resting, because he is so busy. There are times when he says he is going to rest and he can sleep the rest of the day. Somebody reading this can testify that they are so busy; it is hard for them to rest. Even when you go to bed, you are not resting. You are always thinking and the wheels in our head are always in motion. You even think about solutions to problems in your sleep! Because the Lord is our shepherd, he recognizes that it is necessary for us to finish our assignment. Because we can’t rest, God sees that we are on a path of burnout and he does for us, what we won’t do for ourselves. God creates a situation that causes us to pause. He is going to make us lie down in green pastures. Lots of times, we wonder if we pause, how will these things we do be taken care of? The answer is DIE AND FIND OUT! In other words, if you were to pass away today, if those things really need to be done, they will find a way to get it done.
2. The Lord says while you are paused, he will take care of the stuff we are worried about. Psalm 4:8: 8I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
3. God needs us to be refreshed. David is running from Saul in the text and fears that if he lies down, Saul might catch up to him. God says lay down and I will take care of that. If you don’t lie down and rest, Saul (or the enemy) will catch you through your fatigue. Ex- In your relationships, you are like a glass water. Every time somebody asks you to pray for them, be a part of a committee, or do anything dealing with Ministry, you say “yes”. As a result they keep coming back asking for more and more. Your glass keeps getting emptier, because you have all these people pulling or drinking from you. Now you got this person you hooked with (your spouse or mate) and the same thing happens to them (we are assuming that you picked somebody that is Ministry minded like you). As a result of your commitment and the nature of your dedication to the ministry, you come home and both glasses are empty. You can’t pour into each other, because you have nothing left to pour in. All you can do is say cheers, because nobody has anything left to pour into the other. You have to sit down and let God pour into you. We have a generation of folk that is tired and attending church out of routine and it makes you lose that joy you are supposed to have. You got to know when you find yourself at this place; God says you will have to lie down voluntarily or involuntarily. Some of you got mysterically sick and it was a result of God making you rest.
a. Spiritual powered. He restores our soul. Psalm 23:3a: 3He restoreth my soul: Psalm 51:12: 12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.-We want our fire back. Sometimes you get burn out within your relationships; Isaiah 40:28-31: 28Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.29He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.-They will go through their assignment without burning out.
b. Summoned path-Psalms 23:3b: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness. Sometimes where God leads us is not necessarily where we would want to go. God knows what is best for us. God says he has already thought through where we will end up. You begin to process it and wonder if he is sure about this journey he has for you. Know that the right way is not always the easy way!
Psalm 25:10: 10All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. – Wherever God leads us, is a place of mercy and truth. God says he is sending us down this path for his name sake. He has his reputation on line with us. He reminds people while you are going down the path that you are his sheep. When you read the Psalms, remember that the Psalms were actually songs. There are a lot of grammar there didn’t originally exist. What the scripture is really saying is that as sheep, we are willing to go wherever the Lord decides to lead us.
III. See his presence
Psalm 23:4: 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
1. We need to get to a pint where we see God’s presence. There are a lot of books made about the valley such as “The Value of the Valley” or “Victory in the Valley”. Walter Brueggeman is a tremendous scholar that wrote on the Psalms. They have put out material to help us.
2. There are two things that we need you to understand about the valley and why God would lead you there.
a. The valley-The shepherd will lead us there (the recession being the valley). The shepherd would lead the sheep into the valley, because the valley had the best water and the best grass. Sheep needed that water and needed that grass to climb the mountain and finish their journey. Some of you got your best word in the valley. If you would go back and look at your sermon notes you can see that the valley brought us our best sermons. Some of you can remember the last 8 sermons that were preached, because you were in the valley! Some people never took notes until they got into the valley. The valley brings to us the best sermons. Bishop explains that God speaks to him in the greatest way when his congregation is in the valley.
b. The valley provides best grass and the best food, but it is the most dangerous place for the sheep. It is a place the sheep could die, but it is a place they needed to be to live. The valley of the shadow of death was about the adversaries of the sheep. The valley had Wolves, Mountain Lions, Cougars, and Coyotes. Mountain Lion would roar and intimidate sheep.
i. One Mountain Lion’s roar would sound like 10 mountain lions in the valley and would paralyze the sheep with fear. In like manner, one person roars on your job by saying they don’t like you and they got you thinking everyone in the office don’t like you. They got you wanting to resign and they are the only one that feels that way.
ii. The wolf is the master of deception. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They get into what you like and then they show their true collars. They get into the best clothing, get their hair done, get their nails done and once you say I think I like you, they turn into something else.
iii. The Coyote is a master of setting traps. They try to ambush you. All you got to do is watch the cartoon “The Roadrunner” and you can see this illustrated. The coyote always had these ACME traps that he would set for the Roadrunner. The roadrunner would say beep – beep and the he would escape the trap. The coyote would try to see why the trap didn’t work and while doing so, the trap would fall on him. In like manner, when you are under the care of the shepherd in the valley, the traps that they sit for you will fall on them!
2. Here are sheep dealing with danger, but they have to go through this. Remember that no matter how threatening the valley is, it is just a shadow. It means there is something standing between us and danger. The light was standing there causing the image to cast a shadow. God is the light. We have a shepherd with us and his rod and his staff comfort’s us. The rod represents the word. Use your rod like the shepherd used to use his rod to protect the sheep from their predators. The Lord is the strength of our life. The staff was the curved part of the rod that was used to pull the sheep that strayed away, back in line. Straying away symbolizes us trying to get off to our self to figure things out. God will not let you get away from the flock. Just like this scenario, some people were straying away and they weren’t intending on coming to church. They felt that pull and came to church anyway and the very word they needed was preached.
3. No matter what you go through, you got to see God in it. No matter where or what we go through, God will be with us.
IV. Strategic prosperity
John 10:10: 10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Psalm 23:5a: 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
1. Proximity to your enemies- God lets the opposition stay close to you, because you will need them for your blessing. He wants to bless you in front of them.
2. Prepare-When the lord prepares a table, just like in a restaurant, the table will first be cleaned off.
a. Cleaned – God cleans the area that he will feed you at. He will remove all the things that will hinder your destiny.
b. Indentations in the wood. You have been cleaned up, but God now will cover you. When a table is cleaned, because it has some age and has been through a lot, there may be carvings and writings in the wood that some kid may have put into the table. A table cloth is often used to cover those scars. Just like this, God will cover you so that your scars will not show. Some people might treat you differently because of the scars you have on you, so he caters you.
c. Caters me –Now he starts putting stuff on us, because he knows he can trust us and know we can be used in a greater way. Security and protection
3. The anointing is in the oil. Anointing represents the word. Every attack on the sheep or any attack on us is directed at our head. This is because our enemies know that death comes at the head. Every issue you struggle with starts in the head. This is why you have to have on the helmet of salvation.
4. Psalms 23:5b says thou anointest my head with oil;
The shepherd puts the oil on you to:
a. Soothe you-the oil would be a soothing remedy for somebody or a sheep that got injured by thorns while it was trying to get something to eat. Like sheep, sometimes we are injured trying to come to get church to get fed. There is no hurt like a church hurt.
b. Status-There was different oil based on the olives use. Oil scent would tell people who the sheep belonged to. When people would smell the scent of the oil, people knew who the scent of the oil belonged to; therefore, they would know who the sheep belonged to. When you ask God to anoint you, even if you try to backslide, the oil will prevent it! When you go somewhere you shouldn’t be, people will see and smell the oil on you and know that you don’t belong. You can’t run from the oil! It will go everywhere you go. Once you have been anointed, you will no longer fit where you are not supposed to be.
c. Security-It keeps predators away. The scent of the oil would sometimes make the predators sick and it would tell them that the sheep belonged to a shepherd who may be nearby. There is something on your life that makes some people sick. This is a good thing. Some people used to like hanging out with you, but now you make them sick.
5. Favor, follower, and fellowship. Psalms 23:5c: my cup runneth over.
a. Favor- Are those things we can’t explain. God says he will let your cup run over. God will blow your mind over how he will continue to provide for you during your valley experience. You have people hating on you, because you are in overflow and you can’t even explain it yourself.
b. Followers- the recession hurt people the most that was running after stuff. It hurt people who were chasing stuff. When the stuff they were chasing left them, it felt like labor with no reward. When you are a sheep, your day of chasing stuff is over! If you would have looked over your shoulder goodness and mercy was following you all the days of your life. God’s grace and mercy says, it don’t care what going on, they got your back! Deuteronomy 28:2: 2And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. We need a blessing that will sucker punch us and wrestle us to the ground! Nowhere in the bible does it say that we are supposed be chasing anything, besides God.
c. Fellowship-We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We will be where God is. Where God is, the blessing is. Psalm 16:11: 11Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. -No matter what is going on in the world, we have joy. We let too much stuff pull us away from him. We are at a point now that we won’t let anything to separate us from the love of God.