July 15, 2016
Let's see if we can wrap up with I Shall NOT Want today and move on to the third part of this adventure -- and that's what it is! -- He Maketh Me to Lie Down in Green Pastures. By now, perhaps, you are seeing just what all is involved in this transition from gloom and doom, from self-focus to the King of Glory being revealed IN US!
This is radical change, folks! Our whole character and nature are being transformed. How was it that Paul put it?
Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The thinking of this world and its societies has been contaminated with the lies of Satan. "Hath God said" underlies just about every controversy you can think of that challenges our relationship with the Lord and our ability to be conformed to His image. "Hath God said" is the root behind the generation of all fears that contaminate our thinking and our lives. (We will get to that much more in depth in the weeks to come.)
I remind you once again that everything we are discussing is predicated on, “I shall not want.” That includes our health, and our physical well being.
That said, consider what the Word says about our health, our strength, our stamina, our healing and our overall well-being.
What does God's Word say concerning diseases?
Psalm 103:2-3: "Bless the Lord, Oh my Soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, Who healeth ALL thy diseases;"
And how about this one? You’re all familiar with the song we’ve sung from Malachi 4:
Malachi 4:2-3: But unto you that fear My Name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 3And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
And then there’s this one.
I Peter 2:24: "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes YE WERE healed."
You see where the confession lies, don't you? Healing is an accomplished fact by Jesus Christ. He took care of all of our sicknesses and diseases on the Cross. We are THE healed!
Satan simply wants to rob us of our healing by getting us to confess that we own, that we possess these sicknesses. I'm not talking about mind over matter. It isn't a case of us not being hit with these afflictions. Satan does come along and hit us with these things in order to tear us down, to destroy us, to bring us under subjection to disease so that we will not exemplify the Word and the authority of the Lord to the world around us.
We'll deal with this more in future discussions, but let me wrap up what we’re focusing on with this statement for you to chew on: There are NO promises made in the Word of God that we cannot possess; but our possession of those promises absolutely depends on the words that come out of our mouth.
That we declare our agreement with and our conviction that the promises of God to us are brought to fruition in the statement, I shall not want, puts us on track with the restorative process detailed in the 23rd Psalm. Consider what is happening with our confession:
All of Creation began with the spoken Word. Nothing happened until The Word Himself declared, Light BE!” We get to the sixth day of Creation and see the Lord molding us and shaping us, creating us to be just like Him.
Then He blesses us and imbues us with the same creative power of speech that was and is inherent in Him. There was a catch, however!
In creating us to be like Him, He also created us with a will of our own. We were never created to be automatons — robots who obediently followed every command blindly without making a personal decision to be obedient to His will because of a personal love relationship, friendship, and companionship with Him. That wasn’t what He was after.
From the beginning of time, God’s purposes have always been to have a family of His own — a people who reflect His nature, His character, His personality, and function at the same time with His power and authority. The authority He has given us was never given to be used whenever we decided to. Rather it is an authority, coupled with the power behind it, which is under disciplined control.
Thus the process of transformation from the corrupted image of flesh-based, emotionally reactive thinking and decisions to that image we were first created in and for — to the place where we are truly living and operating as God designed us.
We were designed for fellowship with Him. We were designed to function like Him. We were designed to rule with Him.
The earth, and all that is therein, was created as a laboratory to develop a people who would overcome every obstacle, every kind of opposition — including the opposition of their own flesh, as well as the devil. Satan began his existence as Lucifer — an angelic being — whose initial purpose was to surround the Throne of God as the source of praise and worship.
From the very beginning, God knew that Satan would come to a point of arrogance and rebellion and attempt to usurp the Throne and supplant God. God was not taken by surprise when he did so. Neither was He taken by surprise when Adam disobeyed the command to NOT eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. All of these events played directly into the sovereign plan to develop a people, a race of beings like Him, who would be able to develop His character and nature and authority, and in the process of overcoming, also overcome the highest angelic being ever created — now fallen — and learn to rule with His authority.
The adventure we know as the 23rd Psalm is both a prophecy and a transformative process which begins with our doing the very same thing that God did at creation — speaking! Declaring! Decreeing! We are being re-created. The Lord is my Shepherd begins the decree of change. I shall NOT want is the return of our life to the Tree of Life! It marks our departure from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I shall NOT want really says the following — and this is how it is expressed in the Hebrew text.
[My supply has been fully met.] There is nothing I have need of that has not already been provided or taken care of. I shall not fail. I will not decrease. I will never have a need that has not already been taken care of [whether material, financial or my physical health and well-being]. (Psalm 23:1b, RAC Translation & Amplification)
OK? You see what kind of transformative process is taking place, don’t you? Here, again, this takes place with our confession, our agreement with the Lord and our declaration!
Christianity, from its inception, has been about a personal, living, love-relationship with the Lord God, with Jesus Christ as the center of that relationship living and breathing in and through us to develop and conform us to His character and personality and traits.
To get there, some essential foundations must be laid in our lives. Those foundations all -- without exception -- being in His Word!
You want to "dwell in the House of the Lord forever"? Good! In order to do that, you must come to the place where you eat, sleep, breathe, and -- most of all -- speak the Word of God with the Faith of God.
David understood the necessity of living and breathing a relationship with the Lord. He saw in his daily shepherding activities as a young man all of the examples which demonstrate the processes of the Lord to bring us to that point. Being "constrained" or compelled to lie down in green pastures was and is the first and most essential beginning place for that relationship to develop to maturity.
There is no substitute for the Word of God. NONE!!! Being compelled, therefore, to lie down and eat is a picture that our modern society has little understanding for. This is a picture of very slow, deliberate, un-rushed and unhurried eating. Sheep who lie down to eat take bites, then chew on it, swallow, wait for some short (or varied length of) time, then take another bite, chew on it slowly, then swallow it -- and the whole process repeats itself until the immediately accessible food has been eaten and digested. The sheep then gets up, moves to another good green spot, lies down and repeats the whole process again.
Are you getting the picture? This is a process. This is deliberative. This is methodical.
The shepherd will watch the flocks until the sheep have eaten most of what is in that immediate area before leading them to another part of the pasture. Over time, that area already eaten will grow up again, and the shepherd will lead his sheep back to it to feed on that same grass again. It is a wonderful illustration of eating the Word, chewing on it, swallowing it, digesting it, and -- over time -- coming back to it again to take more of that same Word in again.
You will hear me say this again and again throughout this series. When David said, "I SHALL NOT want," he wasn't simply speaking metaphorically. He wasn't referring just to material needs (although they were certainly a part of the picture). He was speaking of his health. He was speaking of the totality of his existence. He was speaking of his walk with God. He was referring to having the nature and character of the Lord inherent in his own makeup and character.
David didn't get that built into himself by any other means than to eat of God's Word. He spent time in the presence of the Lord.
I've related some of this before, but many years ago, I had an experience in which the Lord took me to Heaven. During that time, I met and talked with David; and he shared with me the wonder of being able to sit on the hillsides watching his sheep and having the Spirit of the Lord flow through him as he sang and praised and worshiped God.
He shared how the Lord poured Himself and His character into him during those hours, those days, those weeks, months and years of spending time with Him. He shared how He heard the voice of God, and how the Lord poured His Word into him.
David didn't become King of Israel by some accident. He wasn't chosen because he was a "good guy." David knew the Lord. He had a living relationship with Him.
David meditated in God's Word -- the written Word that was available at the time, and the living rhema that he received in the midst of the hours he spent in praise, worship, prayer and thanksgiving.
If you remember, David begins the Psalms like this (See Psalm 1):
Psalm 1:1-2: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law doth he meditate day and night."
That wasn't some nice, spiritual thing to say. David made that statement because he knew the truth of it. It was life in him. He meditated in the Word of the Lord, the Law of the Lord continuously.
By the time David was chosen to become King of Israel, despite his relative youthfulness, he was mature in his walk and relationship with the Lord. He had become an effective "speaker" of the Word of God. The Word had been put to the test in him on numerous occasions.
He had successfully taken out Goliath, the Philistine giant who was challenging the armies of Israel. He had killed both a lion and a bear with his bare hands.
David knew the protective nature of the Word of God when spoken. He was practiced in the Word. He could clearly say, therefore, with complete conviction and understanding, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures."
David understood the essential nature of being compelled -- by virtue of time and circumstances, and the things he learned in God -- to feed on God's Word. That, my friends, is exactly what it means to "lie down in green pastures."
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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