ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE PSALM 23 ADVENTURE, Part 39
May 12, 2017
Over the past few months, we’ve spent a great deal of time in talking about the Paths of Righteousness, and more specifically, those things that occur as a part of our walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Throughout the past 30 years or so, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve run across who genuinely believe that God is some mysterious being in high places just waiting for folks to screw up so He can come down on them like ugly on an ape.
Sadly, there are many would-be Christians who are stuck with that mentality as well. They genuinely believe that they’ve missed the boat so badly that God is trying to do them in. NO, HE’S NOT !!! At no time does God ever take us through a series of events and circumstances with the purpose of doing us in. He’s out to do us good!
The Valley of the Shadow of Death is not there to kill us off. We are taken into it – and here’s the best part – and through it to the other side, so He can demonstrate in our lives what He has accomplished. Let’s not forget that there was a whole lot of adventure that preceded this time in our lives – adventures and experiences that well prepared us for this time in our life.
If we paid attention to the discipline that was required when we were made to lie down in the green pastures and eat and digest the Word, we were given that initial period of time in which critically important foundations needed to be laid in our lives. Without those foundations, we would be like a reed blowing in the wind, unstable in our walk, and unstable in our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Without having been filled with the Holy Spirit and having access to the languages of Heaven, we would not have the instant ability to pray in such a way that Satan cannot understand or interfere with our prayers and our intercession. Those prayers are really important to us when we are in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
We were set free from the Fear of Evil, the Fear of Man and the Fear of Death during the period of restoration, and that deliverance prepared us for the walk in the Paths of Righteousness. Without that deliverance taking place first, our walk with the Lord would be compromised, and we would compromise our obedience to Jesus’ instructions and commands.
Now we’ve seen and experienced first-hand the presence of the Lord with us as we’ve traversed these paths. When Jesus said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you,” He wasn’t kidding! Whether we’ve felt His presence or not during our walk, there has been that confident, rock-solid knowing in our beings that no matter what the circumstance, Jesus was with us, in us and manifesting through us. More than that, we have the confidence that we are in Him – and that makes all the difference in the world.
We’ve talked in the last few weeks about the Rod of Correction and the Rod of authority, and the ease it brings to us as we walk with the Lord. Last week we began our discussion on the Staff, its guidance and support. Let’s see if we can wrap up our discussion on the Staff today before we move on to the Table that the Lord has set before us.
Here’s where we left off last week.
Think back to David’s experience as he has had the Rod and the Staff with him in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Where did David’s experience with the Lord begin?
“The Lord is MY Shepherd.” And where is this path of the Lord leading David?
“And I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever!”
The Staff was more than David’s support. It was more than his encouragement and comfort in places and experiences that appeared threatening. It was more than his guidance. It pointed the way for David to where he was being led. The guidance was prophetic guidance.
In the 17th chapter of I Samuel, we have the story of David and Goliath. Everyone knows about David’s sling and the five stones that he took as he went out to meet Goliath. What always gets left out of the picture is the fact that David not only had his sling and the stones, he also had his Staff with him. It was as important to David as the sling.
In II Samuel 23, we have an account of the mighty men that went everywhere with David. One of them was Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada. Here’s what we read in verses 20-21.
II Samuel 23:20-21: And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow: And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.
Now we see the Staff as a weapon. Benaiah uses his staff to disarm the Egyptian, take the Egyptian’s spear from him and kill him with that spear.
Then we have another example of the Staff as a prophetic symbol for healing with Elisha and his servant, Gehazi. This is an instance in which a Shunammite woman has had a son in response to a prophecy from Elisha. The son has yet to reach the age of 12 but goes out to the fields to help his father. While there, he begins to complain of severe pains in his head. His father carries him back to the house, lays him on his bed and the boy subsequently dies.
The Shunammite woman will not rest or eat or sleep until she can get to Elisha. She pleads her case with Elisha.
II Kings 4:29: Then he [Elisha] said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.
From Elisha’s standpoint, that Staff would become what Oral Roberts liked to describe as “a point of contact.” It was intended to be the prophetic point of contact in which the power of God, resident in Elisha, would be transferred into the child.
The end of that story, of course, is that Gehazi was not a man of faith, and there was no faith in him when he laid the Staff on the face of the child. Thus, Elisha had to be there in person to raise the child back to life.
Let’s take a different look at the Staff. We’re still dealing with the prophetic symbolism of the Staff, but this time we are considering it within the framework of the execution of God’s judgment.
Consider Isaiah’s prophecy against the “king of Babylon” in Isaiah 14. We know, of course, that Isaiah’s prophecy was specifically meant for Lucifer as we see him identified in verse 12.
Isaiah 14:4-6: That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.
In this instance, the Staff is a staff of the wicked and a symbol of their rulership and authority. Isaiah identifies the wicked use of the staff as a means to exercise anger by beating people into submission.
Isaiah is identifying it as Satan’s staff and his misuse of it by taking what was meant for support, guidance, and the authority of the Lord and twisting its use for wickedness. Incidentally, we have here a clear picture of the definition of the word, “iniquity.”
Both Hebrew and Greek words which are translated “iniquity,” literally mean: to twist, as in, to twist the meaning, or, to twist the use of.
Satan, as the father of iniquity, twists the use of God’s Word so as to use it as a weapon against us. He twists the staff of guidance so as to lead us down the primrose path to destruction. He twists prophecy for the same reason.
Let’s wrap up our various examples of the use and picture of the staff with a command that Jesus gave to His disciples as He sent them forth for ministry.
Mark 6:7-13: And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
Pretty fascinating, isn’t it? Don’t take a purse or pouch or wallet with you. Don’t take any bread or food with you. Don’t take any money or coins hidden in your pouch for emergency’s sake. Don’t take any extra clothing. Don’t take a second coat (to use in the event of rainy weather).
You can wear what you have on. You can wear your sandals. The only thing you’re permitted to take with you is your Staff!
The essence of what Jesus was saying to them is, “You’re going in my authority and power! I’m sending you out to call men and women to repentance and to heal the sick. I’ve given you power and authority over all unclean and wicked spirits. Take the staff. You’ll not need anything else. [That staff will be the visible evidence to all who see you come into their villages and towns that you are coming with my guidance and authority. Everyone understands the significance of the staff and its associations. RAC added]
The authority and power that went with the disciples as they moved from town to town and from village to village was demonstrated daily as they preached repentance, anointed the sick and healed them, AND they demonstrated the proof of the prophecy Isaiah had given some 700 years earlier concerning the Lord breaking Lucifer’s staff as they cast out demons.
We’ve really taken a circuitous path today in talking about all the pictures associated with the Staff, and hopefully, you have a much better understanding of why David wrote, “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” Does it make sense to you? It should be readily apparent that it is the Staff of the Lord in our hands that provides the comfort. It is His authority. It is His power. It is His presence dwelling in us and with us.
Next week, we will pick up with the Table of the Lord, and the importance of David’s statement, “He prepareth a Table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” There are some rather unusual demonstrations of this throughout the Word, and the significance of this statement goes way beyond any casual consideration
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 (712) 770-4160, 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 (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
Email Contact: Admin@RiverWorshipCenter.org
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