The Psalm 23 Adventure, Part 54
August 25, 2017
We were blessed to have Bruce Allen in our home a couple of weeks ago. He came to spend a few days "just to take a break" from his busy traveling schedule. We had a great time sharing back and forth and bouncing things off each other for the whole time he was with us, but also in our Sunday gathering. He insisted that I need to assemble all of these Coffee Breaks on the 23rd Psalm and put them into a book. We've talked to a publisher, and it looks like we will be doing just that. Of course, I have to finish this series, first!
David begins his wrap-up of this 23rd Psalm adventure by stating, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” There’s a whole lot wrapped up in that, so we’ll see how far we get in sharing today.
Take a look at something that happens to Moses while he is in the mountain top with the Lord and asks this question:
Exodus 33:18-19: And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
It’s an unusual way of expressing things, and the KJV really doesn’t get it. The word, “goodness,” is an oversimplification of the Hebrew word, áeè, toob.
Here’s how it comes out when you amplify the Hebrew:
And He answered, I will cause the entirety of My self, My Kingdom, My fairness, beauty, joy, prosperity and goodness, and My discernment, to transition in phases by and upon you; I will address and pronounce the nature, the character, the makeup the personality of Yod Hey Vav Hey (Jehovah) to you personally; I will [demonstrate to you that I] bestow favor, acceptance and mercy on whom I choose to show my love, favor, acceptance and mercy. (Exodus 33:18-19, RAC Translation & Amplification)
Sure changes the picture, doesn’t it?
Consider where we’ve been and what has been developing in our character and nature during the growth processes as we’ve walked with the Lord in the Paths of Righteousness. The Lord has been developing Himself in us over these years. Anyone that thinks this is something that happens quickly in us is living in a fantasy land.
What God does is careful. It is methodical. It is precise. It is purposeful. There is design and destiny in what He is doing. And let’s not forget that this whole transformation process is designed to develop us into fit, compatible, counterparts for the Lord Jesus Christ.
After all (and we’ll get into this in more depth later), His purpose is for us to dwell with Him forever, functioning like Him, operating fully in His character, His nature, His likeness, His authority and power — ruling and reigning with Him forever!
If indeed we’ve followed where He has led us, if we have responded — and not reacted — to every situation we’ve encountered, every experience has been designed to develop All that He is in us.
I’ll say this — and keep saying it: there is no option but for goodness and mercy to follow us wherever we go if we’ve responded properly to the Lord at every stage of His development in our lives. Many years ago, during the Charismatic Renewal, Bob Mumford was teaching on the 23rd Psalm and he put it like this.
“Goodness and mercy are like two puppy dogs that follow us around. They hang at our heels. They won’t leave us alone. They’re always there!”
It’s a humorous metaphor, but you get the picture.
Here, again, is what He has been developing in us:
I will cause the entirety of My self, My Kingdom, My fairness, beauty, joy, prosperity and goodness, and My discernment, to transition in phases by and upon you.
This is exactly what has been happening. He has been “transitioning” Himself in phases within us. One does not suddenly become all of that. Look at what He did with Abraham!
We know from Acts, chapter 7, that the Lord called Abraham while he was still in Ur of the Chaldees. From all I’ve seen and know, Abraham was roughly 50 years of age when God first called him. Having been raised in a home where his father was a maker of idols and a Babylonian priest, there was nothing in Abraham’s upbringing that would lend itself to an understanding of the Lord God Almighty.
Hearing that voice of God calling him to something that simply didn’t fit his paradigm brought about a partial obedience. Notice how Stephen puts it as he is describing things to the priests and Pharisees.
Acts 7:2-3a: And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran:
What we see is partial but progressive obedience. Abraham was instructed not only to leave the country, but his father’s house as well. The following narrative tells us what happens next.
Acts 7:3b: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.
The Genesis narrative gives us a little more clarity.
Genesis 12:1-5: Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
So 25 years elapsed in Abraham’s life between his first obedient response to the Lord and his finally leaving his family household behind. He waited until his father was dead before he would actually follow the Lord into “a land that I will show thee.” That land, of course, was Canaan. There was a progressive change taking place in Abraham, but it demonstrates the patience and mercy of the Lord as He brought Abraham along towards a destiny that would eventually affect every one of us. What is clear, as well, is that Abraham saw in his spirit, the promise of God. His nature had yet to be completely transformed, but there was a yearning in him for God’s best.
That same thing has been happening to us. None of us have been totally obedient to the Lord when He first spoke to us and gave us direction. Each of us has had to be faced with our need for deliverance from one or more of the families of fear in this walk — and it is why our obedience to the Lord is, or has been, compromised during the years.
Notice that even now, Abraham’s obedience is still compromised. Instead of totally leaving all of the family behind (with the exception of his wife, Sarah, of course) he allows his nephew, Lot, to come along. That’s not going to be an immediate issue, but it is going to become a thorn in Abraham’s side in the years to come, and ultimately give rise to two nations — the Moabites and Ammonites — who would become enemies to Abraham’s descendants through his covenanted son, Isaac.
Abraham is a long way from true responsiveness to the Lord, however. He is still reactionary to his surroundings.
Genesis 12:10-15: And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.
Oops! See what happens when you react in fear to your surroundings? There was a famine in the land. Instead of waiting to see God’s provision in the midst of famine, Abraham heads for Egypt. Bad move! Now he is in the camp of the Enemy, and the Enemy sees his wife. There’s a whole lot more to this story that I won’t get into. I was there and watched things develop during that period in 1996 when the Lord took me in the Spirit and transported me back to see the unfolding of events in Abraham’s life.
God has a purposed destiny for Abraham and the Enemy is doing his best to defeat it. And Pharaoh gets wind of this beauty and decides that he’s going to have Sarah (she is still known as, Sarai, at this time because an ongoing transformation in her life has yet to be completed) for himself. Reacting again in fear, Abraham tells his wife to say that she is his sister lest the Egyptian Pharaoh decides to just kill him and take her. And that’s exactly what happens. Sarah tells the Egyptians that she is Abraham’s sister.
It’s a funny thing about God! We screw up in our obedience to the Lord. We miss it badly and yet the Lord still manages to pour out His blessing on our lives. Before I continue, allow me to say one thing here.
Just because we have the blessing of God unfolding in our lives at different times is not necessarily a sign of His approval. We’re His kids. He loves us. As such, He is going to bless us as time goes by. But the sign of His approval is going to come when our obedience and responsiveness to Him is complete and total. And the sign of His approval will be markedly demonstrated!
Genesis 12:16: And he (Pharaoh) entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
See how God is blessing Abraham? In spite of the reactionary place in Abraham and the way he is reacting in fear to things, God is still blessing him — enormously. His deception, however, is going to be found out, and when that deception is discovered, he is going to be driven out of Egypt, back to where God intended for him to be in the first place.
Genesis 12:17-20: And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
There is a progression taking place in Abraham in his relationship with the Lord, and it is the same progression that God does with us. Each of us faces one or more of the families of fear in our walk with God. It is absolutely mandatory that we be free from all fear if the goodness of the Lord is going to be manifested in our lives.
Abraham’s principal fear is the fear of death. We see it exhibited time and time again. But the progression that is taking place in him is God’s deliverance, once and for all, from that fear.
Again, we see the blessing of the Lord on display. In spite of Abraham’s screw-up by going into Egypt, and the deception with Sarah, as he departs Egypt, we see the following:
Genesis 13:2-4: And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.
The Hebrew phrase that describes Abraham’s state goes like this: ãàÊîÀ ãák. The phrase is, kabad meh ode.
Kabad describes wealth in unbelievable abundance; to be weighted down with it. Meh ode is an expression of vehemence. Hence, Abraham is being described as among the wealthiest of all people. We’ll come back to this later.
When he first came into the land of Canaan, Abraham established an altar to the Lord which he called Beth el: “the house of the Lord.” It became a pivotal place for him and his descendants. It marked the fact that God was with him, that God had indeed brought him into a land populated with multiple nations who were enemies of God, and that God had given him enormous favor with those enemies.
Before God can continue with his development in Abraham’s life, however, there must now be a separation between he and his nephew, Lot. Lot is not part of the covenant, and Lot cannot participate in what God is about to unfold.
As we see what happens, it is clear why Lot could not be a participant in that covenant and the blessing and approval of God that would come with it. As is always true when you have a relationship — particularly a family relationship — with someone who is unresponsive to the things of God, strife and division take place.
We'll stop here and pick up this narrative in Abraham's life next week. We are just getting into the picture of the goodness and mercy of the Lord, and how it follows us.
For those of you who’ve been participating in our Monday night Healing Prayer Conference Call, we just want to let you know that beginning with the month of July and continuing until the first Monday night in October, we will be taking a break for the summer. We’ve found during the past three years of doing this call that participation during the summer months drops significantly because of folks taking their vacations, and being involved in other activities. That said, we will resume our prayer calls on Monday night, October 2nd.
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 are now making these gatherings available by Skype. If you wish to participate by video on Skype, my Skype ID is regner.capener. If you miss the live voice call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
Email Contact: CapenerMinistries@protonmail.com
All Coffee Break articles are
copyright by Regner A. Capener,
but authorization for reprinting, reposting, copying or re-use, in whole or in
part, is granted –provided proper attribution and this notice are included
intact. Older Coffee Break archives are available at http://www.RegnersMorningCoffee.com.
Coffee Break articles are normally published weekly.
If you would like to have these articles arrive each morning in your email, please send a blank email to: AnotherCoffeeBreak@protonmail.com with the word, “Subscribe” in the subject line. To remove yourself from the mailing list, please send a blank email to AnotherCoffeeBreak@protonmail.com with the word “Unsubscribe” in the subject line.
CAPENER MINISTRIES is a tax-exempt church ministry. Should you desire to participate and covenant with us as partners in this ministry, please contact us at either of the above email or physical addresses, or visit: http://www.RiverWorshipCenter.org.