Try this little exercise with the Lord’s prayer. I found this in Dr. Mark Rutland’s, “21 Seconds to Change Your World.” Praying the line that says, “Lead us not into temptation,” place your hands over your eyes. Now pray it with your hands on your head. Now pray it with your hands on your mouth, then your ears, and finally on your heart. Why did I have you do that little exercise? Because all of temptation begins in those parts of our head and if we we give into the temptation; it goes to our hearts. Those are the entry places of temptation. We must be careful to set a guard over every one.
I wonder how many times David poured oil on the wounds of his hurting sheep? Your Great Shepherd continually pours anointing oil onto your head, so that it runs down on your face and your whole body. He has anointed you for whatever He has called you to do. Your cup runs over. Rejoice and let it flow. Be encouraged as your Father and your Shepherd will accomplish what concerns you. And …
Be grateful for His daily bread and be content.
If God adds another blessing, receive it with gratitude. When your cup runs over, be grateful. Rejoice and never take it for granted. Despite how sinful, or smelly or stupid His sheep are, we are still His sheep.
So, let’s look deeply today into the Lord’s Prayer and compare it with Psalm 23. Pray both of them before you begin today’s study and ask the Lord to feed your soul with His powerful prayers.
Jesus said, “Our Father.” David said, “My Shepherd.” There are differences and comparisons in the two. Jesus was teaching us how to pray, who our God really is. When Jesus used the pronoun, “Our,” He wants you to realize you are part of “the family of God.” Jesus was God’s firstborn Son and we get to be included in His Sonship.
When David said, “The Lord is my shepherd,” He wanted you to picture a compassionate shepherd, caring for every need of his sheep. Shepherds place their sheep by still waters and in green pastures. They risk their own lives to protect these defenseless sheep. You see, David with all of his weaknesses and failures, understood intimacy with God as he cared for his flock.
Jesus spoke of our relationship with God as father to his child. David spoke of the relationship with a shepherd to his sheep. David was comparing himself to a sheep. You understand this boy turned king had worked long and hard in the shepherd’s field. He knew sheep are dumb and defenseless. They fall over and can’t get back up, with out the help of their shepherd. They will stay in the same grassless field without seeking lush green grass upon which to graze. They don’t know how to get to still waters and will fall into raging waters.
David said, I shall not want. He does not mean I will never have to do without anything I want. We are made of earth and earth raises its ugly head ever so often. There is something inside of the earth of us that is bent toward wrongful wanting. Putting our wants to death, is not a one time event but a long and painful process. We all want stuff. David wanted stuff. Bathsheba for example. She was not God’s will for David.
“The grass is not always greener on the other side.”
Sometimes not having things or even things go our way is good for us. A life without limits becomes a life without maturity and that is never the will of God for us.
David knew the only hope for soul restoration lay at the Lord’s door. God alone can restore your soul. As He causes you to lie down in green pastures and leads you beside quiet waters; he will also restore your heavy laden soul. Like a soothing balm; He massages his holy ointment into all the dry, cracked wounds and sores, that leak deadly poison into our inner selves. He will guide you with His own presence. Your Father and Shepherd will take care of you.
Behavior always follows thought.
What thoughts continually circle through your head? Philippians 4:8 declares:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – mediate on these things.”
I pray that through these passages you have forgiven much. I pray that you will always seek to do your Father’s will. I pray you will never say these scriptures again without praying them. I pray your soul will continually be restored. I pray that you will hold the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 close to your heart both now and always.