Tuesday, 14 January 2014

TFTD - 11 January 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

11 January 2014

Genesis 20; 21
Psalms 23; 24; 25
Matthew 13

"PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS"

What is really so special about Psalms 23? There are several popular hymns based on its words. Are these just words? God's words need to 'live' in our heart - not just go in one ear and out the other, as the saying is. In today's non-stop world, that can happen all too easily.

Its words encourage peace of mind that is not a common blessing today! The LORD is my shepherd! Have you ever thought that Jesus would have seen his Father as his shepherd and what these words would have meant to him? The LORD shepherded David throughout his life, he "put away" his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah even before he asked, because he knew the overall condition of his heart.

A good sheep is ever listening to his shepherd's call. If the sheep are listening for the shepherd's voice they will never be in dire need, there will be still waters - and when life gets difficult the shepherd will be there to see to their restoration.

Of course the need for restoration indicates some difficult or even desperate situation when the sheep might, for the moment, cry out, "My God why have you forsaken me?" Psalm 22:1 which surely indicates David had some moment of desperation - before his greater son used those words and then gave the climaxing cry, "It is finished" [John 19:30]

"He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake" [Psalm 23:3] Notice it is "for his name's sake" - it is because we bear his name, we belong to him, if we have taken on his name in baptism. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me" [Psalm 23:4]

There are few if any who have not experienced "valleys" - but it is the valleys that help us to appreciate the high hills and the vision they give to us. Life that is lived on a flat plain provides no vision.

What are the "rod and staff" that comfort us? They are symbols, we suggest, of strength and support; the control (when needed) possessed by the shepherd. How marvellous the vision of the last verse, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever"
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- DC


Thought for the Day

11 January 2014

"The Bible was waiting for us when we came, and it was waiting to be read by us; but not in the sense of counting so many verses and words, then closing the book, but in the sense of the Psalmist, who wrote: "Show me your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me: for you are the God of my salvation" (Psalm 25:4-5). To learn and to be taught is essential before we can hope to extract that spiritual food which so frequently lies between the lines, and beneath the surface - a reading which is calculated to implant a firm and robust foundation for the love of God and for His truth - a searching reading."

- T. Sturgess
The Secret of the Lord (1918)