Wisdom-Trek / Creating a Legacy
Welcome to Day 718 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
Facing Fears in the Valleys
Thank you for joining us for our 5 days per week wisdom and legacy building podcast. This is Day 718 of our trek, and it is time for our Philosophy Friday series. Each Friday we ponder some of the basic truths and mysteries of life and how they can impact us in creating our living legacy. We are focusing on how to live with less fear. We are exploring the trails on our trek of life that will help us to be fearless.
This does not imply that we will reach the point where were are completely without any fear, for that is not only impossible, but also not wise. There is a time and a place for an appropriate level of fear, but most fear that we experience on a daily basis has no grounding and can be eliminated as we grow in wisdom, insight, and understanding. So our objective is to experience a FearLess Friday on our trek of life.
We are broadcasting from our studio at The Big House in Marietta, Ohio. As I have often mentioned on the Wisdom-Trek podcast, we go through many different seasons in our lives. It is now autumn in the US, and the leaves are starting to change and fall. We will soon be covered in leaves here and invest many days with our large leaf vacuum picking them up between now and the end of the year.
I enjoy fall with its cooler, crisp days and the anticipation of building roaring fires in the library as we enjoy the cold winter nights. We could look at it differently and complain, but instead, we choose to embrace the inevitable and enjoy the changing season. Life is much the same way, we go through times of sunny bliss and times of bitter cold. Times when we are on the mountaintop, and times when we are in deep valleys that are cold and fearful. Let’s explore today the times when we are…
Facing Fears in the Valleys
Today, we are going to explore one of the most comforting and definitely one of the most well-known psalms in the Bible – the 23rd Psalm. It was written by David, who presents us with the scenes of a shepherd’s life, which he was familiar with, since he wandered the hills and valleys of Israel as a young shepherd boy. In it, he describes God’s providential care in providing refreshment, guidance, protection, and abundance, and in so doing provides grounds for confidence in His everlasting kindness.
David is someone whom most of us can relate to very well. He knew what it was like to be a lowly peasant because he served as a shepherd for his father’s sheep. He knew what it was like to be on top of the social ladder because he became king of millions of Israelites. He knew what sin was all about, having committed murder and adultery. He was a brilliant fighter and an excellent musician as well. Maybe that’s why most of us know the story of David so well; we can relate to him in some way. He was a man with a vast amount of experience, but the best thing that can be said about him was said by God, Himself. He called David a “man after my own heart.” David wrote this psalm, but he wrote it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at the first two verses.
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
What a peaceful picture! David, the shepherd of the sheep, said that God was his shepherd. The word LORD in this verse refers to Yahweh, which stands for the ever constant God, the one who had consistently been there for the Israelites, mercifully saved them from slavery to the Egyptians, led them for forty years through the wilderness, and brought them to the Promised Land. Jesus identified Himself to be that shepherd. David knew that this LORD was his shepherd. He is also the shepherd of Israel, the shepherd of the whole church in general, and the shepherd of every individual believer. He is my shepherd, and I hope He is yours too. We couldn’t ask for a better shepherd. And when David says that the Lord is his shepherd, what a comforting thought that is. Our Lord is a living and personal God, one who carries us in His arms, searches for us when we are lost, and takes a personal interest in us.
How does this shepherd provide for us? He lets us rest in green meadows and leads us beside peaceful streams. For a natural sheep, nothing can be better than when his shepherd feeds him in pleasant green pastures and near fresh water.
What are these green pastures symbols of? It can be nothing else than the Word of God.
The Great Shepherd takes care of His sheep and gives them all they need. If I don’t have everything I desire, I may conclude it is either not fit for me or not good for me, or I shall have it in the future. I am His sheep, so I trust Him for all things, even the air I breathe. The blessings of God and the joys of the Holy Spirit are those still waters by which the people of God are led.
Now we come to the third and fourth verses.
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You might get the impression from the first two verses that being a Christ follower is easy and we just lay around in green meadows drinking cool water. If you have been a Christ follower for a while, you know that this is not true.
David makes that clear, as he shows where the shepherd leads his sheep. As they continue down the path of righteousness; they soon find out that this wonderfully refreshing stream leads through the valley of the darkest valleys. In the darkest and most trying hour, God is near.
Why do we have to go through this valley? Didn’t Jesus suffer enough for our sins? Yes, He did, but will you feel a need to pray to God if everything you desire is given to you? Will you feel a need for His ministering Holy Spirit if you don’t occasionally suffer loss? Will you want to drink of God’s eternal life if life here was so much fun?
No! The path of righteousness, Jesus’ righteousness, must lead through the darkest valley. It’s then that our dependence on Him is greatest.
Now on to verses 5-6.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
God has prepared a great diet for us to eat, to protect us against the Devil’s attacks. We have been provided with a smorgasbord of God’s Word, that all of us have easy access to. It’s through that Word that God anoints our head with oil and fills our cups to overflowing. In the Old Testament, oil was used in times of joy and celebration. It smelled and felt good. Priests and Kings were customarily anointed with it. When the Jews had their festivals and wished to be happy, they would anoint or sprinkle themselves with precious oils.
There is the most wonderful word in verse six which is “mercy.” It does not mean the same as love or grace. It carries with it a sense of carrying out a responsibility and fulfilling an obligation. The Lord has an obligation toward us, just as the shepherd has for his sheep. It is not based on what we have done. He has an obligation to live up to His name as a merciful God. Since He is a faithful God who keeps his promises and a loving God, He has an obligation to his own name to do what He has promised to do.
Have you noticed the one repeating theme throughout this psalm? What is it? It is the importance of the Word of God. By it, our Shepherd gives us nourishment through the message of Christ. In it, we find comfort in life’s trials and tribulations. In the message of Christ our Good Shepherd, we find eternal life. Therefore, we can say with David, “The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need.”
Starting next week, our Philosophy Friday series will switch focus from living with less fear to a new segment called “Ask Gramps,” where Gramps will answer questions that you would possibly like to ask your dad or granddad, but for whatever reason, are not able to. I hope to provide you with practical wisdom about any area of life. Please submit questions that you have to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will answer them on our Friday podcast with wisdom and philosophy that Gramps has gained over the years of experience and study.
I know you will find these insights interesting, practical, and profitable in living a rich and satisfying life. Our next trek is Mindshift Monday where we will help you live differently by thinking differently. So encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along on Monday for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
If you would like to listen to any of the past daily treks or read the associated journals, they are all available at Wisdom-Trek.com. You can also subscribe through iTunes or Google Play so that each day’s trek will be downloaded automatically.
Thank you for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most of all your friend as I serve you through the Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.
As we take this trek of life together, let us always:
- Live Abundantly (Fully)
- Love Unconditionally
- Listen Intentionally
- Learn Continuously
- Lend to others Generously
- Lead with Integrity
- Leave a Living Legacy Each Day
This is Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Every Day! See you on Monday!