22/03/2020: Guide my feet on the right path
WATCH THE MESSAGE GUIDE MY FEET ON THE RIGHT PATH (click on the underlined text)
EPHESIANS 5: 1-14
Walk in Love
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with
empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to
the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide
Psalm 23 is a well-loved song from the book of songs in the Bible – Psalms. I have previously asked that we each find a song, and hold it in our heart over Lent. A song that will focus our thoughts and prayers during Lent while we “Pause”; “Think” and “Pray”.
1. King David sang this song because he wanted to feel the comfort of the Father, but also because David longed to “Live”, and to be “Alive” in his relationship with the Lord (vs. 3) “he refreshes / restores my soul”. Do you need to feel “alive” “refreshed” in your soul again?
2. The way to that refreshed and renewed life is to learn to let the Lord guide your feet on the right path; to walk each day on the path that the Lord takes you on. What does this mean for you?
3. Walking the right path is not just a challenge for us on a practical level, but also challenges us at the “heart level” as well; in other words; it challenges us in our relationships with others too (see vs.5) “You prepare a table for me in the presence of
my enemies”. What does this picture mean to you?
4. To get a new meaning from the Psalm think of the images of “your rod and staff’ (vs.4c) and surely “goodness and mercy shall follow [pursue] me all the days of my life”(vs.6) and then let my thoughts below guide you to perhaps a new nderstanding:
(a) “I have watched herders at work in the rural areas and have been taken aback by the sometimes abrupt, very deliberate, well targeted blows of their shepherd’s staff on the rear of the unsuspecting animal that has wandered off the path and that
needs correcting! The shepherd’s crook is designed for both the defence of the animal and to rescue it! It can be used in aggressive defence and in purposeful hooking (rescue) to pull the animal back into line! In fact, let us also remember,
especially in our preparations for Easter, that the shepherd was expected to place his own life on the line when necessary, to save the sheep from the predator!”
(b) “The actual verb used in the ancient Hebrew for “follow” in (vs.6), is not passive, but active! In other words – “surely goodness and mercy shall – pursue me – all the days of my life” is far more accurate a translation! The goodness and mercy of the shepherd is active, looking for me, chasing me down …. All the days of my life! The picture in my imagination – is of two large sheepdogs; one called “Goodness” the other called “Mercy”; and they will chase me down and get me back in line when I wander off the path… remember sheep dogs operate with a plan and a purpose under the direction and command of the shepherd; and I am sure that many a sheep that attempted to ignore the presence of “Goodness” and “Mercy” felt the sharp painful nip of correction and discipline. A painful, well placed nip of instruction! “Get
back in line!””
How does this interpretation of mine guide your thoughts this Lent?
So, in our prayerful journey together this week of Lent; and embracing the reality of the Corona virus; we worship and celebrate the presence, protection and guidance of the Great Shepherd; who is always with us… and who will “Guide our Feet to Walk on the Right Path”; and who in love and with purpose will correct us when necessary and bring us back on to
the right path… so we may all dwell in his house for ever. Amen.
God bless you on your journey this week,