Psalm 23 and the Provider

In the Bible God is often called Jehovah Jireh – The Lord is our Provider.  In Psalm 23, David writes:

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul."

Throughout scripture God provides for his chosen people in ways that allow them to flourish.  In our culture we primarily think of a provider in economic terms.  As a moral leader, providing monetarily is a component of your mission, but it is just a portion of being a true provider.  A provider will:

  1. Understand the needs of those in their Mission Field.
  2. Take on those needs.
  3. Meet those needs.
  4. Share in the needs.

In Psalm 23, David reflects on his time as a Shepherd in the Judean wilderness where he was charged with caring for his flock.  In this barren wilderness a Shepherd must provide all things for his flock, including food, water, rest and protection from predators. As I reflect on the first three verses of Psalm 23, and on David’s life, I can see how David kept his eyes on God during times of danger and turmoil.  David cultivated a relationship with God and kept his eyes focused on God and not on his circumstances.  He knew God as Jehovah Jireh, so in times of duress he found a peace that transcended the moment.  As David found rest in God, so he provided rest for his flock.

As a moral leader in today’s world, we are called to understand the times like the Sons of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32).  Today, we are faced with an increasing climate of worry and busyness.  Schedules are packed with meetings, to-dos, emails, electronic messages from all directions, the urgent demands of social media, the politicization of everything, economic strife etc.  In a time such as this, I see rest and renewal as of one of the greatest needs of those in your mission field.  As the urgency of the now presses in on those in your care, one of the ways that you can provide is to establish a Sabbath culture.  In Exodus 20:8-10 God establishes the Sabbath:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates."

Just as David looked to God and provided rest for his flock, we can look to God in our busy schedules and find a peace that restores our souls.  God has commanded not only that we observe the Sabbath, but that we also provide that rest for those in our Mission Fields as well. 

As you reflect on your role as a provider, how can you provide a Sabbath rest for your soul and those in your care?  Reflect on the Sabbath traditions in your family.  In what ways should you establish a Sabbath tradition that will bless today’s generation and generations in the future?  How about a digital Sabbath once a week?  Or could you create one day of the week that has no scheduled tasks?  Will you trust that God will provide for you as you provide a Day of rest for those in your Mission Field?  If you take this one step, I am sure that you will find those in your Mission Field resting beside still waters and with refreshed souls.

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