A Life Restored (Remix of Sunday’s sermon – audio download – http://www.firstgrandville.org/content.cfm?id=213&category_id=4 )
To have it all on the outside – money, success, lots of stuff – but falling apart on the inside?
Sin, grief, anger – these things have a corrosive effect on our souls. But also, the stress, the pressure of keeping a job, finding a job, keeping a family or relationship together – what does all of this do to our souls? We depend on ourselves; we turn inward; we go off the path; we turn away from the one who loves us most.
And ultimately, our souls become like a wilderness or a desert.
We need to be restored!
Today, when we think of restoration, we probably think of the spa. But there is something better than anything a spa can offer…
The definition of restoration is, “to bring back to its former state; to bring back from a state of ruin, decay, disease, or the like.”
You see, from the beginning of the Bible in Genesis to the end in Revelation – the goal was reconciliation and restoration between us and God. God’s pursuit of us and then the cross through which the reconciliation was achieved. And because of the person on that cross, Jesus, God got personal, literally. And through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit we can be restored in souls and in our lives.
Psalm 23 offers us this pathway to restoration guided by the Lord, the shepherd. Jesus calls himself the good shepherd in John 10. Think about it, a shepherd is personal, gentle when necessary, but also protective and patient.
As you might imagine the biggest obstacle to Jesus the shepherd leading us to being restored is …us…
But we are going to change that today…
Receive what His hand provides
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
Not lacking in anything spiritual
He makes me lie down in green pastures
Being fed with and resting in, God’s best
He leads me beside still waters
What refreshes you?
Are you thirsty?
He restores my soul
To lead away (Come away with me…) – meaning of restore – in Hebrew
Follow His guiding and protecting hand
He leads me in right paths for his name’ sake
Not ours battle to win – it’s His.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me
Imagine being able to say to Satan and challenges – I don’t fear you – my shepherd is with me – I don’t fear a cancer diagnosis, I don’t fear losing my job…
Your rod and your staff they comfort me
Shepherd – Rod for protection, staff for guidance
Embrace His open arms
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
Nothing can stop the hospitality of the Lord
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows
Both point to abundance
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
Hebrew understanding of “follow” is pursue
Romans 8:28 – God works for the good in all things…
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
God’s presence – belonging to Him above all things
He knows what we need. We don’t need a day at the spa, we don’t need more money, we need a restored soul. And he wants to give it to us abundantly. This Psalm begins and ends with the Lord – “The Lord is my shepherd, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Our souls were not meant to be deserts, dry and deserted – they were to be places of pastures and quiet waters – overflowing with the presence of God – the Holy Spirit.
Whatever is going on in your life today…
If you want rest and comfort,
If you want to feel his protection when you are in the darkest valleys,
If you want the “cup” of your soul to overflow with goodness and mercy,
If you want true abundance,
Then say it – The Lord Jesus Christ is my shepherd, and I am going let him lead me, and protect me, and let him fill me, and run to his open arms and never leave.
The restoring can start right now…
- Have you thought of Psalm 23 in this way? Often you hear at funerals, which is completely appropriate. But how about it in the present tense – in the now?
- What about restoration? What have you thought about it prior to reading this? Do you need some?
- What is the state of your soul? What can we do about it?
- Have you let the Lord touch and restore you? How about today?