Life is not static! It moves at a fast pace, and for some of us the word “frenetic” is an apt description. The phrase “paths of righteousness…” in Psalm 23 is very interesting. At least two things are implied: 1) The shepherd leads us; 2) the shepherd’s path is the correct one. Whatever else is true about paths of righteousness, it seems that these paths should not be frenetic.
There is a difference between what I want and what I need. In theory, we all embrace this idea. The difficulty comes when we begin to define the words. What is the difference between a desire and a need? Are unfulfilled desires actually needs? If so, which ones? The Good Shepherd promises to supply all our needs. Let’s think about what that means.
This week we begin a series on the 23rd Psalm. This is perhaps the most well-known passage in the entire Bible. Each week we will read the Psalm together and focus on just one verse. Our focus this Sunday is simple – our shepherd will always provide for our needs. This is a repeated theme in the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the Epistles. May we learn to rest in this eternal promise from God.
We usually think in terms of contrast – right or wrong, good and evil, righteous vs. unrighteous. However, we are also aware that life is more nuanced than those simple categories. This is also true of faith because faithfulness and unfaithfulness reside in the same people. Individuals are both righteous and unrighteous. This is especially true in the life of King David, “a man after God’s own heart” according to the Bible. How can we hold these “contradictions” in tension? Let’s think about it using the life of David as our example.
Our passage describes a story of the young boy Samuel, who was surprised to hear the voice of God. Listening for the voice of God is an important part of walking by faith, and Samuel is an example of a person who listened to God. Of course, his historical situation and his prophetic role were different than ours but surely we can learn from his example.
Jephthah made a vow to God with unintended consequences. He had faith, but his knowledge of God was lacking.
God liberated the people of Israel from Philistine oppressors through the feats of strength of the well-known Judge Samson, but Samson’s story includes not only displays of his divinely-given strength but also his self-destructive sin. Consider with us on Sunday all that his story means for us as we seek to live faithfully before God as his people today.
Judges 4:1-10. Barak was reluctant to obey God’s command to rally troops and attack Sisera’s well-fortified army, but he did step out in faith and is named as one of the faithful in Hebrews 11.
What does a group of escaping slaves, a conquering army, and a prostitute have in common? According to Hebrews, faith. Not only faith, but faith that allowed them to experience the deliverance God had prepared for them. This week we look at these three episodes and the distinct qualities of the faith on display, praying to have our faith in God’s promised deliverance, in all its dimensions, strengthened.
Hebrews 11:23-29. Moses found his faith living in the hostile land of Egypt, and his faith led him to make some remarkable choices. While we don’t worry about Pharaohs and crocodiles in the Nile, we have a lot to learn from Moses and his faith-based calculations regarding what is truly valuable.