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Death & Comfort

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Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:58
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2 Kings 6:8-23 The king of Aram was at war with the kingdom of Israel.
He kept trying to set up ambushes to get Israel’s trade caravans.
But the prophet Elisha kept telling the king of Israel all about the ambushes, so the king of Israel could avoid them.
This made the king of Aram really mad.
He asked “Who is the spy?”
but his commanders said, no this is Elisha’s work,
He tells his king the very words you say in private.
So the king of Aram, said
Find out where he lives so we can get him!
They found out he was living in Dothan and at night they surrounded that town.
In the morning Elisha’s servant woke up and saw the army around them and he was scared!
But God had sent his own army of angels too!
Elisha knew they were there, but his servant could not see them.
Elisha prayed and God opened his servants eyes and there was an even bigger army of angles surrounding Aram’s army.
When they attached, they didn’t kill anyone!
But they made them blind.
The blind solders were not very dangerous,
and Elisha had them brought together,
Elisha marched them down the road to the capital city of Samaria it was about 10 miles away.
In the midst of that great big city, Elisha prayed, and God gave the enemy solders back their sight.
The king of Israel said, said to Elisha,
Shall I kill them?
But God didn’t want them killed.
God said thru the prophet Elisha, feed them and send them home.
So that is what they did.
If you were the king of Aram, and your whole army was struck blind,
gathered together, marched down the road and but in the middle of a big city before receiving their sight back
then fed and released
Would you think twice about starting a fight with that nation again?
I would!
And for a while that is exactly what the king of Aram, did.
He didn’t mess with them for a while.
When life looks scary to you,
I want you to remember this story and ask
not only for God’s help in prayer but also
for God to show you what he is doing.
You might be surprised at the help God is sending you.
Let’s pray.

A theme of Death

In the last week or so, death seems to have come up a lot in my life.
A man in despair had thoughts about death.
A prayer request involved a tragic young death
A women lost her baby brother in a motorcycle accident and
Even one of the Clothing Closet volunteers had passed away.
I thought,
I’m surveying the Psalms now,
what Psalms bring comfort to those in hard hard times,
and the 23rd Psalm came to mind.
Let’s read that little Psalm together, than talk about it.
Please stand and read with me
Psalm 23 NIV
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, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Those first 3 verse tell us about God and his actions toward us

He is

He is my shepherd
He make me lie down
He Leads me
He refreshes me.
He, God does a lot of things for me
And if He is your shepherd too,
God does the same kind of things for you.
What does a shepherd do?
He leads the sheep
and they follow him.
Jesus said
John 10:27 NIV
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
The good shepherd lives with the sheep
He gives them what they need, not always what they want
like warming pills
The Good shepherd protects the sheep as Jesus says
John 10:11 NIV
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Sometimes a shepherd has been known to injure a sheep that strays too often and then
nurse it back to health.
We could also say, God is my coach, God is my personal trainer
because He want’s to make positive change in our lives
that we wouldn’t or couldn’t make on our own,
Why make the changes,
so we live the best life we can now and enjoy life in Him all the more.

I lack nothing

I may want many things, but when it comes to what I really need
I’m not wanting
God takes care of my needs.
He makes me lie down
Do you remember the 4th commandment
Exodus 20:8–11 NIV
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Mark 2:27 NIV
27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
God knows the way we were made.
He knows we need a sabbath, he commands it and
if we just burn the candle at both ends,
we usually get a time out from
illness or
So it’s no wonder that David said about God

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

Green pastures, that is a good restful place.
He leads me beside still waters.
Growing up, we went water skiing every summer.
Almost always
we were on a reservoir not a flowing section of river,
Because a flowing river is inherently more dangerous than a reservoir.
Working at Village Missions,
the office hears about the prayer requests and
sometimes tragedies from 180 or so churches.
I remember the desperate prayer request that came in for a family who lost their child in a raging river.
But God doesn’t lead us to raging rivers,
He leads us to quiet waters.
A place where even heavy fleeced sheep can be safe.
and not drown
As He makes us rest
As He leads us to quiet water
we can be at peace and
He can restore our souls.
He guides us
but not across town or across the dessert
the God of the Universe
guides us in Paths of Righteousness
That is
He guides us in
how to live our Best lives in Him
He guides us with His word
He guides us with His Holy Spirit in our hearts
He guides us with the Counsel of others.
And why does he do all this guiding
For His Name sake.
When our life brings glory to God,
Our lives are blessed
So the best thing that can happen in our lives, is when
we bring God glory!
Amen? Amen!

The Shadow of Death

If you are following the Good Shepherd and He
leads you through the valley of the shadow of death
That is not the same as wild living and
bad choices.
Even following the Good Shepherd, we are going to
pass through some dark valleys.
It’s in the valley we seem to grow the most.
And why would he lead us through a rough place
Except to get us to a better place beyond this dark valley.
Many of our dark times do not lead to our death
but even when the valley is our death
It leads to Eternal life with Jesus.
So what’s to fear.
What is there to be afraid of?
Paul said:
Philippians 1:21 NIV
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Rod and Staff

I had to look up the difference between Rod and Staff today.
The Rod was used as a weapon, a club to fight off the animals that would prey on the sheep.
The Rod is also seen as a symbol of authority, in a family, tribe or kingdom, not unlike a scepter.
The staff is longer, thinner and has a crook at the end.
So if a sheep is hopelessly stuck in briers, the shepherd can push the staff in the patch
solidly hook onto the sheep and pull it back, pull it free.
Knowing that God has the power to defend me
knowing that God has the power to rescue me
is a comforting thought.

From He to You

Did you notice the change from talking about God to talking to God
from saying He this and
He that
You oh Lord
You are with me
your rod
your staff
they comfort me.
Our talk about God needs to change to talk to God,
talk with God.

You prepare a table

Isn’t verse 5 AMAZING?
Psalm 23:5 NIV
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
That reminds me of the children’s story today
Here an enemy wants to crush us and they are defeated by God
We eat in safety and peace
while they are frustrated.

Anointed with Oil

who gets anointed with oil?
The High Priest
But God anointed my head with oil
Talk about getting the royal treatment
At the Mid-Winter Retreat the speaker recruited someone with a glass a water and then bumped them.
His point was
whatever you are full of,
that is what spills out
when life bumps you.
So if you are full of the joy of the Lord
when you are bumped in life
all that spills out is joy
Not profanity

Goodness and Mercy

What about goodness and Mercy following us.
You could think of it as goodness and mercy always lagging us
But I think a better understanding would be
Goodness and Mercy alway pursuing us
like something good we can never really get away from.
And the final prize,
when we walk through that last lonesome valley

I shall dwell in the house of the LORD


That is what is available to us,
if we let the Lord be our shepherd.
There is no doubt
lives have valleys,
but we don't have to go through them alone.
Let’s pray.
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