Encouragements for our troubled times No. 27

COVID-19 Series | Date: 24 September 2020

The Elders and Deacons want to encourage the members and those who regularly meet with us through this weekly letter. If you have news which you would be happy to share with the fellowship or request for prayer, then please let us know.

A message from our Pastor

Psalm 23:2-3.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake."

The second section of this beautiful psalm tells us that the Lord our Shepherd is a good shepherd who supplies for all our needs. Providentially, He supplies every good and perfect thing for us and all mankind; ‘He makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’. But particularly, He gives His undivided attention and bestows His special care on His people; looking after their every need. And this is what we are assured of in these verses.

He provides the very best for us; ‘He makes me to lie down in green pastures’ (pastures of tender grass). Sheep spend their days seeking out the tenderest grass to eat; often wandering great distances to find it. But our Shepherd brings us to pastures full of the tenderest grass where we can lie down and eat our fill from the tender grass that surrounds us. Our Shepherd supplies for all our needs and He supplies the very best for us; “what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone, or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Our Shepherd provides for our physical needs and all our spiritual needs so that we may grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.

‘He leads us beside the still waters’ (the waters of rest). Rushing streams and fast-flowing rivers are a constant threat to sheep who have nowhere else to go for that life-sustaining liquid. If they happen to fall in they can be swept away and drowned. But our Shepherd leads us beside those waters that are still and safe. We can go in and out and drink our fill at perfect peace and rest; not fearing to drink. In fact, we can drink our fill of the life-sustaining waters. We can drink deeply of the Living Water and we will never thirst. Jesus said, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” In Him, we are refreshed and sustained every day and have life more abundantly.

But our Shepherd goes much further for His sheep. ‘He restores my soul.’ He revives us when weary. How frail and weak we are in our own strength, but He strengthens us in the power of His might, and in His strength, we are lifted up. As Paul says, “I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

He also ‘leads us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.’ He leads us and guides us making our path straight before us so that we can walk aright and do what is pleasing in His sight. He goes before us showing us the way that we should go so that we can walk in His steps of righteousness and be right before His Father in Heaven. As Paul said, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

In Jeremiah’s great prophecy of our Lord the remnant in Israel are told of their coming Messiah, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; “Behold, the days are coming says the Lord, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgement and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name which He shall be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”