Scripture Passage from March 19th
Psalm 23: 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. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
This past Sunday, I think that God was using Pastor Rose to speak to many of us when she preached on verse 5 of Psalm 23 and discussed resentment and rejection. In our world, the fruits of resentment and rejection are prevalent, with people being unable to forgive friends and family because of things said in the past or for political affiliations or due to feelings around COVID-19. And people have felt rejected in their lives by loved ones, like parents or siblings, or by people whom they fell in love with, or by people who they thought were their friends. Resentment has caused people to be hateful, rude, and inconsiderate towards people; and social media has exacerbated all of it by creating echo chambers and feeding into specific tribes. Rejection has caused hurt people to hurt others. Some people rejected by their parents may reject their own children, or they are cautious with friends because of the hurt they have felt in the past.
The resentment and rejection present in our world have probably had an effect on all of us. And we may feel resentment towards other people or have been rejected at one point, yet our God is our Good Shepherd who cares for us and who can take away our feelings of resentment and rejection. One of the ways God cares for us is that He has forgiven us by sending Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd from John 10, to lay down His life for us, so we can be forgiven for our sins. Another, is that we can cast our burdens upon the Lord, including our feelings of rejection that can weigh us down. Jesus’ burden is easy and light, unlike the resentment and rejection of this world. As our Good Shepherd, the things that weigh us down can be relieved and taken away.
What is great about our Good Shepherd is that we can communicate to Him and He listens to anything we tell Him. Prayer is our direct communication with God, and Jesus is our only intercessor. Prayer is the chief Means of Grace, as John Wesley says, and we can go to God with anything and everything. If we are feeling resentment towards a family member or an old friend, we can express that to God and the Holy Spirit may convict us for it, because we may be reminded that Christ came so that we can be forgiven and we are called to forgive others. If we have feelings of rejection, we can tell those to God and we can be reminded that as Christ, we have been accepted into the full Body of Christ. And we can be relieved knowing that the Triune God always listens to us, always willing to hear our joys and fears, our praises and concerns.
Finally, our Good Shepherd blesses us, preparing a table before our enemies, protecting us before them. And He anoints us, an act of showing us favor, providing us so many blessings that our cup overflows. And our feelings of resentment and rejection are taken away and we will be able to dwell with the Lord all of our days today and for eternity.
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