Psalm 23:5 “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”
The primary theme of the 23rd Psalm is that God takes care of His own. Each daily devotional so far from this chapter has shown that fact. There is no doubt that He will permit some trouble, and sometimes it may even seem like He is not in control. However, if He permits it, and if you are serving Him as you ought, then you can be sure that nothing that comes your way is not without His Divine reason.
Perhaps you may even be wondering where your next meal may come from – I have been there. You may also wonder what steps you should take next. When there was a need, He met that need; although, I must admit it was not always as I had hoped or expected. Yet, He was faithful.
Even when we get into the direst of circumstances, as David sometimes was – “in the presence of mine enemies,” you can be sure that He will still provide. Do not doubt Him, but be certain to go to Him for guidance and wisdom – as well as for provision. He is more than able to give you what you need. He can and He will provide. He has given us more than one promise of this, as in Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
While in the trial, things may appear a little dark and uncertain. Remember, though, trials are only temporary, and God will put praise on your lips for Him if you just continue to wait on Him and do His will. David adds that “my cup runneth over.” This means more than enough; it overflows. How good God is to His own!
There is little doubt that our world is not getting better. Not only are there problems abroad, such as the bombings in Turkey’s largest airport yesterday, the Brexit decision, shootings in Denver, and large forest fires in California. We are seeing trouble everywhere growing.
This indicates two things to me. I find both of them in the Bible. First, the increasing worldwide problems indicate that God is less involved in blessing than He once was – but He is certainly not at all absent. I say less active, in some ways, because fewer people really want His interaction in their macro and micro worlds. They pray less, do not pay Him much attention by going to church anymore, do not read His Bible, and government leaders increasingly push Him out through legislation, and permit things that God hates. God can take a hint, too, and knows when He is not wanted!
I know He is less active in national and international affairs because, when He chooses to bless a nation, or a family, there are many things He prevents, as well as providing some obvious blessings. Yes, He permits struggles, too, but there will also be blessings. We are seeing our nation and world crumble because they do not care to seek both God and His blessings.
A second way that I know God is less active is because those who hate God, as well as those who could care less, are definitely on the increase. This happens as those who love God decreases. The first commandment of God given to Moses still stands – not for salvation – but it reveals His desire for us that He may bless us and not turn away.
It is for this reason that God, in the first of the 10 Commandments, said: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). In the New Testament, Jesus brought out its meaning like this: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mk. 12:30). The same thoughts can also be clearly found in such Old Testament passages as De. 30:16, where blessings are promised for following this same commandment: “that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.”
Being less active, though, in the overall affairs of the world does not at all mean He is less active or less interested in answering the prayers of His own people. He definitely is still working in their behalf. As far as the world goes, He is preparing to let the antichrist have it soon – but there may still be time for revival.
Revival Can Start When:
Believers Examine Where They Are in Their Relation to God
It is not too unusual for Christians to sometimes fall into a rut of living by rote. They do what they do out of duty or schedules, without taking time to check to see how healthy their personal relationship is with the Almighty.
One spiritual thermometer the believer can use is to be honest about their daily Bible reading and prayer. Do they really enjoy that personal time with God alone? One man that loved God immensely, and vice versa, was Job. In job 23:12, Job said this about his love for the word of God: “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” Is your love for the Word like that?
Believers Understand What God Really Desires of Them
Too many believers today draw their own conclusions about where they are spiritually. This is often done even though they don’t know much about the Bible, and often never ask Bible-knowledgeable people, such as a Pastor or Sunday School teacher. This most certainly will lead to a misunderstanding, and an incorrect conclusion.
A quick way to find out what God expects of Christians is to read Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Before you read, ask God to reveal problems in your own spiritual life. Be willing to make adjustments as God reveals the need.
Sin needs to be repented of. God is infinitely holy and whoever would walk with Him must also seek to be holy. If you can look at sin and it not bother you – you need to be revived. There is a problem. Confess the fact that it does not and ask God to help you hate it. If you love things that God clearly commands you to avoid, be sure that you and God cannot walk close: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Am. 3:3).
Spend Much Time in Prayer and Bible Reading While Seeking His Blessing
Realize that God is more than willing to bring revival to truly hungry hearts. David prayed: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Ps. 85:6). It is a question that expects a positive answer.
As you begin to read the Word, you may find your heart is somewhat cold towards God and His will. Ask Him to expose wrong desires and to loose your heart from its natural attachment to sin. He will do it. Let God warm your heart by His Spirit and truth.
Remember that the goal of a revived heart is to follow Christ’s example of seeking the kingdom of God first in all we do. Christ provides the example for every believer in John 8:29, when He said: “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” Paul referred to this as being dead to ourselves and alive unto God.
Seek to Keep a Sensitive Heart to His Leading
The things of this world have a natural tendency to cause us to become too busy for God and His will. It is likely to take some time to be revived. In fact, it may take some time – days and weeks before it comes. Keep seeking Him and His blessing. You will know when you are filled with His Spirit (and, no, speaking in tongues is not the evidence of it).
As you can see, revival is not for the casual seeker of God, or for those who are not serious. God wants to be much more than a spare tire or fire insurance. He is Lord overall and He desires to be that to you! When you let Him, you can understand the blessings or revival and the joy of the Lord.
Once revival comes, be sure to start doing God’s known will, and then keep on going from there. He is capable of leading you and giving you spiritual fruit if you follow Him.