Something about the season of fall overwhelms my heart with excitement as the new season begins showing bits of itself around my small town of Fort Worth. Okay, so Ft. Worth isn't all that small, but it does a pretty great job of presenting itself in such a way that it makes you feel like it is. I remember this time last year sitting in my living room blogging about fall. I love the way it makes me feel. Everything is so crisp and fresh. I love fall...for more reasons other than just Pumpkin Spice lattes are back at Starbucks.
I have been reading through the gospels lately to look at who Jesus is and how He lived on this earth when He walked among men. I came across Luke 15 yesterday, verse 14 when Jesus is describing the joy of finding one that was once lost and is now found in the parable of the "Lost Son" to the Pharisees and scribes. The words, "and he began to be in want," stopped me. Have you ever been reading God's Word and all of the sudden a word or phrase catches your attention and you have to stop and kind of chew on what He is saying? I was listening to a sermon the other morning as I was getting ready for work and the guy speaking talked about how cows digest their food. Cows have four stomachs..did you know that?? Cows will chew grass, swallow it, regurgitate it, chew it a little more, swallow, regurgitate and so on until they have done this four times! Cows really chew on something until it is fully digested. I'm a very visual learner, so I am constantly thinking of how to describe something in painting a picture. I felt like this painted the picture perfectly for us as to how we are to chew on God's Word and really take it all in.
What does being in want really mean? And why does David say in Psalm 23:1, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want?".
The parable of the lost son begins when the younger of a man's two sons comes to him and asks him for his inheritance. Only a few days later the son gets together all of his belongings and sets out on his own path. The scriptures say he wasted his substance with riotous (lack of self-restraint) living and spent all that he had. When his money ran out, there was a great famine and the son began to be in want. For days he worked on a field feeding and eating with the swine. "And when he had come to himself, he said, 'How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough to spare, and I perish with hunger!'"
How many times do we often take the bread that the Father has given to us and think we can walk down a path without him and survive? In the Old Testament, God provides manna for the Israelites on a daily basis. Every morning they would go out unto the fields and collect the bread that God had provided for them for that day alone. If they tried to take in more bread to store up for the next day, it would go bad and they would be hungry the next day. God gives us only what we need for today. He tells us not to worry about tomorrow. He is focused only on today. This causes us to recognize our dependance on Him. Read Proverbs 30:8-9. “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” Proverbs 30:8-9 Some versions read, feed me with your daily bread.
Look at the rest of Psalm 23. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4 David says he shall not want, because he chose to walk with the Father.
When we choose to walk with the Father, He leads us in the paths that He had planned for us. Paths of righteousness. When we walk through dark places, we hold confident that He is still with us.
To bring all of this to an end, I want to share with you the other brother's response when his brother came home and he saw his father rejoicing and celebrating the son's return. The son said to him, "'These many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I any time thy commandment: and thou never gavest me a kid, that might make me merry with my friends.' His father responds, "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine."
Let this be a reminder to all of us, that even though there will be times that you feel even when you are walking with the Father and doing His will, you may not feel as though there is a celebration going on everyday of your life. There is always work to do and trials that will come even when you choose to walk in the path of righteousness. But when you are walking with the Father, He gives to you all that He has. It is more then enough.