Psalm 23 A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down
in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death,
I will 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 love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house
of the LORD forever.’
— Psalm 23
If God is anything, he is a leader. He is the best, the first, and the last. And God, because he is a leader, desires to lead us, his children, in the way that we should go. This article is about his desire to lead us into that path of righteousness, for his name’s sake. I’m hoping and praying that you will be encouraged by it, and understand that God is not against you at all, but is entirely for you, in the midst of his leadership.
Recently, I was engaged in a conversation with a man at a table (now the man was not a Christian), and I was slouching over a little bit … you might say I was leaning too far back on my chair, and, well, I guess you could say I was not demonstrating a real sense of ‘attentiveness’ to the situation. All of a sudden, I had a ‘real live vision’ of myself tapping this man on both of his shoulders! Wow! That was surely God speaking to me … the vision was very real, very distinct, and, so, instantly — lest I be labelled as ‘disobedient’ by my heavenly Father — I straightened up in my chair and stared this man right in the face, eagerly awaiting the very next move!
Now when I received this vision, I knew it was God speaking to me, but I didn’t immediately understand what God meant by it (that is typical of anyone receiving visions, so don’t be alarmed if you get a vision you do not immediately understand). All I knew was that I saw myself tapping this man on both of his shoulders! But how could I do that if I was slouched over and not staring at that man to his face? Impossible! So, naturally, my first inclination was to immediately straighten up in my chair, and look this man directly in the face. Then I could tap him on both of his shoulders … just like … God wanted?
Ah … it seems God’s plan worked! As soon as I sat up straight in my chair and faced the man ‘head on’ as it were, I realized that the Lord, evidently, did not want me to ‘tap this man on the shoulders’ at all, but rather, I had had the vision in order to get me to straighten up a little bit and show this man some more respect! After all, this was a man that God wanted to communicate with (through me), but was I being a good example all slouched over like that? Surely not! Thus it is that I am fairly convinced, that this is clear evidence of God’s leadership at work in my life.
Now I have noticed that that is the way it often is with me, and with God. God will ‘do’ something, or ’cause something to happen’ which I then respond to. That is God … leading me to that ‘better place’ that he has for me — to that secret place, to that place of intimacy with me and him, to that place of obedience, which will produce fruit in my life. God, then, is a loving father, who leads us through things like this. We are not to be afraid of him when we receive visions like these, as though he is asking us to do something which is ‘too difficult’. No, but instead of drawing the (incorrect) conclusion that what God is asking us to do is ‘too difficult,’ rather, I think we need to learn to begin to ‘follow through’ on what God is showing us, without fear, and with a confident sense of trust in his never-failing goodness.
Remember, he is our father. He does not want to embarrass us, or bring us harm when he shows us visions like these. But, instead, like a gracious father, he is reaching out to us, so that we may begin to take some action that will lead to ‘righteousness, peace, and joy’ in the Holy Spirit. In this case, by straightening myself up like I did, I was able to face that man ‘head on’ and have an unabashed, face-to-face conversation with a man who desperately needed to hear about the love of the Savior. And that is exactly what I did, as God led me on even further in that conversation, as not one, but two, men, were able to hear about the plan of salvation for their lives, for the very first time. (One of these men is a Seik from India, while the other is a Hindu from Sri Lanka.)
Praise God for his leadership! Will you trust him today, to take you by the hand and lead you where he wants you to go? Some times there are deep valleys, and sometimes the mountains are absolutely glorious. But in all these things, what is most important, is that you let God lead you where he wants to take you. In this, your spirit will rejoice, and you will bring forth fruit that remains.