Message Recap – 5/27/11 – Psalm 23:2

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Two weeks ago we started going through Psalm 23 verse by verse. Sometimes when reading a very familiar scripture it can be difficult to find fresh meaning as we read through it. But there is fresh meaning there – we just have to make the effort to find it. Ask God to show you what you haven't seen before.

So, if you missed it or just need to refresh your memory, you can read the recap for Psalm 23:1 here:

Part 1

Now on to Psalm 23:2: He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

Pastor Dan, like all of us, can tend to be shortsighted. He can look at the short term view and say, “Eh, that's close enough. That was pretty good, I think I'll call it a day.” It's easy to look at the short term. “I'm hungry now, so I'll just eat now.” “I'm too tired, I'll just do it tomorrow!”

That's a tendency that we all have, and it's especially hard for young people. At age 12, ten years seems like an eternity. Thinking about the future doesn't come natural. It's hard to make decisions with perspective and not get carried away by emotion. It's easy to say, “Eh, it's close enough!”

What does this have to do with Psalm 23:2?

Let's start in Ephesians 3:18-20 for the answer:

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

It can be easy as a teenager to shorten your goals. “I just want to get out of high school, that's it! Then I'll be happy.” But God has more for you! He has a bigger vision for your life than you have for yourself! He has infinitely more than you might ask or think for you!

Take a look at what Isaiah 55:1-3 has to say:

Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.

And verses 8-9:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We can have our own thoughts about our lives, and in the process of pursuing those can easily settle for much less than what God has for us.

“Green pastures” literally means “tender shoots”. God's not leading you to a dried out, over-grown field, but to a lush paradise!

God wants to give us not just what is needed, but what is good. He doesn't want us to just survive. He doesn't lead us into just enough. No, God wants to give us what is good, not just what is necessary! He wants to give us more than we think we're worth, more than we ask or think or dream or imagine!

“Still waters” means a place that you can call home. A place where you can relax and feel at peace. God is leading you to a place where you can stay – where you can settle down with provision for your needs. There's a difference between a place to crash for a few days and a home.

We tend to underestimate God's plans for us. Your dreams are for getting your license or finding an outfit that won't get made fun of, while God has plans for you to change the world!

He has big plans for you!

Sometimes, when God is leading us to green pastures and still waters on the way we get antsy. So we take a detour on the way to green pastures and end up in dry stubble. Or on our way to still waters, we settle for stagnant marsh water. "Eh, that's close enough."

Nowhere is this principle more apparent than in the search for a spouse. One of the major issues for older teens is and young adults is who you will marry.

In that, just as in other areas, God is leading you to more than you can imagine! Yet on the way to the right person there's Mr. Close-enough or Ms. Good-enough-for-right-now. It can be very tempting to settle for that person instead of staying on the path for the green pastures and still waters that God has in store for you.

As God is leading you to the person that is perfect for you, in the timing that is perfect for you, there will be moments when you think, “Eh, that's close enough.”

This principle applies to your calling in life, it applies to who you choose as friends and it even applies to having fun.

God's plan for you is better than your plans for yourself! It's better than your five year plan, better than your goals, better than you could ever imagine! Not just in the short term – in the long term as well. He has the best for you!

When you're tempted to settle, remember God's plan for green pastures and still waters. Don't settle for just close enough or for survival – follow God's plan for your life!

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