July 26 – He Knows Best

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
 “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you in the way you should go.” – Isaiah 48:17 (NASB)

These words were delivered by God’s prophet Isaiah and we apply them to our lives today because we believe that what is given to us in the Bible is for our edification, instruction, and correction. God wants to teach us what is best for us. When He says that, He reminds us that He knows what is best for us. We need to always remember that truth. It is true that God sent Isaiah the Profit to give these words to the people of Israel. They had difficult time obeying God’s Words. It was frequent that God had to discipline and hold them accountable and he was always do so to teach them the way He wanted them to go. Our God knows everything about everybody and He know what is best for each and every individual. It is so very encouraging to know that God is concerned enough about each one of us that He gets involved in teaching us what He knows is best for us.  He does not leave us to figure out the path of our lives on our own. So what do we do? We want to pay attention to His teaching.

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March 22 – He Truly Is

“Yahweh* is my shepherd; I will not lack for anything. In grassy pastures he makes me lie down; by quiet waters he leads me. ” – Psalm 23:1-2 (LXEB)

We look today at a very familiar verse from a version that is not so common. Such comfort and truth are packed in this Psalm and it is well worth returning to it over and over again. Living like a sheep can bring you incredible peace of mind! The shepherd in Old Testament times knew his sheep. He knew each one and understood what foods were best for them, what they needed to thrive, and what dangers there were that could harm them. God knows us this way too. In the Gospel of John 10: 11,14  Jesus declares Himself explicitly to be the good shepherd two times. It is by His very nature that our Good Shepherd laid down His life for us. It is a promise from Him. He declares that He knows His own sheep and they know Him. We have a relationship with Him. This gives us reason to have absolute trust in our Good Shepherd and to value the nourishment that comes from more than anything else in our lives or in the world. Jesus did not simply identify as our good shepherd. No. He is by nature our good shepherd and cares for us always. 

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* The name of God, as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures, is YHWH (the closest English equivalents to the Hebrew letters). Ancient Hebrew did not have vowels, so the exact pronunciation of YHWH is uncertain. The vast majority of Hebrew and Christian scholars believe the name to be Yahweh, pronounced /ˈyä-wā/, with Yehowah, pronounced /yi-ˈhō-və/, being the second most popular possibility.

The Lexham English Bible (LEB) uses the “formal equivalence” method of translation, resulting in a quite literal rendering. Reviewers have gauged the Lexham English Bible as slightly more literal than the New American Standard. The publishers of the LEB have strived to be as transparent as possible in the translation process, providing interlinear versions that keep the Greek and Hebrew words in their original order as well as provide root words and define each word contextually and noncontextually.

February 1 – Familiar Comfort

“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 paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV)

A familiar Psalm that is often used in time of difficulty, danger, stress, and fear. Many go to it when their hearts are heavy and they are carrying an emotional load. The Psalm has been divided into 6 verses and they are packed with promises and encouragement. It was so natural for David to use this metaphor. He had been a shepherd once and he had cared this way for his sheep. Jesus identified Himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’ that was promised and expected (John 10:4). The writer of Hebrews calls Jesus the ‘Great Shepherd’ (Hebrews 13:20) and Peter writes of Jesus as the ‘Chief Shepherd’ (1 Peter 5:4). David tells us that God, our Shepherd provides all we need fully. God tends to our physical needs for good food and water. Our troubles though sometimes go beyond our physical and emotional needs and actually cause us unrest within our souls. God takes care of us in these needs as well.  He knows we need restoration and guidance along the righteous way.  He does all this for His name’s sake. He has promised and He keeps every promise He gives us. Holy is His Name. 

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