by Susan Sampson
Give us this day our daily bread.
I am so thankful to the Lord for the word “lean.” Laurie shared in a lecture that our overarching theme is placing our trust, faith, and focus on God. She explained that trust means “to lean on.” Can you hear the song, “Lean on Me”? It’s actually a helpful reminder.
She read several verses from different translations that included this word “lean.” One that stood out to me was Psalm 56:3: “When I am afraid I will lean on thee.” But the verse that my mind immediately went to when I heard the word “lean” was Proverbs 3:5-6: ” Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not LEAN on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Oh how desperately I needed to be told to stop leaning on my own understanding and start leaning on my Lord! It is interesting how we have heard of so many of us who have struggled with our flesh in this study? Not wanting to bow; not wanting to spend so much time in the study; not wanting to read the same thing over again; and I could go on. I am so amazed by our good and all-wise God! He knows exactly what His children need. We need less of us and more of Him. We must decrease and He must increase. He is showing us how much of our dead flesh still remains and how to put it to death. What a precious gift of grace!
I so need a Teacher! That is one way the Lord has been revealing himself to me through this study, as my good Teacher. Every day I need my Teacher to give me my daily bread. I need to hear the same instruction over and over again. I need to be reminded to ask the Lord to help me watch over my heart with all diligence; to be reminded to fix my eyes on Jesus and by God’s grace turn from my sins and run the race of faith; to be told again and again to lift up my eyes to my precious loving Lord. I need to be instructed to bow because otherwise I wouldn’t! I have prayed (as I’m sure many of you all have) for the Lord to give me a heart like Christ, to make me more like Jesus. I know this study, In the Garden, is one way He is answering the cry of my heart.
This study is truly God’s gift to us. It is the Great Shepherd’s way of caring for His sheep. Ladies, our wool is thick and it’s shearing time! I know some of you have read the book by W. Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. I highly recommend it. The author is a modern day shepherd. Listen to his description of the sheep’s wool and the shearing process:
Wool in Scripture depicts the old self-life in the Christian. It is the outward expression of an inner attitude, the assertion of my own desire and hopes and aspirations….It is significant that no high priest was ever allowed to wear wool when he entered the Holy of Holies. This spoke of self, of pride, of personal preference — and God could not tolerate it. If I wish to go on walking with God and not be forever “cast” down (a sheep is “cast” who has turned over on his back and can’t get up without the shepherd’s help), this is an aspect of my life which He must deal with drastically. Whenever I found that a sheep was being cast because it had too long and heavy a fleece, I soon took swift steps to remedy the situation. In short order I would shear it clean and so forestall the danger of having the ewe lose her life. This was not always a pleasant process. Sheep do not really enjoy being sheared, and it represents some hard work for the shepherd, but it must be done. Actually when it is all over both sheep and owner are relieved. There is no longer the threat of being cast down, while for the sheep there is the pleasure of being set free from a hot, heavy coat. Often the fleece is clogged with filthy manure, mud, burrs, sticks, and ticks. What a relief to be rid of it all!
We are sheep. We need a Shepherd, we need a Teacher, we need our Savior. We need to hear the truth over and over and over again. I thank the Lord for sanctifying us; shearing our fleece; giving us our daily bread; hollowing us out so we can hallow His name!
Please join me in thanking the Lord for His amazing grace. For a Father’s good and perfect wisdom and timing. For a Father’s tender loving care for His children. For our Great Shepherd who loves us so much He is willing to sheer our sin infested fleece. For our good Teacher’s perfect wisdom.
Praise our good Lord who we can lean on…