Helen Edmunds (Australian worker) - Psalms 23 - Pukekohe, New Zealand - 2005

One of the beautiful things that David said about his Shepherd is in Psalms 23, “He restoreth my soul.” And David was thankful for the restoration of his soul. I wondered when I read it, how much restoration may be he needed, did he understand how many things had drifted and fallen, how much was lost? How much had deteriorated or how much was out of place, but he would thank his Shepherd for restoring his soul. Part of the restoration was, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” He maketh me. Maybe he had not realized he was just going and coming to and fro, busy and no rest, no waiting and no praying, no reading and no meditating and he had to be made to lie down, just made to rest. Little children get so overtired, sometimes and so overwrought and they have to be made to rest. It’s not in them to want to rest, they resist resting and they aren’t willing to just lie down.

 

We were in a home not too long ago and the little boy, it was obvious he was very overtired and very overwrought and his mother bundled him up an took him off to bed, but he was back behind her in the kitchen, got out of bed just as quickly as he got in, so she took him back again, and it wasn’t long he was out in the kitchen again. When she took him up and took him back again and was with him for awhile that time. She tucked him very firmly and put her hand upon him and every time he squirmed and every time he went to get up, she held her hand tighter upon him. We were singing, “made to rest,” very soon that fellow was fast asleep. The work of restoration was happening then. These days we may feel the firmness of our Shepherd’s hand upon us. We may want to get up and keep going, but the Shepherd will make us to lie down. It says he was made to lie down in green pastures. We can be sure we have not been brought to come to a parched and drought stricken place, but we have been brought to green pastures. Green, they have known the touch of heaven, green pastures here on earth that heaven has replenished and there will be bread enough and to spare.

 

David said, "He leadeth me beside the still waters," and he was being led. We are not the leader if we are being led. David was aware his Shepherd was the leader, his Shepherd was leading the way, the Shepherd was taking him where maybe he would not have gone, he was led beside the still waters. The still deep waters have beautiful reflections and maybe David in his comings and goings and his warfare and conflict and all that he knew in life, may be he had never taken time to just walk beside the still waters, but the shepherd led him there, just to give him a picture of just who he was. Maybe he got to understand how much his soul, the eternal part of his being that goes back to God, that is the part that needs to be restored these days, our spiritual lives and our eternal part know the work of restoration. In those still waters, getting a glimpse again of the Shepherd, the One who will lead him all the way.

 

The work of restoration, when people restore an old building or a car, it is going back to the original. We don’t want to think there are new and better ideas and new interpretations that belong to this era in which we are living, the work of God goes back to the beginning. I noticed when God gave Moses the commandments, He spoke out of the cloud, out of the fire and out of the darkness, and He added no more, there was nothing more to be said. If we want to know restoration work in our lives, the restoration of our souls, the restoration of all that is spiritual, there will be nothing new added to this. We saw a car, an old model car that had been beautifully restored and some other who knew more about it than we did said, that man had got it back to its original state. I asked that man how was it, because it was a model made long before he was even born, and that man he studied the old manuals and the old photographs and talked to the old people who may have remembered just how that vehicle was. That man was not interested in adding any new or modern components but he had gone back to the original. I thought of that verse in Jeremiah, God was saying to His people in those days to ask for the old ways and the good ways and walk therein, and He said, “You will find rest for your souls.” A rest in seeking the old and seeking what God was in and you will find rest for your souls. It will be beneficial for your souls if you do that. But those people it says said, “We will not.” We don’t want that, and they would not. Then God said to them that He would send a watchman into their midst, and he said hearken to the sound of the trumpet, people were saying they will not hearken. They had their own ideas and their own opinions, they departed from the word of God. They were not wanting what is original, they wanted to add to, to introduce, and make it suit, and we will not. We will not hearken to the voice of the trumpet. Isn’t it just spiritual suicide to take such an attitude to refuse that which is from the beginning.

 

In verse 16, I noticed in these verses in Jeremiah there is a reference to the story that is told about the rich man and Lazarus, That rich man found himself in a place he did not want to be and did not want others to be either, and he lifted up his eyes and he saw the poor beggar in Abraham’s bosom and he pleaded that Abraham would send that poor beggar, just dip his finger, just to give a few drops of water on his tongue. Maybe that rich man had an awful lot to say during his life time, maybe he even spoke against that beggar man, now in torment longed for something to cool his tongue. Abraham told him the gulf had been fixed, the gulf cannot be crossed. So then he pleaded with Abraham that he would send Lazarus to his brethren, "I have five brethren and send him to them." Abraham said, "They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear him." If they won’t hear Moses and the prophets they won’t hear one that has risen from the dead, that is so true. These days we want to be listening to the word of God, the original word which was from the beginning. The Word that came by Moses and the prophets and the word that has been fulfilled in Jesus and has been made flesh in the life of the Lord Jesus. That is the word that will save us, the word that will lead us closely, that’s the word that will put something in our soul that carries an eternal worth of glory and nothing else will.

 

That man in Matthew 12, with the withered hand, it says Jesus said, “Stretch forth thine hand” and the man did so and it was made whole like the other one. Maybe it was just restored to him, made whole and complete, then the man would never know which hand it was that had been withered. Jesus brought forth that hand, let it be seen, let it be known, and when that man was willing to face up to it, and repented, that hand was restored like the other. The wonderful work of restoration, we have seen it happen. The willingness to just listen, the willingness to accept, the willingness to let some things go, and take hold of other things, look and see the good way and the right paths, read, believe and obey the original word, let God restore us the joy of our salvation, restore us to our place and restore all that is Godly and spiritual and eternal.

 

God made a promise in Joel’s prophecy. He said, “I will restore where the locusts had taken and the canker worms had taken." God was saying, “I will restore it.” The outcome of that restoration was that they praise God for His wonderful works. We can go out, maybe the cankerworm and the caterpillar and the locusts have robbed us, and taken away, and we feel we have nothing left. These are the days God wants to simply restore us and we will go out with a song of praise for the one that has done such great things for us. I was thinking of the time when the disciple were gathered in the upper room and think of all they would be feeling as they saw the one they had believed in and loved and followed and trusted in, taken by such wicked and cruel people and crucified. That day Jesus came into their midst and His message was, “Peace be unto you.” Wasn’t that a great work of restoration of those dear souls, with feelings we have lost everything, the one we had faith in, we have lost Him, even questioning their faith, have we misplaced our faith, have we mistrusted, but now Jesus standing in our midst with His simple message, “Peace be unto you.” They would be thinking, "There is life and not death after all." A feeling of their faith being restored and their trust restored. The artist painted a picture and titled it Peace. Many who knew that picture wondered why he titled it peace, because it showed many dark clouds windswept trees and gushing waterfall with spray at the bottom of it grey rocks, anything but peace, but when they looked closer at the background and there was a little nest high up on the ledge of the rock and a little mother bird sitting on her nest, and it was titled, "Peace." That was the peace that God wants to restore to us. We cannot do anything about the turmoil and the wilderness, the world all topsy-turvy, and peoples hearts failing them, people fainting and fearing and fretting, but in the midst of it all, God just wants to restore to us that peace, perfect peace. In the midst of it all, God’s people are a people of peace.