Psalm 23 life without lack in a War Zone
This Lent we have been encouraging people to COPY Dallas Willard's spiritual disciplines which include meditating on Psalm 23 and the Lord's Prayer each morning. A very helpful book that can help us appreciate Psalm 23 is Dallas Willard's "Life without Lack: Living in the fulness of Psalm 23".
The book containes Dallas's brief commentary of Psalm 23 (pdf). It is very helpful and will enrich your mediation on Psalm 23.
In this blog I want to look at the idea of a life without lack in a War Zone.
When we start thinking about a life without lack, we might automatically begin thinking about a life free from trouble, difficulty, or suffering where you always have lots of money, a nice house, a good car and a good job. If we define a life without lack in that way, it excludes the idea that we can receive abundant provision from God in the midst of difficulties, in the midst of a War Zones. However, Psalm 23 specifically mentions the "War Zones" of dark valleys and the presence of enemies and then points to the abundant provision of God in the midst of those places.
And it is not just Psalm 23. Here is a great quote from Life Without Lack:
The first (bible passage) was written by the prophet Habakkuk, a man who had just seen his country completely devastated by war. Imagine what that would be like for you as someone who trusts in God. How could God allow this to happen? Surveying the destruction, all you see is famine, disease, and death.
Nevertheless, a vision of God’s restorative power and love overcomes your grief, and you exclaim:
When I heard, my body trembled;
My lips quivered at the voice;
Rottenness entered my bones;
And I trembled in myself,
That I might rest in the day of trouble.
When he comes up to the people,
He will invade them with his troops.
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
(HAB. 3: 16–19)
These are the words of someone who trusts in God’s abounding goodness and power in conditions of complete desolation! I believe that one of the reasons we resist fully surrendering our lives to God is the fear that he might allow desolation in our lives. This book will help if you are struggling with doubts about the plentiful provisions of God in circumstances that are anything but abundant. A life without lack is a life in which one is completely satisfied and sustained, no matter what happens. No matter what happens! It’s not merely a matter of gritting your teeth and hanging on. It is a matter of real provisions directly from God to you.
To get an idea of what a life without lack looks like, it can be helpful to think about the life of Jesus. He didn't always have lots of money, a nice house, or a good car. Yet he was able to feed 5000, heal people without expensive medical equipment, pay the temple tax through money found in a fish, and cross a lake on foot when he didn't have a boat. His Father sustained Him and provided for Him. Goodness and loved followed Him around, even though he didn't have much.
BUT, he also lived a life without lack in 'War Zones'. People wanted to stone him, a violent storm threatened his boat, people plotted to kill him, his family thought he was crazy, and his close friend betrayed him. And yet, he was able to navigate all of those situations with the provision of His Heavenly Father. Even in his fiercest 'War Zone' of the crucifixion - beaten, bloodied, naked, exposed, abused, abandoned, in pain and thirsty - he was overflowing with goodness and love towards those around Him.
THAT is a life without lack!
Now we MUST NOT let ourselves get intimidated and think "I could never be like that". As we trust our lives to Jesus we can take confidence from the fact that God will complete His work of transformation in us. Confident that God will help us reach the final destination, we can go on a journey of learning to trust in God and His resources. We are looking for progress not instantaneous perfection. Meditating on Psalm 23 and asking God to make it real for us is a great place to start.