I received a call a few hours ago from one of my closest allies in our journey with God, my sister Cynthia. I had texted her earlier in the day to pray for me; she excitedly told me that the Lord had given her the word ‘restoration’ for 2018 and started to explain what the word meant – ‘to return to its former, original state’; from Strong’s H7725 shuwb ‘to bring back, restore, repair’; a primitive root: to bring home again, drawback, fetch home again, get oneself back again, restore, retrieve, refresh.
As she was speaking, I began to laugh with such joy – I had just asked the Lord for peace before I went to sleep and had felt impressed to read Psalm 23 and then on to read Ezekiel 34: 25 -31. As you know where there is koinonia, life begins to flow; she was bubbling over with much joy as the Lord unveiled truth to her about His planned restoration…
So, here’s what came to me after we spoke (I woke up and started writing as the thoughts flooded me)
The Lord IS my shepherd (present tense 3rd person singular of be); I shall not want (lack nothing); HE makes me lie down – where? Green (new grass, first sprouts of the earth, tender grass, tender herb, different from mature grass) – (in the first fruits company) Pastures (the abode of the shepherd, habitation, meadow)
HE leads (guides me to a watering station, brings to a place of rest, guides, refreshes)– where? Besides still waters (a condition of rest, a resting place, quiet place of rest; waters poured out, flowing)
HE restores my soul (returns it to its originally created form when I was made in His image); HE leads me – where? In the paths of righteousness; why? For His name’s sake – He is the Sun of Righteousness who rises with healing in His wings; rules a kingdom that is righteousness, peace and joy…. HE is the Restorer; HE is the Repairer!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death or the valley of deep darkness (a detour I take on my own away from my dwelling in the secret place of the Most High under the shadow of my Father in my immaturity) – even then I don’t have to fear evil for HE is with me (the shepherd never leaves the sheep and goes looking even when they wander off His path);
His rod (protects, deals with the terrain I find myself in, clears a path even in the wilderness) His staff (guides, points me to the right direction, hooks me around the neck to turn me around if He needs to); the rod and staff are there to comfort me on my way to the Table. Note even in the deep darkness, there is no need for any light for HE is the Light that came into the world; a Lamp to my feet, a Light to my path, that Light is my Life; we will live in the Light of the Risen Lamb…
HE prepares (arranges, sets in order, lays out) a table (spreads out for private and sacred use His table, the King’s table, His love feast, if anyone hears and opens I will come in and sup…) (not just to feed me but to fellowship with me);
Anoints my head with oil (sacred anointing oil; His Spirit of truth that teaches me all things; His oil of gladness, oil of joy); fills my cup (vessel) until it runs over (saturation, satisfaction, abundant drink, new wine, living water, abundant life) – we all drink the One Spirit;
HE does this while adversaries are around (oppression, persecution, hostility). Note there is no engagement or war here; (quiet possession of Canaan has already occurred; It is finished; this is His table; I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God)
With certainty I know, goodness (He is good) and mercy (He is love, He is kind, merciful, gracious) will follow me (pursue me ardently) all the days of my life (the presence of the Lord is my rear guard – evidence of His goodness and His mercy will be in my life every day)
I will dwell in His house (abide in Him) forever – where the shepherd is, that’s where the sheep is. He is the Head, I am part of His Body, indivisible, nothing can separate, One as He and the Father are One.
We enter His rest when we understand whose we are and who we are; NOW is the time to walk in step with Him whom our soul loves; NOW is the time to come in and sit down at the table; NOW is the time to abide.
The promises from Ezekiel 34: 25-31 in this His season are going to unfold in 2018 and we will be His witnesses, the world will know we are One with Him, that when we are seen He is seen because we are hidden in Him, abiding and dwelling in Him: to those who fear His name the Sun of righteousness will rise (with us in Him) with healing in His wings
Ezekiel saw this time when the sheep who had the One Shepherd would live with peace, safety, showers of blessing, fruitful harvests, safety from predators, no longer being prey, no longer being in fear, no hunger, no shame, yokes broken, no more slavery….
As we enter 2018, let us confidently follow our Bridegroom (draw me after you and let us run together) to the Rest He has ordained as He completes His restoration of His body to be One with Him, embrace His leading this season, sit, eat and drink of Him at His table in oneness with all those at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, trust in His goodness and His mercy.