Can you ever think of a time when God was trying to teach you a lesson? I read story this past week were someone believes that’s exactly what God was trying to do. I found it on the internet and it goes as follows:
“God taught me a lesson today, using of all things , my puppy and a ordinary trip to the vet’s office. It is amazing what the Father will use to get His point across to us. I sometimes stupidly tune out The Lord when He is trying to speak to me, or I just wave off what I am hearing as coming from my own mind and not from Him. Today, I had to take my puppy in for a visit. As we approached the door, he was extremely hesitant and I asked The Lord, if I should even take him in, or reschedule the appointment. I clearly heard a voice in my mind say “Pick him up and carry him in, be cautious and careful”. I thought, This can’t be God, why would he care about how I bring him into the vet’s office? I thought I was letting my imagination run away with me. Despite this thought, I decide to exercise some caution, by tightening up on his leash, but I did not pick him up. As I opened the door, a huge pit bull jumped out at us, snarling and growling. I immediately, pulled my puppy away, and ran for the other door, leading to the other side of the office. This dog was huge and had massive jaws, it could have easily killed my baby and seriously injured me. Thankfully her owner reacted quickly and was able to pull her back. Lesson learned, once again: Always, always listen to God, even when I doubt it is Him talking. He is omniscient. He knows all things, especially those dangers that are hidden from us; He knows what threats lie waiting for us behind closed doors. He wants to protect us, but we must be willing to listen and do what He tells us to do.”
I’m sure some of you have your own stories that you could share about how God taught you a lesson at one time or another.
In this series of lessons on God’s attributes, so far I’ve talked about Him being omnipotent, or the all powerful One, the eternal Creator, and sustainer. He is also Holy and Righteous, Merciful, Just, and fair, and as we talked about last time, thankfully He is patient with us as well. But there is also something else about God that I never heard anyone talk about before, and that is the fact that He is a Nurturing God.
One thing that Jesus taught us to do that no others taught before Him was; Jesus taught us to call our God our Father, ‘our Father who art in Heaven.’
Even though He is the Almighty One, the God of all heaven and earth, Jesus wanted us to see what kind of relationship our Lord and God wants to have with us. He wanted us to understand how much Love our Heavenly Father has for us, and that can be seen in how He nurture and cares for us.
If you look up the word NURTURE, it means to care for, feed and protect, it means to bring up, train, educate, to support and encourage. It even involves discipline when needed to get one back on the right track
It is what a good parent will do for their child. And throughout scripture I see God doing this in a greater sense… caring for and nurturing us as His children through the ages.
As I prepared this lesson, one portion of scripture came to mind more than any other (even thought there are many) that speaks of how God nurture and cares for us. In Psalm 23 David talks about how he saw Father God took care of and nurturing Him. If you have your Bibles look at this Psalm with me. (It Reads)
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, 3 He refreshes my soul.”
As a shepherd David himself saw how God provided him with spiritual rest and nourishment. As one who raised and tended sheep himself, David knew the best place to gather his sheep so that they would be well watered and fed. He did not leave his own sheep in dry, hard, rocky waste lands, but rather he knew that they would flourish on green pastures, and by calm and quite waters. David also felt nourished and refreshed by Father God who guided him and brought him into save places to refresh his soul. Likewise those of us who really trust in Him and follow His lead will be more aware of what He provides. This can be both refreshing and nourishing to our spirit and give us peace of mind. He may even make you lie down and find rest in a good place whether you want it or not. Sometimes like sheep we just want to go off and do our own thing, but the Good Shepherd actually knows what’s best for us.
David continued on and wrote…
“He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
In his commentary Dr. Constable wrote, ‘God also gives His sheep guidance in the proper path of life so we do not wander aimlessly. He does so in part
for the sake of His own reputation, as One who has promised to direct His people. Protection is the fourth blessing for which David gave God praise. The promises of the Lord’s presence assure us of His protection in times of danger when we fear (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5). The shepherd’s rod (a
cudgel(or club) worn at the belt) beat off attacking animals, and his staff (walking stick) kept the sheep away from physical dangers such as precipices. Likewise, God comes to the defense of His people when our spiritual enemies attack us. He also prevents us from getting into spiritually dangerous situations that would result in our destruction (cf. Matt. 6:13).’
How many of you ever said, I must have had a guardian angel watching over me when this or that happened.’ He does care for us and protect us in ways that are probably beyond our sight.
In Verse 5 David also wrote,
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
Over and over David recognized and praised God for His provision and care; even when he was in danger or in the midst of a trial..
In the ancient East, a thoughtful host would welcome an honored guest into the protection of his home by pouring some oil on his head (cf. 45:7; 92:10; 133:2; Amos 6:6; Luke 7:46). This would soothed a weary traveler and was very refreshing. The “cup” here which David mentions symbolized his lot in life that overflowed with abundant blessings from our Father God.
How blessed are you by God? I would dare say that we are all extremely blessed by Father God even though some of us are going through different kinds of trials. Compared to what others have in this world, our cups are definitely running over!
He finishes the Psalm by stating, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
It even seems as though David was even reassured by the hope of heaven.
Haddon Robinson’s, who wrote a book on the Twenty Third Psalm wrote, “The Lord’s goodness to His people, as seen in His leading and providing for us, should motivate us to appreciate our security in Him and to abide in fellowship with Him.”
For 40 years while the Israelites were in the wilderness after leaving Egypt we see the Lord, leading them, feeding them, providing them with water, their cloths did not even wear out. We also see Him teaching them not only spiritual lessons, but also what to eat, how to take care of themselves, He provided them with sensible laws and regulations, and even disciplined them.
Our Father God is a nurturing and caring God who has our best interest in mind. He provided for us, shelters us, guides us, protect us and more.
He gave us life. He provides us with good instruction, and shows us how to be saved from the consequences of our own sin. His own Spirit even enters His children to guide and teach us and even prompts us to do what is right in His sight. We are never alone. He is always with us and in us.
He gives us direction. He gives us hope. He gives us vision of an amazing future, and hope, and so much more.
But how do we respond?
– Some doubt. – Too many worry and fret. – Some are full of fear and feel alone. – Some simply refuse to acknowledge that Father God provides us with everything we need. – Some just want more.
How should we respond?
– Like any child, you can either rebel, or you can submit.
-You can act like a know it all, or be one that seeks out His wisdom in all things.
-We can ignore Him or take time to listen to His promptings.
-We can either trust in His advice and timing, or go our own way.
-You can either appreciate His care and blessing He has provided you with or complain about what you have or don’t have like a spoiled little child.
-We can be upset at His rebukes and discipline or learn from it.
I say we need to trust in the Lord and lean less on our own wits and understanding.
I’d like to close by reading the wise words of Proverb 3:1-12
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”