Saturday, December 10, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, Part 12a, 12/10/2011
ABRAM: A MAN OF INTEGRITY
There is a word in the English language that we hear used from time to time. Yet, this is a word that we rarely see modeled in our day. That word is "Integrity." It means the following: "possession of firm principles: the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards".
When a person is said to have integrity, we mean that they have high moral standards. We mean that they operate in a way that causes them to seek the right way first. This is the behavior that God would have all His children exhibit all the time. One of the greatest things that can be said about your life is that you are a person of integrity.
This is the behavior that is modeled by Abram in this passage. Genesis 14 is a glimpse inside the life of this great man of God. There are three areas of his life that are dealt with in this passage. In each of these, Abram demonstrates the fact that he is a man of integrity. Let's examine these areas today so that we too may become people of integrity for the glory of the Lord.
Gen 14:1-16 ABRAM'S INTEGRITY IN WARFARE
The Setting For His Warfare - This chapter tells us about a brutal invasion by a confederation of powerful kings who occupied the region that corresponds to Iraq and Iran in our day.
Involved A Vicious Retaliation - Evidently, Sodom had been a tributary of king Chedorlaomer for some 12 years (verse 4). After 12 years, they refused to pay their tribute money and revolted. Chedorlaomer, along with his confederates, invaded Canaan to deal with these rebellious people. This invasion resulted in the sacking of Sodom and the capturing of Lot, along with all his possessions. There is always some evil tyrant like Chedorlaomer who wants to put you in bondage. If you leave the things of the Lord like Lot did and walk off into the world, you can count on forming evil habit and lusts that are difficult to break (1 Cor. 10:23; 1 Cor. 6:12). In fact, like Lot, you won't get free unless the Lord intervenes!
Involved A Valid Reason - When Abram heard that Lot was in trouble, he went to war. Abram is a man of peace, and this is the only time we see him at war in his life. However, when there was a need, he went to battle! I just want to remind you that we are all engaged in warfare today (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:3-5). Our battle is spiritual in nature.
The Success Of His Warfare - These verses tell us that Abram waged war and won a decisive victory.
Involved His Preparations For The Enemy - Abram armed his men and prepared for the battle. God's children need to be ready at all times for spiritual battle (Eph. 6:10-18). Our success in the spiritual battles of life hinges on how well we prepare ourselves for the battles we face.
Involved His Pursuit Of The Enemy - We are at war all the time, but there are times when we need to take the fight to the enemy: When it is time to stand against evil; When it is time to defend or rescue a brother; When it is time to stand in the gap for another; Let us fight the good fight (2 Tim. 4:7). May we always demonstrate great integrity in the battles we fight. We do so by facing the enemy with faith in the Lord and His power. We do so by always being found on the side of right. We do so by not shrinking from the battle for fear of the enemy. We do so by standing when others run away!
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
1 Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD
and have not faltered. 2 Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; 3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. 4 I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites. 5 I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. 6 I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD, 7 proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds. 8 LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells. 9 Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with those who are bloodthirsty, 10 in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes. 11 I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me. 12 My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!
Friday, December 09, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, Part 11b, 12/9/2011
GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAM RENEWED (Continued From Yesterday)
Gen 13:17 THE COMMAND TO GOD'S WORKER
After the promise has been given, a call to obedience is issued. This is always the way it works with the Lord. His promised are nearly always coupled with His commands. This is good and right! If we want His best, then we should be willing to follow Him.
A Command To Rise - Abram is called upon to get up and to go with God. He is being challenged to deepen his walk with the Lord. God is looking for people who will simply walk with Him (Micah 6:8). Sadly, many believers are just sitting around and are not walking with Him by faith. Romans 13:11-14 has the word: THE TIME TO WALK WITH GOD IS NOW!
A Command To Review - Abram is commanded to get up and walk up and down, all over the land he has been given. He is to try and see it all! As believers, we need to take the time to review all that we have in Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:17-19; Phil. 3:10; Eph. 1:3). That is a tall order, but it is one that is worthy of our time. No doubt, there are many believers who are less than they could be simply because they do not know who they are and what they have in Jesus Christ, those precious spiritual possessions we have!
A Command To Receive - As Abram journeyed, he was to live as though he carried the title deed to the land in his hand. Even if, at the moment, it belonged to someone else, Abram was to accept by faith the fact that this land was his land! So it is in our spiritual journey. We have much in Jesus, but we have to claim it by faith. For instance, what about victory? Jesus says that we have it (1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:37). Let's face it, there are days when you just have to take that by faith! What about Romans 8:28? Or what about Romans 8:18? Or what about 2 Cor. 4:17? Or what about Hebrews 13:5? Those are all great promises and they are true whether we believe them or not! Abram could have set still and the land would still have been his. We have all those things we have mentioned and more, but they do us no good until we reach out and take them by faith!
Gen 13:18 THE CONSECRATION TO GOD'S WILL
Seen In Abram's Adaptation - When the Lord spoke, Abram responded in action and obedience! As this old man traveled around that country, he was looking at more than the mountains, valleys, rivers, streams and lakes. He was looking for a place to settle down forever. Hebrew 11:8-10 tells us that Abram had his sites set just a little higher than Canaan. He was looking for Heaven at the end of the way. So he just kept going, moving around the country enjoying all God had given him until the day came when he would go home to God. His is an example that we should all readily follow! Like Abram, we are pilgrims in this world. As we journey through our lives, we are to do so in dependence upon and obedience to the Lord God. Always knowing that this world is not our home. One day we will leave this world for a better land. But, until then, let us move at the command of the Lord, for nothing honors God like obedience to His commands (1 Sam. 15:22; John 14:15) and God holds us accountable.
Seen In Abram's Association - The Bible tells us that Abram moved to Mamre which is in Hebron. Those two names are filled with meaning! Mamre means "Fatness" and Hebron means "Fellowship". The idea is that Abram has settled down in a place of blessing and closeness to the Lord. He is living a life of close fellowship. That is what the Lord wants from your life and mine! He wants us in the place of "fellowship" and "fatness". He wants what was said about Enoch to be true about you and me (Gen. 5:24), "And Enoch walked with God..." Can that be said concerning your life?
Seen In Abram's Adoration - Abram does again that which has become his trademark: he builds an altar for the worship of the Lord. A life that is lived in communion with God is a life that God can bless! He desires that every one of us be in a place where we love Him more than anything else in this world. He wants us to acknowledge Him. He wants us to exalt Him. He desires our worship (John 4:23-24)! God is absolutely self-sufficient (Ps. 50:10-15). He needs nothing! He does not need us. But, He wants us! That is precious and we should all determine that we will live our lives for His glory, considering the fact that He gave His life for our salvation.
Conc: Where are you in your relationship and walk with God today? Are you as close as you should be? Are you growing deeper each day in the things of the Lord? When He speaks, do you move? Are you concerned with strengthening your fellowship with Him day by day? Make His worship the number one priority in your life? Those are hard questions to hear and face, but they reveal a lot about the condition of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. May we determine that, like Abram, our life will be characterized by our altars and by our obedience to the voice of God.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. 10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. 11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments. 12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, Part 11a, 12/8/2011
GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAM RENEWED
Abram is a man walking with God. His misadventure in Egypt is behind him and he is back in the place of blessing walking by faith. This is seen in the fact that when a dispute arose between himself and his nephew Lot, Abram willingly took second place. He place the needs of Lot ahead of those in his own life and left himself in the gracious care of God. By the way, that is how you can know when you are growing as you should be. When you can willingly turn loose of your rights and privileges for the good of others, you are on your way!
After the incident with Lot, Abram is left alone with his wife, his servants and his possessions. It must have been a difficult thing to see his own flesh and blood separate from him under such harsh conditions. Yet, for Abram, that difficult time would turn into a time of grace and blessing. For it is this time that the Lord chooses to renew His promises to Abram. Let's listen as the Lord renews His promises to His servant Abram. While these are Abram's promises, there are spiritual applications that we can glean from these words.
Gen 13:14-16 THE CONFIRMATION OF GOD'S WORD
When you look at the events of verses 7-11, you may believe that Abram got the short end of the stick. You see, verses 10 and 14 tell us that both Lot and Abram "lifted up their eyes". But, what they saw with those eyes was vastly different. Lot saw the world; Abram saw the promised land. Lot looked in self-sufficiency; Abram looked in perfect trust. Lot looked with a heart driven by greed and lust; Abram looked with a heart driven by a sacrificial love of unity. Lot looked through eyes connected to a worldly, uncommitted heart; Abram looked through eyes that were connected to a committed, spiritual heart.
Lot may have taken the best of the land, but Abram was about to get all the land! Friend, those who walk with their faith in God and their heart centered in His will need never fear that they will lose anything! God honors the faith of His people, because the faith of His people honors Him!
What The Promise Communicated - God's promise to Abram was full of blessings!
A Promised Land - Lot chose the best; Abram got that and the rest to boot. The land was the prize for his faith. Heaven is for us (Rev. 21-22; John 14:1-3).
A Promised Legacy - God's promise is farther enhanced by the promise of a multitude of offspring from Abram. No doubt his lack of children was a sore spot with Abram. To the people of that era, many children were an indication of the blessings of the Lord (Ps. 127:3-5). Even his name was a mockery to him. Abram means "Exalted Father". However, God's promise is that Abram will have a legacy in children. So many will descend from him that their number will be beyond comprehension. That has literally come to pass! God wants to do the same for us! He wants to multiply our faith and use us to reach others for His glory. We too can leave a legacy of spiritual children behind for the glory of the Lord (Dan. 12:3).
A Promised Length - God's promise to Abram is one that will never be repealed. Notice that there are no strings attached! God is going to do this thing for His own reasons. It is an eternal promise! That land they are fighting over today in Israel and in the Middle East belongs to Abraham's descendants! The redeemed are also partakers of the eternal promises (Heaven). Our salvation, our heavenly home, our Father's love are just a few of the many eternal promises that belong to those saved by the grace of God.
When The Promise Came - God's promise came to Abram after he was separated from Lot. Lot represented worldliness and lack of commitment to the things of God. When that distraction was removed, Abram heard from the Lord. Separation from people, institutions, etc., is never easy. However, if we ever expect the Lord to bless us to the level that He can bless us, we are going to have to separate from anyone or anything that hinders our being right with Him (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). God can and will bless a separated life!
Did you notice that this promise merely amplified promises that had been given to Abram earlier? Gen. 12:2, 7 are the first of the promises concerning the seed and the land. Now, those promises are amplified, expounded and enlarged. This is how the Lord always works with His people. The walk of faith is a walk of progressive revelation. As we walk in obedience to what He has already revealed, He will show us more and more as time goes by. That is how the Lord works; line upon line, precept upon precept (Isa. 28:10). That is how His Word works (Ps. 119:105). We want to know it all up front, but God reveals Himself as we are ready to receive Him (John 16:12).
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
1 Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2 Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress. 4 When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, 5 they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror. 6 Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor. 7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind. 8 As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, Part 10, 12/7/2011
ABRAM'S TROUBLE WITH LOT
For Abram, everything isn't smooth sailing! After his return to Canaan from his disastrous trip to Egypt, there arises a conflict between himself and his nephew Lot. It was a conflict that had serious ramifications and had to be resolved. How this conflict was settled is the focus of the message today.
Just like Abram, there are times in our life when conflicts and troubles arise. How we deal with those conflicts and troubles reveals more about our characters than we want to admit. Because what you are when the pressure is on is what you really are!
Since that is true, let's take some time to look into these verses this evening and notice some aspects of this story that speak to our lives. Let's look on this thought, Abram's Trouble With Lot.
Gen 13:5-7 A TROUBLESOME PROBLEM
The Cause Of The Problem - Both Abram and Lot had gained immense wealth and power. Neither is inherently wrong as long as they are controlled by the right spirit. When our "things" control us, then we are headed for trouble. ( Matt. 6:19-21).
The Course Of The Problem - Their problem remained unresolved and eventually developed into a bone of contention. Evidently, each wanted the best grazing ground for their flocks and herds. Trouble is always a certainty when the focus of life is removed from the Lord Jesus Christ and focused on self, individual right, or to the things of this world! (Heb. 12:2.) How Abram and Lot responded to this crisis in the family says a lot about the character of each. If you want to know the true character of any person, just see how they respond in a time of crisis or conflict!
Gen 13:8-9 A TENDER PROPOSAL
V. 8 Involved A Plea For Peace - Abram displays a loving, gracious spirit when he deals with Lot. He gives a two-fold reason as to why they should live in peace. By the way, his reasons for them are still valid for the church today!
1. They Were Brethren - They should love and respect one another! The same is true concerning the church (John 13:35) Even in the best of circumstances, trouble is always a possibility. In the church, there should be peace, love and tenderness between the members, but, because we are sinful humans, trouble often arises. However, it is never right, regardless of the reason. There is nothing so important that it should be allowed to tear up the work of the Lord in His church. And, friends, He cannot bless in an atmosphere of discord and trouble. The best course of action is to forgive and to forget! (Matt. 18:21-22; Luke 17:3-5; Eph. 4:32; 1 Cor. 13:4-5).
2. The Heathen Were Watching - Verse 7b tells us that the Canaanites were living around them at the time. This presented a dual problem in the face of the conflict. First, it placed both Abram and Lot in danger. If these warlike people saw an opportunity to attack them and take their possessions they would. Second, no doubt these people were keenly interested in Abram's God. They would evaluate his religion by the effect it had on his life. The same problems confront the church in our day! When we fight, Satan has a heyday in the church and scatters the flock. When we fight, the world sees our lack of love, tenderness and forgiveness and concludes that we are no better off then they are, and that this "Jesus business" means nothing!
Involved A Price For Peace - Abram willingly gave up his rights as the elder of the family. He could have chosen first, but he yielded to Lot. He willingly placed Lot's happiness, wishes and rights ahead of his own. This is not something that we see often, but it what believers are supposed to do (Phil. 2:4; Rom. 15:1; Rom. 14:19-23). We should never compromise the truth to please anybody! However, there are times when we should give in to the wishes, needs and rights of others!
Involved A Promise For Peace - How could Abram so easily give up the best of the land to Lot? Abram knew that his cause was safe with God! The Lord has already promised to give him "all" the land ( Gen. 12:7). When a believer's faith truly rests in the Lord, then they can afford to hold their possessions and their rights very loosely. After all, it is God, not they, who look after their interests (Rom. 8:28). Abram did not get mad, bitter or puffed up when he did not get his way. He simple did everything in his power to work out the problem. That is the way of Christ and the will of God!
Gen 13:10-13 A TRAGIC PLAN
Lot Lived By Sight - Lot made his decision based upon what his eyes told him. He claimed the land that appeared best for raising flocks and herds. He did not consult with the Lord, he just looked until he saw what pleased him and that is what he chose. He gratified his flesh! He did just what Eve did in the Garden, (Gen. 3:1-6). He allowed his flesh to live for him ( 1 John 2:16, a reference to Egypt). Lot must have fallen in love with that country and chose what he did because it reminded him of Egypt. It is a dangerous thing to live to fulfil the appetites and lusts of the flesh. Yet, anytime we cease to walk by faith in the Lord God and go after our own path, we are walking by sight.
Lot Lived For Self - Lot's choice demonstrated a total lack of regard for the needs of Abram. Evidently, he didn't respect Abram at all. Lot lived to please one person and that person was Lot. He was selfish to the core. He is a perfect description of many in our day. Everything is about "my rights", "my wants", "my needs", "my life", "my way", etc. Friend, that is not a way of life that is pleasing to the Lord. You live like that and you will always be mad at somebody over something. You will always have your feelings hurt about some issue or other.
Lot Lived In Sodom - Lot left the life of a pilgrim behind and settled down among the sinners of Sodom. He raised his family there. He also lost his family and his testimony in that place (Gen. 19). Lot was a "just man" (2 Pet. 2:7-8). However, that is no way for a believer to live! Sadly, Lot's way of reacting to trouble is the way chosen by most folks in our day. These men needed to separate, but Lot chose the wrong path and he chose it with the wrong attitude. His choice led him down and cost him plenty. Abram's choice brought him blessings and honor.
Conc: If you had to be honest today and compare yourself to one or the other of these two men, which would it be? Abram, who took last place so that another could go first? Or, Lot, who grabbed all he could for himself without regard for anyone else?
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
10 You have exalted my horn[a] like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. 11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes. 12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, Part 9,
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ROAD BACK TO CANAAN
In Genesis 12:10-20, Abram is seen leaving Canaan (The Promised Land) during a time of famine to go to Egypt (a picture of the world). We are told that to get to Egypt from Canaan, Abram had to go "down", (Gen 12:10). Anytime a believer leaves the place where God has placed them, they are on a downward path. This is seen in the actions of Abram while in Egypt. He lied about Sarai, (Gen 12:12, 18); He encouraged her to commit the same sin, (Gen 12:12); He became self-centered, (Gen 12:14); He created the potential for others to fall into sin, (Gen 12:14-15); He left Egypt worse than he found it, (Gen 12:17); He ruined his testimony in the eyes of the Egyptians, (Gen 12:19-20). To say the least, Abram's little trip to Egypt was a disaster!
However, I am glad to report to you that no failure need be permanent in the walk of faith! Gen 13:1 of our text tells us that Abram "went up out of Egypt." While he had taken a downward path to get into Egypt, he took an upward path to remove himself from that place. It is the steps Abram took to get back to Canaan that interest us. Because it is possible for the wayward saint to return to the place of blessing, but there are certain requirements that must be met by the returning saint. In chapter 12, we looked at The Truth About The Path To Egypt. Now, let’s look at The Truth About The Road Back To Canaan.
Gen 13:1-2 IT INVOLVES REMOVING
He Removed His Person From Egypt - Abram separated himself from Egypt. He placed distance between himself and that place. Separation is a requirement for those who wish to walk in God's blessing and power, (2 Cor. 6:17, Heb. 12:1.) considering the anger of Pharaoh, it was pure grace that Abram was allowed to leave Egypt at all, (12:18-20)! So it is with the wayward saint. If God gave us what we deserved, He would slay us in our sins. He does chasten those He loves, (Heb. 12:6-13). But, thank God, He always deals with us in love and grace.
He Removed His Possessions From Egypt - He did not allow anything he owned to be left at the disposal of that evil system. He took his resources with him when he returned to the place of blessing. Too many Christians like to talk about living for the Lord, but they spend more of their resources on worldly pleasures than they commit to the control of the Lord and His work. I would just remind you that the Lord blesses in direct proportion to our giving, (Mal. 3:8-10; Luke 6:38.)
He Removed His Potential From Egypt - He took Sarai with him when he left Egypt. She held within her the key to the promises of God. He knew God wanted to grow this family in Canaan and not in Egypt. Canaan was the place where God had promised to meet with them and to bless them. The Lord wants more than our persons and our resources, He also wants our entire futures placed at His disposal, (Rom. 12:1-2.)
Gen 13:3-4 IT INVOLVES RETURNING
To The Place Of God's Worship - He left Egypt and made his way back to Bethel, "The House Of God", and the "place of the altar", v. 4. When Abram was in Egypt, there were no altars, there was no praying, and there was no word from the Lord. The child of God will never be fulfilled until he or she returns to a place where God can be encountered.
To The Place Of God's Working - Abram returned to the place where God had previously worked in his life. The Lord will always be found in the place where we left Him. Many of the Lord's people need to return to their altars and to the place where they walked away from God. He is waiting to meet you and bless you again!
To The Place Of God's Will - Abram returned to the place where God sent him. Canaan represented the perfect will of God for Abram. The place where God can bless you the most is the place where God places you! He'll give you a lot of rope, but in the end, if you want His blessings on your life, you must be in that place near Him. (Moses - Ex. 33:21)
Gen 13:3-4 IT INVOLVES REVIVING
He Revived His Devotion To God - Abram came back to the place of the altar. There seems to be a renewal of the desire to be in God's presence. He came back to the altar! There is something fundamentally wrong when a believer possesses a lack of a desire to worship the Lord. This is true both privately or publicly. God would have us be in a state of mind where His worship is a priority in our lives, (John 4:23-24; Heb. 10:25.) We have forgotten what the altar is for in the church! It is a place of sacrifice; of seeking the Lord; of repentance; of surrender; of thanksgiving; of forgiveness, both given and received; of supplication; of praise and worship! May the Lord help us to remember the way there and how to use the altar for His glory!
He Revived His Dependence On God - Abram "Called on the name of the LORD..." Abram is now through with Egypt and he does what he should have done in the first place, (Gen. 12:10, he relies on the Lord. Instead of looking here and there for the help we need, the Lord would have us walk in total dependence upon Him. He desires our faith and will honor genuine faith by His provisions, (Matt. 6:25-34.)
He Revived His Dedication To God - Whatever happened in the heart of Abram that caused him to walk away in the first place has been dealt with. The phrases "at the beginning" and "at the first" suggest that Abram has experienced a renewal of his "first love". What happened in this man's life is what needs to take place in the lives of many of God's children this evening! So many have allowed the flames of love to becomes mere embers. We need a revival! We need to fall in love with Jesus all over again! (Rev. 2:1-7) Days spent out of fellowship with God are "wood, hay, and stubble". They are wasted and can never be redeemed!
Conc: I wonder how many would have to admit that they are more "down" than "up" in their walk with the Lord? When we are in that down place spiritually, the Lord cannot bless and use us like He desires to. We need to take the same steps that Abram took and come “back up” again. I don't know where you are spiritually today, but I know that if you need to come before the Lord to seek His forgiveness, to love Him, to thank Him, to pray for a lost loved one, or for any reason at all, He will gladly meet you at the altar if you will come. May we determine in our hearts that Egypt is no place for us to dwell and that we are going back to Canaan whatever the cost.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
1 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. 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. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 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.
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