Rabbi Schneider - How to Read the Bible
Most of us know Psalm number 23, probably the most famous Psalm in the entire Bible. But what I am concentrating today is taking each verse of this Psalm and making application for our personal lives. It's really critical if we want to get the most out of Scriptures to prayer read when we're praying the Scripture. We're gonna be picking up today in verse number 4. But just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about today, let's just talk for a second about verse number 1. I want to describe this devotional concept of prayer reading. Hear God's Word, Psalm number 23, verse 1. David begins: The Lord is my shepherd.
See generally what we do when we're reading the Bible we just go from one verse to the next verse. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down on green pastures: he leads me, etc. And we just go one verse to the next verse. But a better way to read Scripture devotionally is to go one verse at a time, and stop after each verse, and then pray that verse, prayer read. So for example, verse number 1: The Lord is my shepherd, and then we stop. And we just consider that. Lord, what does it mean that you're my shepherd?
And Father, I just feel your Spirit on my heart when I read that because David said that you were his shepherd. David said, the Lord is my shepherd. Help me to know, Jesus, that you're not just the great shepherd. But help me to know, Jesus, that you're my shepherd. And then each verse that we read, we do the same thing. He goes on: I shall not want. We might pray, Father God, thank you that because you supply all of my needs according to your riches and glory, I will never need anything as it pertains to life and godliness because you give me everything I'll need. I'll never be walking in a place of lack.
Now that isn't to say that there aren't seasons that we go through that we have to pray about things, but at the end of the day, David said, I've never seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. And then we begin to just thank God that he's these things to us. And we begin to say thank you, Father God, that you are my shepherd. Thank you, Father God, that you lead me, and you guide me, that you discipline me to keep me on the right path. And Father, thank you that I shall not want, that you will take care of me in life, that you will supply all my needs.
And you know, as we work on this concept now of devotional prayer reading, as we're focusing on Psalm 23, I want to just bring one other general application. And that is this, if you will make the first part of your day a time that's set aside for you to be with God, if you'll put him first before checking your emails, before looking at your texts, before making phone calls, if you'll give that first part of your day for God, to God, the rest of your day will be more blessed. You see, it's the simple law of first fruits. We see it all through the Bible; that God always wants our first and our best. We see it, for example, when the Lord was raising up a priesthood. He took the first born son.
We see it, for example, in the, the holiday that God gave the Jewish people, the feast, called the Feast of First Fruits. When they went into the land of Israel, they were to take the first of their harvest in the spring and dedicate it to the Lord. We see it in tithes and offerings. God wants the first. Jesus said, seek first the kingdom of God. Get it? The law of first fruits, seek first the kingdom of God. This would apply to everything. It applies to our time. We give God the first part of our time. It applies to our days.
In other words, when we're waking up in the morning, we give him the first part of the day. It applies to our finances. We give God the first of our finances. It applies to our talents. We give him the first in our talents, not to spend on ourselves or the world. But Father, I want to give you the talent that you gave me to serve you back. I want my life to be used for your kingdom and your glory. Jesus said, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then everything else will be added unto you.
We think about the story of Elijah and how the Lord sent him to the widow. And Elijah said to the widow, go bake me some bread with your morsel and your oil. And she said, well I don't, I don't have enough to make you bread. I only have enough to make one little piece, one morsel for me and my son. Then we'll have nothing and we're just gonna die after that. And Elijah said to her, give it to me first and you'll not run out. And the Scripture said she obeyed the Word of the Lord through Elijah. She took that first part of what she had which was all she had. She dedicated it unto the Lord by giving it to the man of God. And you know what, the Bible says that her oil never ran out after that.
And so I want to encourage you as we're talking about prayer reading, to make a discipline in your life by the grace of God to wake up in the morning and give God the first part of your day. And I want to encourage you, even right now, to covenant with him on this. Begin tomorrow morning, begin tomorrow morning. Why tomorrow morning? Because I'm assuming that, you know, your, the first part of your day is already past today. Begin immediately and make a covenant with God that you can legitimately keep.
For some of you, you may start out at 15 minutes. Some of you may be able to go a half hour, and hour, or even longer. But make a covenant, by the grace of God, with him today that beginning immediately, even if you have to wake up early, and don't ever make an exception for yourself. Don't ever say, oh I didn't have time today, because as soon as you make an exception, the whole discipline falls apart. Everybody can do this. Everybody can spend at least, and I'm not saying this is, this is an ideal goal, but it's better to start somewhere and build on it than to do nothing. And it's better to choose a goal that you can keep than to bite off something too big that you'll be able to follow through with.
So do something that you can truly keep. Make no excuses for yourself not to do it. And every single day, beloved, for the rest of the year, and then you'll re-covenant with him for the following year, but I'm just putting a time line on it because a lot of times when you put a time line on a goal, it makes it easier to follow through with because you know specifically when it's gonna end. So make a covenant right now, at least 15 minutes. You're gonna say, God, from now on I'm gonna give you the first part of the day. I'm gonna sit before you. I'm gonna wait before you. I'm gonna read through the Word.
And pick a book of the Bible that grabs you, whether it's the Psalms, whether it's the Gospel of John, maybe it's gonna be different portions at different times. And when you read it, do what we're describing for you right now, beloved one. Take one verse at a time and when a verse stands out, when you feel a weight on a verse, read slowly. Then stop. The goal isn't just to keep reading to see how much you can read. The goal is to encounter God. The goal is to be refreshed in his presence. So what you do then is when you are reading and all of a sudden a verse stands out or a verse touches your heart somehow, then you stop and you pray about it. The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. He makes me lay down in green pastures. He restores my soul.
We begin to pray, Lord, I need to be restored in my soul. Lord, I ask you to lead me today to be refreshed and restored in your presence. Jesus, lead me today to some type of green pasture in your Spirit. I need to be refreshed today. Let me drink, Jesus, from the liver, the rivers, from the rivers of living water that will restore my soul. And then thank him. Thank you, Jesus, that your river of living water is in me. Refresh me today. I praise you, Jesus, that you're gonna touch me today, that you're gonna do something supernaturally in my life today, that you're gonna touch my soul by your Spirit today, and bring restoration to me.
And beloved ones, our walk in the spirit as it relates to our emotions is always gonna be changing, meaning that one day you'll wake up in the morning and you're gonna feel completely alive to God. You're gonna wake up feeling in a good mood. You're gonna have joy. You're gonna have faith. And it's gonna be real easy to follow this discipline that you made. And again, I encourage you, make your covenant specific. Make it 15 minutes, a half hour, 45 minutes. Whatever it is, make it, make it very specific and follow through with it, and don't take any, you know, short cuts.
What I was going back to was, some days you're gonna wake up, as you're following through on this discipline, and you're gonna feel refreshed. You're gonna, it's gonna be easier. You're gonna have faith. Other days you'll wake up and you won't even know why, and you're gonna feel sad. You're gonna feel lonely. You're gonna feel depressed. You're gonna feel empty. And you know what? It doesn't matter because feelings come and go and we can't always control what we feel. It's like the weather outside. One day you wake up and the sun is shining. The next day you wake up and maybe it's cloudy and it's raining. You can't control the weather and neither can we control all our feelings or our emotions. What we can control, beloved, is what we decide to do with our will.
You see, God never commanded us to feel a certain way. He commanded us to choose or to will. In other words, God never said, I command you to feel this way every day. But what he did command us to do was to choose to follow him, to choose to obey him, to choose to pick up our cross, deny ourselves and follow him. So I want to encourage you today. Jesus said, whosoever will. He didn't say whosoever feels. So don't let your feelings get you off track. Don't give in to your feelings because you can't control them. Don't let your feelings define who you are, because you may start out the day feeling really sad and by the middle of the day you're feeling fantastic. Feelings are not an indicator of our spirituality and they can't control us.
So I'm just simply saying that as you are following through with this discipline, don't let the fact that some days you feel depressed, or empty, or feel a lack of faith, or don't feel like doing it, or feel like it's doing no good. Don't let those feelings stop you from simply following through on your commitment. You see, the Scripture tells us that bodily discipline, Paul tells us, is profitable. Bodily discipline is profitable. In other words, when you discipline yourself to exercise, that's really profitable. If you discipline your eating habits, that's really profitable.
Paul said, bodily discipline is profitable, but he said, spiritual discipline, he said, is much more profitable, because he said, spiritual discipline has benefits, not only for this age, but also in the age to come. And so he said, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. And what I'm describing to you right now is spiritual discipline. And if discipline, Paul said, is important for things of the earthly nature, he said, it's even more important for things in the spirit nature. And so I'm asking you right now, will you bow your knee with me to covenant with me before Father God, the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and in the presence of his angels to say:
Lord, I know that what Rabbi's saying is true. I know it's your heart. Father, I know it's your Word. I know. Jesus said, I need to be waking up in the morning, and before I greet anybody else, I need to greet you. Before talking to my mom, or dad, my husband, my wife, my children, my friend, I need to start out, Lord, talking to you. I need to put you first. Just like that woman that Elijah went to put you first, and as a result of that experienced fullness in her life. And Father, there really are no excuses for following through with this. And I want to covenant with you right now that from now on, I'm gonna wake up in the morning and I'm gonna give you the first part of your day.
Let's just do it together. We're gonna actually make a covenant with Father through the grace of God. The grace of God was given, beloved, that you could obey him. You can do this.
Father God, I want you just to repeat after me. Father God, in Jesus's name by the power of the Holy Spirit, I declare right now that beginning immediately I'm gonna give you the first part of my day. Father, by your grace I will follow through from here going forward. And the first, and now you fill in the blank how many minutes is gonna be. You say, 15 minutes, half hour, hour, whatever it is. Father, for the first, you fill in the blank, of my day, I have covenanted to give it to you alone. I'm not gonna look at my emails. I'm not gonna read my texts. I'm not gonna be on the phone. I'm gonna spend undistracted time with you. Father God, I love you, and I know that as I do this, that my experience in your love is gonna grow richer, and deeper and you're gonna become more real to me. Thank you, Father, that you said if I would seek first your kingdom and your righteousness that everything else would be added unto me. Father, from now on, I'm gonna seek you first every morning, in Jesus's name and for Jesus's fame.
Well, beloved, that was just a practical application as we've begun our continuation of Psalm 23 in today's broadcast. I'm picking up now in verse number 4. I encourage you to get this entire series. You can get it online or through the 800 number at the end of the broadcast today. He is everything we need. I'm picking up in verse number 4. Hear the Word of God as I pick up where I left off last week: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil: for you are with me.
Do you know as we look around the world today, we can see death everywhere. You know, we drive on the road, we see horrendous car accidents. We hear of people being assaulted. We hear of famines going on in different places. We hear of people getting cancer, dying of heart attacks. We hear, beloved, of death taking place on every side. Do you know what the Scripture says? We don't have to be afraid of it. We don't have to be afraid of evil. We don't have to be afraid of death. The Lord said, don't fear what the world fears. The Lord said, you fear me and dread me alone. And he said, and I will become a sanctuary for you.
David said, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. You know what, beloved one, if there's anything that you're afraid of, God said you don't have to be afraid of it. If there's anything in your life that you're fearing, I want you to know right now, God wants you to rise up and break that fear off you. You do not have to be afraid. Over a hundred times the Scripture tells us do not be afraid. Jesus said, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. Be of good courage. Fear is an enemy of our soul. Fear does not come from God. The Lord told us, don't fear what man can do to you, but fear him that's able to destroy both soul and body in hell. The only one that we are to fear is God. Any other fear is from the devil.
In fact, the Book of Revelation said, fear is for the unbelieving. Rather the Bible says in the Book of Revelation, that the lake of fire is for the fearful and unbelieving. I want to encourage you right now, if there's something in your life, maybe you're afraid of running out of money, maybe you're afraid of getting sick, maybe you're afraid of growing old, maybe you're afraid of, it could be a million different things, maybe you're afraid for your children, maybe you're afraid about a relationship that you're in. Whatever it is that you're afraid of right now, I want to ask you just to stand up.
I know this is kind of participatory today, but you know listening to a sermon should be more often times than just listening to a sermon. You should be engaged with God because my goal in ministering to you, beloved, is not just that you would hear a sermon, but that you would be engaged with God so that God can work in your life. So listen, if there's something you're afraid of right now, I just want you to stand up in your heart and I want you to declare after me.
Father God, I realize like David, that I am to fear no evil. Father, I confess it, I have a spirit like David, that you have not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of love and power and of sound mind, that Jesus, you commanded me not to be afraid. And right now I go on the offense against this fear in my life. Satan, I reject you, and whatever that fear is speak to it.
Jesus said, say to that mountain, be moved and cast into the sea. Believe in your heart and nothing shall be impossible for you and the mountain will be moved. Speak to that fear right now. Say, fear of cancer, I break you off my life in Jesus's name. I hate you. You have no part in me. Fear of running out of money, you're a liar. I thank you, God, that you're gonna supply all my needs according to your riches and glory. Satan, I break your power off my life. Whatever that fear is, speak to it right now in Jesus's name. Fear of dying, you're a liar. Thank you, King Jesus, that you told me that because I believe in you, I will never die, because you are the resurrection in my life. I break off me right now the fear of death, in Jesus's name. David said, Lo, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, he said, for thou art with me.
I want you to know that because Jesus is with you and with me, we don't ever have to be afraid. And more than that, we have to recognize, beloved, that fear is our enemy. It's not to be tolerated. It's not to be accepted. We need to declare war against it. David said, Lo, I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he said, and I will fear no evil. Say it with me. I will fear no evil. Say it with me again. I will fear no evil. Like David, beloved, God wants us to have the heart of a warrior. Jesus said in Revelation, that he was the offspring of David. David was a man after God's own heart.
And you know what? I know that many of you that are watching are people, men and women, after God's own heart. And you know what? To fear is not fitting for people that are after God's heart. Because you know what? He doesn't want us to be afraid. The Bible said that perfect love casteth out fear. In other words, when we believe that God loves us perfectly, and that because he loves us perfectly he knows every detail of our lives, that his right hand is up holding us, that he's not gonna let us fall, that he's gonna provide for every need, that his angels are surrounding us and protecting us, and we don't ever have to be afraid because we are the children of the Father. He loves you, beloved one. You can say with David, I will fear no evil in Jesus's name.