Revelation chapter 12 foretells great signs appearing in the heavens, and Michael the Archangel fighting with the armies of Satan, the great dragon who is cast down to the earth in the middle of the Tribulation.
Revelation 12:10-11 declares, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, they loved not their lives even unto death’” (ESV).
These verses explain that Satan is the accuser of our brothers (Greek adelphos, or fellow believers, which includes men and women) and that we overcome him, his schemes and accusations by the Blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony. You may have heard this before, but have you ever wondered how to put it into practice?
Psalm 23 is one of the most well-known of the psalms. It begins, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…” , but in order to fully understand the 23rd Psalm, first we must read Psalm 22 which begins with a cry to God that may already be familiar to you from the gospel of Matthew 27:46: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” Psalm 22:1 describes King David’s prophetic vision of the crucifixion, beginning with Jesus’ cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?”
Psalm 22:14 foretells of Jesus suffering on the cross, saying “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast…” This is a description of the Blood of the Lamb, poured out for us. Although Psalm 22 describes the horrors of the crucifixion, it also foresees our greatest victory over the enemy.
Psalm 22: 27, 30-31 declare, “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before [him]…Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.”
Before you read Psalm 23, begin by reading Psalm 22 and you will see that it is because Jesus was humble and obedient even unto death as the Lamb of God that we can depend on his protection as our Lord and Shepherd. It was through the cross that Christ defeated death, hell and the grave. His shed Blood is our victory over sin and the enemy.
Therefore, in times of trouble we will overcome when we claim and pray the promises of Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Please stay tuned for Part Two – Our Refuge and our Fortress.
All scriptures are from the English Standard Version.