By Brooke Holt
“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” Psalm 23:2
As you read through Psalm 23, the imagery may not resonate with your soul simply because we live in a different time and setting. Rarely do I ever see sheep. Thus, I have a limited understanding of the relationship between shepherd and sheep. My guess is you and I are alike in this lack of knowledge.
King David, the author of Psalm 23, fully understood this relationship between the shepherd and his sheep as he served as a shepherd for many years. David expresses his heart throughout this psalm. As a keeper of the sheep, David understood what it meant to be a good shepherd. In this role, David loved his sheep; he protected them from predators; he led them to good pasture for food and to streams for water; he knew his sheep individually and each was precious to him. David loved his sheep not for what they did for him but because they were entrusted to him.
In verse two of Psalm 23, David wrote of how the Lord dealt with him like a sheep. The Lord made David lie down in green pastures and he led him beside still waters. Isn’t it interesting that the shepherd must make his sheep lie down? He does this to ensure the sheep will eat, rest, and enjoy some peace and tranquility. On their own, the sheep likely would have continued wandering and missed the opportunity for needed refreshment and rest.
The Good Shepherd is still trying to lead his people to these green pastures and still waters. Unfortunately, his sheep can be quite stubborn! God calls you to observe a day of Sabbath—a day set aside for worship, rest, and restoration. Do you take it as such, or do you do just that little bit of extra work, recreation, or kid’s activities instead of worship?
Everyone has limited hours, minutes, and days. Setting aside time for worship, rest, and restoration is hard because it means putting other things on hold or even saying no to good opportunities such as that recreational league that plays games every Sunday. Yet, God designed you with a need for physical and spiritual nourishment and rest, and you will not function at your optimum if you deny that design.
The Good Shepherd’s plans for you truly good. He loves you and wants to meet your needs. The question is whether you will you surrender to him and let him lead you even when that means taking time to be nourished in his word and by rest.
Are you lying down in the green pastures to which God is leading you? Are you walking beside the still waters and partaking of the living water that he alone provides? Are you allowing the Lord to nourish you, comfort you, provide for you, and restore you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer.
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