I am continuing my journey through Psalm 23 with my friend Kerri of A Simple Princess. Today we are discussing the first part of verse 2,
“He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
Sheep without a shepherd are left to wander aimlessly, unprotected from predators. They would easily run themselves off of a cliff if it wasn’t for the watchful eye and gentle hand of the shepherd leading them back to safety. A shepherd knows when his sheep must rest. He knows when they are running low on food and water. Not wanting any of them to perish, the shepherd will lead them to green pastures and there he will keep them, making them lie down to rest, to eat of the life-giving grass and to prepare themselves for their continued journey.
In the same way, My Good Shepherd cares for me. He sees me, running to and fro, back and forth, from one thing to the next. And even though these are all good things, the Shepherd knows that I must rest. The predators that threaten to overtake me during these times are sickness, burnout, depression and overwhelm. I must refuel my mind, body and spirit and draw strength for the journey ahead. My Shepherd would not have me wandering tired and aimless through the green pastures, without stopping to eat and refuel. But I can be very stubborn, not wanting to say no to anyone or anything. I’ve been known to burn my bridges at both ends until there is nothing left to give, all in the name of “good works”. If I am not careful, I can bring myself to the point of barely functioning. Then, I am no good to anyone.
I am so thankful for the hand of My Shepherd, who gently leads me to that lush green meadow, to the place where His peace dwells and I find rest. Sometimes, He will make me lie down. By that I mean He will remove every other obstacle from my life (yes, even ministry) until I have nothing left to do but surrender. There, in the wide open meadow He comes to meet me. He knows I have nothing left to offer Him, for I’ve been stripped bare. I have nothing left to do but to stop and be still in His presence and receive the nourishment that my soul craves.
I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign LORD.