“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:1, 2)
The Good Shepherd puts you in a good place. He lays you down in green pastures. This is nice. The picture David paints for us is one of comfort and rest. He makes us lay down. What a welcome relief in a world of unrest. But that’s not all. He not only makes us “lie down”, He lays us down in “green pastures”.
Question: Have you ever laid down to rest, but you couldn’t relax? You were tired but restless. There was so much on your mind that you could not settle down. Things you had to do. Worries about this or that. The Good Shepherd lays us down in “green pastures” where our needs can be met. David’s phrase is not about God providing us rest. It’s about God providing our needs so that we can rest. Our Shepherd puts us in green pastures to rest.
When the Good Shepherd Jesus was ministering in Galilee, He was doing the same thing with the sheep around Him. So, often the people surrounding Jesus were stressed and worried about the things of this life and Jesus would lead them into a “green pasture” and invite them to rest. The words from our Sabbath devotion come to mind again. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. When Jesus saw the crowds in Mark 6 He had compassion on them because they were like “sheep without a shepherd” (vs. 34). Then Jesus directed the crowd to “sit down in groups on the green grass” (vs. 39) and He proceeded to feed the crowd (provide their need) and, therefore they could rest. He is the Good Shepherd.
The trust that we have in Him as the Good Shepherd allows us to be able to rest. So, what does this have to do with the cross? It is the cross that brings us into green pastures again. We were lost and wandering with no place to lie down. And, even when we did lay down, we did not rest. Too many things to worry about. But through the work of the cross Jesus puts us back into “green pastures” and we can have His peace once more.
Today, thank the Lord for putting you into green pastures.
“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.” – Psalm 23