He makes me lie down in green pastures… Psalm 23:2 NIV
Is your life as crazy busy as mine? There never seems to be enough hours in a day to get everything I need …or want …to get done! From being a wife and mommy to working a full-time job to making meals, cleaning floors, and doing laundry…and with 2 little boys? …loads of laundry I may add! …It just doesn’t all get done.
Life can certainly be far from restful! With handling all the details of everyday life to facing unexpected curve balls like the challenges and difficult circumstance that may be thrown our way …who has time to rest for goodness sakes!
Sometimes when I feel like saying… “Lord, 24 hours in a day is just not enough!” …I have to remind myself of the One who created time!
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matt 6:27 NIV
Some of you are probably thinking… “Girl you need to calm down and just rest for a minute!” But I know there are some of you out there that can relate to the busyness of life…the prioritizing of daily tasks to meet deadlines and keeping your family and house together. And yes, there unfortunately is a lack of rest!
I began to reflect on my busy life when several weeks ago, my pastor referred to Psalm 23 in his Sunday sermon. I just absolutely love this psalm!!! Seeing this passage up on the overhead brought back childhood memories of learning and memorizing these scriptures word for word…and way back then it was in the King James Version! I am sharing the English Standard Version below which is very similar…minus all the “thou” and “thou arts.” If you aren’t familiar with Psalm 23, please check it out!
1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 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.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Don’t you just love this passage! Psalm 23 is busting at the seams with many incredible promises that God has for us! Don’t just take my word…read through these scriptures and see all these promises for yourself! …Promises of care, provision, rest, peace, healing, guidance, His presence, comfort, friendship, protection, hope and our eternal home.
Now I am getting really excited! I hope you are too! I just absolutely love God’s word!
Ok…So as my pastor was preaching, a particular verse caught my attention causing me to reflect on my busy life…Psalm 23:2.
He makes me lie down in green pastures… Psalm 23:2 ESV
You may be thinking… Well what is so profound about this verse? It just sounds like David is talking about rest…lying down and resting in lush green grass…maybe under a tree with the sun shining, a cool breeze, and some peace and quiet. Yes, rest is certainly a major part of it but there is much more God wants us to grasp from this very brief scripture!
David wrote Psalm 23 out of his own experience as a shepherd caring for sheep while he was a young boy. There are numerous parallels that can be made in Psalm 23 between David shepherding his sheep and the Lord shepherding His sheep…meaning us. Just as sheep have a great dependence on their shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection so we too must depend on our Great Shepherd Jesus Christ for provision, guidance and protection.
In order to grasp a greater perspective, I want to break down Psalm 23:2 with you!
He makes me lie down…
What is so significant about the beginning of this scripture? Well, David says that God makes him lie down. Clearly God has a reason to make David lie down and it isn’t a mere suggestion!
As a shepherd boy, David was quite busy! …Yes, kind of like you and kind of like me! Caring for sheep is an around the clock job for a shepherd to ensure that the sheep are protected, cared for, and fed. God surely knows the time commitment of a shepherd …yet He still makes David lie down! It’s as if David is saying… “God knows that I need to stop for awhile and rest, and He also knows that I won’t just do it on my own, so He makes me stop and rest!”
God also knows our time commitments as well…. So wouldn’t you think that He wants us to stop, lie down, and rest too?
Interestingly, we can also see that David doesn’t say “He made me lie down” like it’s a one-time thing. “He makes me lie down” implies that it didn’t happen once, but that it happened before and will happen again.
This is an interesting parallel to sheep because just as our Great Shepherd makes us lie down, a shepherd like David must also make his sheep lie down. FYI…Sheep do not just lie down.
Why? …Because of fear. There is a lot of tension and uneasiness in a flock of sheep. Oftentimes there is friction, rivalry, competition, and an ever present fear of the unknown among the sheep.
Sheep that are afraid will not lie down and get the rest that they need…therefore sheep need their shepherd’s presence to ease their fears and make them lie down.
This is so relevant for us today because so many times we too won’t “lie down” due to fear and the busyness of our lives…we too won’t rest for fear of not getting all we need to get done…fear of not meeting our deadlines…fear of not measuring up as a wife, mother, or business woman. And thus, this fear keeps us moving, keeps us busy, and keeps us from the very things God is wanting us to do…which is rest. But check this out! …God doesn’t want us to just rest in this scripture…
…In green pastures
There is an important reason why the Lord makes us lie down…not just anywhere… but in green pastures. There is an important reason why the Lord guides us to rest specifically in a place of green pastures…Because the green pastures are where the sheep feed…the green pastures are where we must feed too!
Green pastures are further described in one commentary…
The Hebrew word rendered “pastures” means usually “dwellings,” or “habitations.” It is applied here properly to “pastures,” as places where flocks and herds lie down for repose. The idea is that of calmness and repose, as suggested by the image of flocks “lying down on the grass.” But this is not the only idea. It is that of flocks that lie down on the grass “fully fed” or “satisfied,” their wants being completely supplied.
It is not merely a flock enjoying repose; it is a flock whose wants are supplied, lying down in the midst of abundance. Applied to the psalmist himself, or to the people of God generally, the idea is, that the wants of the soul are met and satisfied, and that, in the full enjoyment of this, there is the conviction of abundance – the repose of the soul at present satisfied, and feeling that in such abundance want will always be unknown. Barnes Notes Commentary
Our Great Shepherd is making us lie down not only to rest but so that we may feed… feed on green pastures…feed on His word! Why? So we can experience ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction!
Are your days so full that you aren’t fully feeding on God’s word? Are you so busy that you don’t make the time to read the bible? Clearly, this is a priority for God…so much that He makes us lie down in green pastures!
By lying down in green pastures, we too will experience the same sense of rejuvenation, the same revival in our spirits, the same deep satisfaction that literal sheep enjoy when resting in the presence of a faithful shepherd and feeding upon the green pastures.
Now, I know it isn’t easy in our crazy busy lives to read God’s word on a daily basis…but this should be our goal. I am not talking about being legalistic about it…If you miss a day, move on and make a greater effort to feed on His word the next day!
You will experience the rest, rejuvenation, and revival in your spirit that will guide you and encourage you in your busy days. You will experience the deep satisfaction in your soul that nothing in this world…only God’s Word… can provide.
1) Is your life so busy that you have no time to rest?
2) Do you ever feel that God makes you lie down so you can find rest?
3) What changes can you make in your priorities to ensure that you have time to not only rest but to also read God’s word?
1) Begin to make some changes in your daily schedule to ensure a time of rest with God. Matt. 6:33
2) Pray that the Lord would help you make the time to spend with Him.
3) Set time aside each day to read God’s word. It can be 5 minutes a day! You will see that your hunger and desire to feed on God’s word will grow and soon you will be spending more time with Him!
4) If you aren’t sure where to begin, read a verse or passage in Psalms or Proverbs. You can also begin reading one of the Gospels in the New Testament…Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
5) Grab a devotional to assist you in getting into God’s Word. There are so many good ones out there! One is “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. I have also provided 2 links in the right margin of this blog that will email you daily devotions.