referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…
One of the most fascinating things I have learned so far in this Psalm 23 series is that green pasture doesn’t just happen! In many places, green pastures may not exist until someone – usually the shepherd- tills the soil, plants the grass and legumes, irrigates the land, and tends to the pasture to ensure the nutritional needs of the sheep are met.
After sheep have trailed all day, they need lush pasture to forage on and lie down in and chew their cud. Pasturing is a time of rest and refreshing. Making and/ finding green pasture is a very intentional process. Healthy pasture by and large is in healthy soil. Healthier soils yield better-quality grass which means healthier sheep.
So lets look at the scripture again….
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; Psalm 23:1-2
What caught my eye was He ‘makes’. To make is to cause to exist or happen. Rest is a concept that originated from God (on the 7th day He rested). God is the only one that can give true rest. His invitation as a shepherd is:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest [make you lie down in green pasture (my interpretation)]” Matthew 11:28 NIV
There are times when I get so busy with the hustle and bustle of daily life- work, kids, home life, school, church life, my daily Netflix time- to the detriment of my spirituality. I get too busy for my one-on -one with my Shepherd and it manifests as me feeling physically irritable and emotionally drained. It is in those times that I am forced to rest. God literally makes me lie down and reminds me to rest and refresh in Him. One of the ways we lie down in green pastures in His presence when we make out time with Him through the study and meditation of His Word. Times of refreshing comes from presence of God (Acts 3:20).
Now lets backtrack to the part on soils: Healthy pasture is in the health of the soil. The quality of rest and refreshment is in the state of the heart that receives the Word of God. Jesus told a parable about the sower and He explains it thus:
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:18-23 NIV
What’s your heart condition? Good soil means good pasture means rest and refreshing. So dear reader, next time you read your bible, don’t rush through it. Be intentional. Take a moment to pasture: to study and meditate on the word and then let the words wash over you as you bask in His rest.