“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

Verses 1 & 2 explain how God is like a Shepherd who provides and cares for us, His sheep.  We can rest and relax knowing that God is taking care of us.  With Him leading us, we can experience peace and provision.  Just like sheep, we need guidance to safe pastures.  We, like sheep, need a Shepherd to guide us to safety and provisions for our lives.  The words “lie down” in verse two, mean not only to recline, it means to stretch and sprawl out in true comfort.  Green pastures are not just in respect to food but as places of cool and refreshing rest.

The strange thing about sheep is that because of their very make-up, it’s almost impossible for them to lie down unless certain requirements are met.  Because of their timidity, they refuse to lie down unless they are free of all fear.  Especially in the summer, they can be driven to absolute distraction by nasal flies and other parasites.  When tormented by these pests it is impossible for them to lie down and rest. Sheep have little or no means of self-defense.  So, it is in the Christian’s life.  There is no substitute for the keen awareness that our Shepherd is nearby.

Life is full of hazards.  We can’t tell what a day will produce for new troubles.  Generally, it is the “unknown” or the “unexpected” that produces panic.  1 Peter 5:12 tells us “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you”.  Refer also to 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but a spirit of power”.  One of the outstanding marks of a Christian should be a serene sense of gentle contentment.

David wrote this Psalm and kept his father’s flock in what could have been a dry, brown, and sun-burned wasteland.  Green pastures came because of tremendous labor, time, and skill of land use.  If his sheep were to enjoy green pastures, he had a tremendous job to do.  Green pastures are essential for success with sheep.  So, it is with our Good Shepherd who has supplied green pastures for those who care to move onto them and there find peace and plenty.  Sheep need guidance to safe pastures, and we too need a Shepherd to guide us to safety and rest.  Yes, He makes us lie down in green pastures.  Next month, “He leadeth me beside still waters”.