Series: Day 14 | Psalm 23:1-6 | Day 30 | Psalm 23:1 | For His Name’s Sake | For You Are With Me | You Prepare A Table Before Me | Surely, Forever
Over the course of the day, I spent about 2 hours of my life watching videos about sheep.
Yes, you read that correctly. And if I’m being honest, I might watch a few more… they were oddly fascinating. As weird as that is, I promise I have a perfectly reasonable explanation for this.
In studying Psalm 23, I thought it would be best to try to understand sheep and shepherds a little better.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. | Psalm 23:2-3a
The Shepherd (v.1) makes his sheep lie down in green pastures.
Here’s where those two hours of watching sheep videos pays off: Sheep don’t particularly lie down all that often. If they lie down, it’s because of one of two things:
- The shepherd wrestled the sheep to the ground
- The sheep has eaten its fill of greens, feels safe, and can finally chill
The first process is as aggressive as it sounds. The shepherd has to lift the sheep up from behind and pull it down to the ground, holding the legs firmly. The shepherd uses this approach when needing to access the underside or hooves of the sheep, usually for medical or maintenance purposes.
Sometimes, this is the approach our Good Shepherd has to take with us – usually for medical or maintenance purposes of the spiritual variety. We’re so easily distracted and so comfortable with complacent living, that sometimes, God literally has to wrestle us away from the world so that we are forced to acknowledge Him and our need for Him.
The Good Shepherd does this out of love and care for His sheep. This is His way of leading, protecting, and providing for us.
He knows best.
Once we have been wrestled away from the world, we’re able to recognize the nourishment surrounding us as His sheep. The Good Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures, where there is ample food and everything necessary for growth.
The Word of God is our nourishment. We must graze on it daily, filling ourselves up with the knowledge of Him so that we can enjoy growth in Him.
Verse two continues to say that He leads us beside still waters.
Sheep are easily startled. The shepherd is mindful of this. He doesn’t lead them near torrential rapids or waterfalls. Rather, he leads them to peaceful environments.
Our Good Shepherd does the same for us. Though the circumstances of our lives may be chaotic at times, we have access to abounding peace in Him.
The process of being led requires surrender to the one leading. And the process of surrender requires trust. The Good Shepherd builds our trust in Him as He wrestles us to the ground for our good, allowing us to recognize Him as our leader, protector, and provider. This trust continues to build, allowing us to trust Him enough to surrender to His leading. And as He leads us to peace, our faith grows all the more.
As we are wrestled away from the world, as we grow in Him, as we learn that peace is readily available, we slowly begin to realize that this Shepherd of ours truly is good. We learn to trust Him and our faith evolves. Before we know it, we’re like the sheep of the second scenario – fully satisfied, safe, and resting near our Good Shepherd. And along the way, an even greater phenomenon occurs deep within us.
Our souls are
r e s t o r e d .
Our Good Shepherd proves Himself as the only one qualified to lead, protect, and provide for us with each new day spent with Him. We can rest in knowing that because His love for us is so great, He will make us lie down in the greenest pastures, lead us beside the most peaceful waters, all for the sake of restoring our souls unto Himself.