The well known 23rdPsalm of David states “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Then it goes on to say “He makes me to lie down in green pastures.”—This Psalm is often read robotically without really zoning in to what David was experiencing when he wrote this passage. Bible scholars believe that David was referring to the chaos and mayhem he was experiencing in his life, but God saw fit to provide him with green pastures and quiet waters that brought him calmness along the way.
We, like David, experience much turmoil, havoc, and distress that often causes us to feel worn out, frustrated, and just plain ready to give up! In the midst of our commotion, we often forget that the same God that offered David a place of rest is able to provide the same rest for us when we are weary. Let us examine the purpose of “The green pasture.” Green pastures represent a place of nourishment, refreshment, rest, rejuvenation, and a place to resort in God (Ps 71:3). Sounds like a cool place to be right? We don’t know too many people who wouldn’t love the opportunity to indulge in one of the best perks that The Great Shepherd offers us! So what stops us from partaking in these great retreats? ——could it be the very nature of who we are………as sheep? Let’s explore this together!
Here are some facts about sheep:
· Fearful, timid, easily panicked
· Easily frustrated; especially when hungry, fearful, or when being pestered
· Easily influenced by their leader
· No self defense
· Always looking for a place to rest (yet resisting the rest)
· Don’t always like to be cleaned
· Need to stay on the move or will get into trouble or stray away
Because of the nature of sheep, they often have difficulties resting. Phillip Keller, a former shepherd, who is a pastor and author, explained that there are four characteristics of sheep that prevent them from taking rest:
1) FEAR-If sheep are afraid, they will not lie down.
2) FAMINE– If sheep are hungry; they will not lie down, but wander restlessly.
3) FRICTION-If sheep are involved in or witnessing a fight, they won’t lie down.
4) FLIES-If sheep are being bothered by flies or parasites, they won’t lie down.
Similarly, we have a difficult time relaxing if we are worried, fearful, or stressed. We may also be experiencing some sort of hunger, desire, or need for something that causes us to become restless and uneasy. What about conflicts and friction? If we are having troublesome relationships or interactions with others, we can’t easily rest. And lastly, many of us become irritated or frustrated about life or maybe people are pulling on us and disturbing us which causes us to become anxious. Regardless of the reason, many of us have a difficult time finding rest even if a clear opportunity is presented to us. But thankfully, we have a God who will not let us go too long without helping us to be still. All we have to do is receive the restoration and peace that He places deep within our souls!
Come back to read “Where’s My Green Pasture? — Part II” to learn practical ways of finding rest in your life!