May 6, 2020
Dear Praying Partners,
Rachel and I appreciate your support and partnership in prayer for our prodigals and for revival. By stilling ourselves in His presence, we are enabled to seek His face in prayer.
Psalm Twenty-Three has been a tremendous comfort to God’s people throughout the generations of history, and today is no exception. Last week we considered the greatness of our Shepherd, our intimate relationship with Him, and His provision for us. This week, I would like to focus on the second verse, which gives us insight into how He supplies this full provision for our hearts. David says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters” (Ps. 23:2).
There are two verbs in this verse that describe what our Shepherd does: He makes and He leads. These are not forced actions, but rather, invitations. He desires our willingness and our submission for them to happen. We must allow Him to lay us down in green pastures, and we must allow Him to lead us to the still waters. This is what the Shepherd wants to do in our lives on a continual basis. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime event or a daily event; in fact, it is not an event at all, but rather a continual, ongoing state in which He desires us to live. We all need to ask ourselves, “Am I surrendered to the desires of the Shepherd? Am I willing to follow where He leads? Am I listening for His voice?”
In one of our studies, my friend Ross noted that there are two speeds for the sheep in Psalm 23:2. One is stillness and the other is forward movement. One is lying down, while the other is following. The order is important; when we are willing to lie down in His pasture to feed, we will then be willing to follow His footsteps to the still waters. When a sheep lies down it is being completely vulnerable. (Thanks, David, for that thought.) It is in a condition of total trust upon the shepherd. This is where our God wants us to live. He wants us feeding on His Word, filling our minds with His truth, and allowing its reality to soak into every recess of our being.
Are you conscious of His presence with you? The shepherd stays with his sheep. They lie down because he is near, and they are close enough to him to hear his voice. The words of Jesus relate this to Him. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (Jn.10:27). Do you hear the voice of your Shepherd? His voice will bring rest and stillness to your soul.
The place to which the Shepherd has brought His sheep is a place of calmness, restfulness, and stillness. This is a condition of the soul that He will cultivate as we keep close to him. While this is a state of being that should be perpetual, there is a sense in which we need to physically stop the busyness, hectic, ongoing chaos of life, and allow His Word, His goodness, His presence, His reality to calm us. It is this daily stopping that will allow us to enjoy the continual rest that He gives. The picture that is being painted by David, is that there were large areas of dry, barren ground, and the Shepherd directs His sheep from those areas, or through those areas to the tender, green, lush pastures for feeding and drinking. Are you taking the time in your busy life to sit alone with Him?
Maybe this is one of the lessons from COVID-19 that God is trying to teach us. The first few weeks of isolation was novel and interesting, but now we are getting restless and want to get going with normal life again. Now is an opportunity for us to make use of the extra time we have at home to sit with Him and learn at His feet. While the turmoil and unsettled condition of the world crouches in upon us, God wants your heart to be at rest. He wants you to lie down and He wants you to follow Him.
Thanks again for praying,
Bryan and Rachel