Recently, I came across a video online that made a part of Psalm 23:2 come alive to me, and I wanted to share. The video was of a man and his wife that work for Wycliffe Bible translators in South Africa. They talked about how recently the man was preparing to translate Psalm 23, and he came across an interesting nugget of truth in verse two. The part of the verse he was studying was the part that says “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” He went on to explain that when we read that verse, that we often think of abundant green pastures all over the place where sheep could freely graze, relax, and be restored. When David wrote Psalm 23, this was not the case. There wasn’t an endless amount of rich pasture that was available in the dry Judean desert where David was a shepherd. Everything was generally dry, except during the rainy season. He said that during the dry season, the shepherds would lead the sheep through the dry river valleys and then go to green spots where he knew the water had come and grass was available.
Only the shepherd could take them there.
The sheep could not find these places themselves. He would take them to a small stretch of rich patches of grass where they could eat, relax and be restored, they would finish, and then go on to the next spot.
Doesn’t this analogy fit perfectly with the journey we sometimes feel like we are on in life? There have been many times in my life where I have felt like I go from one rich patch of grass to another, and in-between those precious times I feel like I’m in a hot, dry, desert place, longing for some rest. A perfect life example of this is what happened in my family this past December. The entire month of December in our family consisted of all five members contracting lice, getting treated for the lice, the stomach flu, two rounds of influenza and a broken oven. Christmas was fun, but we stayed home. We ended up paying a visit to Washington D.C. over the New Year, and to us, it ended up being an oasis of rest, relaxation and restoration after the dry, challenging, exhausting month of December we had just experienced.
After going through all of that, and then discovering the nugget of truth written in Psalm 23:2, it hit me. He makes me lie down in green pastures. The Lord, my perfect Shepherd, who’s there with me and leads me through the rough terrain, is the only one who knows how to take me to places where I can find the rest and refreshment I need. When He leads me to those places of rest that only He knows about, He makes me lie down when we get there. It’s a journey of trust on my end and a journey of loving care on His. I can’t find those places on my own. He doesn’t expect me to. All I have to do is follow Him, trust Him, and know that He will take care of the rest.
Going into this New Year, my prayers for myself and you are that we will both be able to trust our good shepherd throughout this year, especially when we feel like we are in a challenging, overwhelming, rough, dry part of the road. Also, that we will trust that He knows exactly where to lead us to get the rest and refreshment that we need; and that we would believe when are finished with that spot, He will lead us right on to the next one.