He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3
The Shepherd Provides
The early Native Americans had a unique practice of training young braves. On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and the tribe. But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of thick woods, and he was terrified! Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke, and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path. Then, to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long. -Our Daily Bread.
Stop and ponder that picture for a moment. We go through life so often feeling terrified of all things happening around us. Like the blindfolded young braves, we attempt to man up and get through life all alone not knowing or understanding that we are never alone. The Good Shepherd is there all the time never more than a few feet away, saying it is ok. It is safe. As we continue to slow walk our way through Psalm 23, there are just two imagines to meditate on here.
He settles me down in green pastures.
Sheep are skittish creatures and with good reason. They have no weapons with which to defend themselves. So, a sheep will not simply plop down for a nap unless the conditions are ideal. No one can make a lamb lie down. And only very young sheep can lie down and get up without assistance. Sheep will only lie down when: 1) they have had plenty to eat, 2) have quenched their thirst, and 3) they are not threatened by any wild animal or disturbed by biting insects. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, says you can have that feeling of complete protection and provision. I will take care of all your needs so that you can rest secure in the bosom of your Savior.
He leads me beside still waters.
Sheep are afraid to drink water if it is moving. So, to accommodate the sheep the shepherd must plan his entire day around the availability of water in the middle of the day. Sheep remind me a lot of people. We need to be pampered and cared for; we tend to be easily disturbed by the things around us beyond our control. In spite of how difficult we can be to care for and even love, Jesus the Good Shepherd, knowing all of this about us still provides “still water” no matter the cost. And the cost to the Good Shepherd was His life. He still leads me. He still loves me. His still waters truly run deep.
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