He makes me lie down in green pastures.
When I’m tired and stressed, I like to head up to the North Downs near where I live and sit in the sun on the amusingly named Saddle Knob. It’s a large expanse of grass at the top of Reigate Hill, and the views across the Weald to the South Downs are awesome. It makes me feel just a little less stressed and a little more normal just to sit there and relax.
When I’m really busy at work and feeling very stressed, however, it seems there’s no time to do anything but work. I’m sure you’ve been in a similar position and know for yourself that when you get in this position home life suffers and you find yourself being irritable with those who love you, and not making time for your friends. You even find yourself cutting yourself off from God, and not making time for Bible study and prayer.
God knows what is best for us, though, and if we let him, he will take care of us. He doesn’t just suggest politely that we stop work, he makes us. Sometimes this can be in rather alarming ways, and we feel as if a carpet is being pulled out from underneath us. There are times, though, when we think we know best, and God has to show us that actually, he does. We have to trust in him, and realise that, as our creator, he knows better than anyone what we need.
Shepherds in the middle east didn’t just lead their sheep to green pastures, they were instrumental in creating them. Green pastures are not all that common in the desert, and a great deal of irrigation is needed to create them. Since shepherds love their flocks, though, and recognise that with them they would die, they worked hard to ensure that these pastures were created.
Our God is the same. He creates green pastures for us, leads us to them, and makes us lie down. If we listen to him, this is a painless experience, but if we ignore us, he can be more forcible in making us stop.
Listen carefully to God today. Do you need to stop? Are you neglecting him, your family or your friends through working too hard? Stop and lie down in those green pastures now, otherwise you might find yourself being stopped, since God loves you and knows best!
For more on Psalm 23, check out my book, ‘The Shepherd God: Finding Peace, Worth and Purpose in a Busy World‘.