Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Recipe for Rest

[Disclaimer: I write devotionals for a website, and they are posted on a weekly basis. For the next 5 days, I will be posting my devotionals from this week.]

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. Psalm 23:1-2

Are you like me? Do you constantly move about from one obligation to the next, one chore to another to another? In fact, I am so busy preparing for and doing life that sometimes I forget to stop and actually live my life. Well, if you can relate to me, I think that you will agree that we could all use a little rest. David’s twenty-third psalm provides a resting model for us, and this week I’m hoping to find relaxation through his example. Will you join me?

In the first verse of the chapter, David comments on the Lord’s character as a shepherd. It is important to note the responsibilities of a shepherd in order to fully understand David’s description of God. A shepherd was responsible for feeding, watering, grooming, protecting, and leading the flock. The flock was fully dependent on its shepherd to meet its needs. Does this give you a picture of the Lord? He meets all of our needs, just as a shepherd met the needs of the flock.

The second component of that verse is that because of the shepherd’s perfect care, the flock did not have to worry about anything. According to the Quest Study Bible [NIV], “This does not mean that we will never want anything, but that we will not be in want. That is, we can trust God for the essentials of life.” Are you starting to relax now? Doesn’t it take a load off to know that God has got it covered?

The second verse says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” This reminds me of when I was a little girl and I used to visit my grandparents’ ranch in the summer. My cousin, sister, and I would spend our days roaming through what seemed like endless rolling hills. And after hours of exploring, we’d plop down right in the middle of the grassy knoll and gaze up at the blue, summer sky. Just the thought of those days somehow brings about thoughts of repose.

But, I think that David was on to something when he refrained from using phrases like, “pass through green pastures” or “move across green pastures.” David understood that the Lord wanted him to abide in His blessings. God doesn’t want us to simply accept His blessings and move on. No, His aim is that we relish and savor them.

The last part of verse 2 says, “He leads me beside quiet waters.” Just this afternoon, my husband and I had the great idea to go to the driving range in the sweltering afternoon sun. When we finished, we were unbelievably thirsty, and we stopped by the store to get drinks. No more than five minutes had passed before our drinks were dry, and we were thirsting for more. God is the Living Water, though. He leads us to the babbling brook that will never run dry.Friend, does this illustration of lying in green pastures and drinking from quiet waters bring rest to your soul today? Let’s allow Jesus to be our Shepherd, so that our spirits might receive the refreshing that can only come from Him.

Father, thank you for teaching us in your word how to find rest when our souls are weary. God, remind us to savor your green pastures and to drink of your quiet waters today.

1 comment:

SG said...

This is absolutely true. My life has completely turned around over the past 14 years. Through the life of my husband the Lord has showed me that by being totally honest and completely thankful my soul/spirit can be at total peace and rest even though my soul/mind/body may be going 90 miles an hour. It is important however to, like you say, slow down, rest, relax, refresh, lie back in the meadow, gaze at the sky, drink cool water, and bask in all that God is. I will pray for you as you are inspired to write weekly. That is quite the responsibility but the Lord has placed within you honesty, thankfulness, reality, depth, insight and faith, the Gift of Faith, along with the ability to write and to write very well. May the Lord's blessings continue. With Love, A.S.