He makes me lie down in green pastures

Posted by Heather Conrad at 9:58 PM

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ever have the experience of a child returning home from school or an event, and somehow you just know that there is not enough air in the house to support the flow of words and excitement that exudes from every pore! They use words, and words, and expressions, and repeated words, and then, and then, and then... Okay, that's how I feel. So, with an intent and purpose not to simply spew all this information I'm soaking up, may I simply (and prayfully, humbly), share about my favorite verse, found in Psalms 23:2

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Don't know about you, but someone needs to make me lie down, and boy do I need it.

BUT, before we go there, let's take a quick look at the questions I proposed last post, looking at John, Chapter 10:

1. What are some things a good shepherd does for his sheep?

He knows who are His own sheep (verse 14)
His own sheep know Him as their shepherd (verse 14)
The good shepherd knows God perfectly (verse 15)
The good shepherd dies for his sheep (verse 15)
The good shepherd seeks Gentile sheep also (verse 16)
The good shepherd is loved by His Father (verse 17)
The good shepherd always had the Cross and the Resurrection in mind (verse 17)
The good shepherd obeyed His Father's command (verse 18)
The good shepherd had unique power over death (verse 18)

2. What do false shepherd do?

They refused to enter the prescribed way (verse 1)
The sheep would not follow them but fled from them (verse 5)
They are but thieves and robbers who tried to steal sheep and hurt them (verse 1)

3. What are some ways to recognize "Jesus' own sheep", and what does Jesus do for them?

Jesus gives promises to those who enter by Him (the gate) , verses 9-10
A. They will be saved (delivered from an evil power)
B. They will find security - to move in and out of "pastures" unhindered, free and safe
C. They will find satisfaction, a meaning to life. To be in Christ is to find"pasture" emotionally, intellectually, vocationally, and even physically.

Good brain food ey? Filling the mind and filling the soul, that's some good green fields!

Okay, what I learned from author and former shepherd ,W. Phillip Keller, this evening is that it is almost impossible for sheep to be made to lie down unless four requirements are met:

1. Unless they are free of all fear
2. Unless they are free from friction with others of their kind
3. Unless they are free from pests or parasites
4. They must be free from hunger

This unique sense of freedom from fear, tension, aggravation, and hunger can only be provided from the sheepman himself. Ironically, we as people aren't much different. How many of us lay awake at night because of fear? How do we react to others who simply rub us wrong? What are the irritants in our lives that keep us restless? Are we feeding ourselves the right "food" that only satisfies our hunger? Have we allowed our sheepman presence to enter our lives, have we vocalized our fears, panic, and terror of the unknown for His presence to dispel?

May I suggest that when our eyes are on our Master they are not on my fear or on those around me. This is a place of peace. Just as a shepherd applies a healing, soothing, effective antidote to a particular problem, do I allow my Shepherd to bring quietness, serenity, strength, and calmness in the face of frustrations and futility? Strange thing is, when I do, I become aware of His dealing in a way I had not anticipated. And because of the assurance that He has become active on my behalf, there steals over me a sense of quiet contentment. I am then able to lie down in peace and rest. All because of what He does. It's amazing...

So today, will you allow your Shepherd to clear the life of rocks of stony unbelief? Will you allow Him to tear out roots of bitterness? He attempts to break up the hard, proud heart that is set like sun-dried clay. He sows the seed of His own precious Word, which, if given half a chance to grow, will produce rich crops of contentment and peace. He waters it with dews and rain of His own presence by the Holy Spirit. He tends and cares and cultivates life, longing to see it become rich and green and productive. It is all indicative of the unrelenting energy of an owner who wishes to see his sheep satisfied and well fed. He loves me. He sent His Son for me. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep. That includes me... and you.

Tune in next time as He "leads us beside quiet waters"...

Much to learn about this as Aaron and I have a chance to run in the dry (and warm!) lands of Phoenix this weekend! The adventure continues...