The 23rd Psalm is arguably the most well-known.
You talk of scriptures to memorise and this one is right up there. So familiar is it that sometimes we can take it for granted and think we know it when there may be more to it than that.
This is why it remains worthwhile reflecting and meditating on it. The imagery of the shepherd and the sheep. Nurtured, fed, rested and led is an evocative one. From being beside still waters to a table prepared before the enemy there is so much rich visuals that pop up when you consider the Psalm.
As you might have gathered, the aspect of the Psalm that grabs my attention presently is that of the green pastures. Very simple image. Being made to lie down in them suggests the best place for them to rest. The best place for them to be restored. Sometimes the imagery to me is one of tranquillity, but either way it is one of safety. It’s a safe place for restoration. It’s safe because it’s space the shepherd has deliberately chosen for rest for the sheep. It’s safe because he has made it so.
We don’t have to worry or fret because the shepherd has ensured this is safe space. There in the wide open we are able to relax and enjoy the environment and be served right there.
As I dwell on that image I also recognise that now the promise of green pastures is not primarily about a physical location, helpful though that can be. The promise is relational even as another shepherd invites us to come to Him if we are weary and heavy laden to find rest in Him. His presence within us as we find ourselves in Him can usher in that safety to be and rest in Him.
This quality is so crucial in a day and age where finding that rest appears so distant. It is a quality, however, that is available if we just believe in the good shepherd who cares for His sheep.
Not only that, but those of us who have found rest in Him get to share with others the good news of the peace and rest to be found in this good shepherd. Not only sharing the good news, but demonstrating it as the peacemakers He calls us to be. Through our Christ-centred character we too can be ambassadors of this Kingdom of Peace where there are plenty of green pastures in which people can find rest.
Thank God for the good shepherd who makes us lie down in green Pastures.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden