He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters (PSALM 23:2 Esv).
This shepherd is truly a sheep whisperer. He is not forcefully making the sheep lie down. He is not a drill sergeant who sends the fear of God into them unless they obey. Rather, he is creating the conditions in which true rest can occur.
Before sheep can consider resting, they must have their greatest anxieties solved: they cannot be afraid, hungry, in conflict with other sheep, or bothered by insects. When the shepherd has resolved these problems and worries, the sheep can easily be led into rest. What a powerful shepherd we follow. God has his eye on the details of our lives and rids us of worry, worms, starvation, and strife. When he rights our conditions, he rests our positions.
52 Weeks Through the Psalms
Our good shepherd, after providing for our needs, also then prepares for our rest. We can “lie down in green pastures” —lush pastures entirely satisfied. We are full from his provision, content with his presence, ready for rest. Sadly, many Christians never find the kind of satisfaction in their good shepherd that allows them to fully rest in his presence. Rather, they tend to be spiritually restless, looking for greener grass, forgetting that only the grass provided from our shepherd truly satisfies.
Come, follow the good shepherd as he leads you beside the still waters. Allow him to bring you to green pastures where you will find true rest.
James Merritt. 52 Weeks Through The Psalms Devotional. Harvest House Publishers. Eugene, Oregon, 2018.