He Makes Me Lie Down in Green Pastures Psalm 23
The shepherd leads his sheep out from the fold and maybe before too long he has them lay down in green pastures. The may be impatient, eager to move on, want to be active, they may not even want to rest. But the shepherd knows what is ahead, what kind of terrain it is. There may be no water ahead, there may be dangers that only he knows about, maybe a ravine or a narrow mountain track were they could slip if they are too tired or it may be too late in the day and they may slip and fall. The climb ahead may too tough for them at the moment, or there may be a place ahead were robbers are or caves with wild animals, predators, hiding in them, ready to pounce on them and devour them. If the listen to him and rest they will be reinvigorated for the journey ahead. The shepherd is wise, kind and thoughtful, interested in their welfare. The grass may look greener on the other side, you may want to change church, go to a different place only to find it was better were you were. He is a good shepherd and interested in the sheep of his pasture. He has your safety, your comfort our care in mind. He can see much further than ahead than you, you may not know what is happening but He knows the end from the beginning, He is Alpha and Omega. He plans the way ahead for us, knows the steps we should take. He wants to bring us to green pastures, the place of rest and security.
When a hurricane or storm comes it can alarm us. Particularly if the electricity, water or gas is cut off. We are left in the dark and outside the trees are snapping in half or uprooted like matchsticks, roofs are blown off, the windows and doors of our house creek, cars blown of the road, homes flooded, it can be devastating. things are cast miles away, we looe things even loved ones.
Some people’s lives are like this in the midst of a storm or discouraging circumstances the loss is great. The storm rages all around them. They can hear the sounds of the crashes, see the devastation and wonder will their spiritual house fall down? Or how much damage they will sustain. Life is horrible for them. They wonder will they ever recover? Peter says the Lord continually protects you 1 Pet. 1:5.
The Good Shepherd knows and cares for his flock? Did he not suffer? Did he not face the storm? Did he not cry out to the Father? Did He not trust the Father in obedience and faith Did He not win over the circumstances? He knows how to suffer and how to cast or throw his care upon God. He is our example follow the Shepherd.
Today our world is so busy, we are living in an age of rush and turmoil. Life is hectic and we are much too busy to rest. The demands of daily life are severe. Many of us are exhausted mentally stressed and physically ill. We run here and there, children to school, then on to work, then collect the children from school, then home, after dinner we rush them off to church organisations, to a club, to practice, a telephone call from a family member or person seeking help, it is endless. On the other hand some of us think we are indispensable and the work will fall apart without us, wrong! Sometimes it is just as hard to hold some folk back as it is to persuade others to go forward. Sometimes young people want to move or change things too quick only later to find out older people had a good point. Sometimes we want to run ahead without good sound advice. We need to come aside and rest a while in his green pastures. We need to take time out to be with the Lord. He wants us to rest physically, spiritually mentally and emotionally. Come ye apart before you come apart. Isaiah said, “In quietness shall be thy strength.” He also says “Be still and know that I am God.”
The Real Restoration Movement
First, “He maketh” that is by gentle persuasion. He gently persuades you or else he will have to touch you in “the hollow of your thigh”, so to speak, to hinder you from running headstrong in your own way.
Second, they are green pastures not barren places. He brings us to places of rest and quietness. He wants to have communion with him and listen to him and enjoy his presence.
Third. “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” “Wait on the Lord be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say on the Lord.” Ps. 27:14. Submit to him. You need lie down and rest. This world is full of pressure, of troubles, of people who want to use you and abuse you who are wolves and other wild animals trying to influence you and feed on you even kill you spiritually. Society is rushing headlong to destruction. God knows best. “He makes me liedown…” when I need to. God has my best interest in mind. When we lie down the Shepherd gives us security and protection. We must not stray away from the shepherd, he keeps an eye on us. If we do wander off we may get into danger, or trouble and get hurt, or lost and he will have to leave the ninety nine and seek the one that was lost.
Fourth. Resting give you strength. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” Isa. 40
Fifth , it is here “he restoreth my soul.” It can mean converting the soul, “The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul” the faint hearts and tired bodies, restoring the one who has gotten too far from him, David prayed the Lord would “restore unto him the joy of my salvation.” Ps 51:12, it can mean restoring from disorder and decay Ps. 80:19, restoring from sorrow and affliction Ruth 4:15, and restoration from death as Elijah restored the life of the child 1 Kings 17:21-22.
Sixth. Green pastures. Sheep need to graze. God provided a pasture with rich grass for the sheep to eat, and grow strong. God made David lie down in the green pasture, in the rich pasture he rested and revived. God gave David the best possible place to rest that there was.
God cares about each of us and wants us to rest. He wants us to stop rushing around, stop panicking, and enjoy communion and fellowship with him. He wants to come in and fellowship with us, we need to open the door. Who is pushing you? What is driving you? Let him lead you. We need to take time out and rest in the Lord. God really want us to rest.
“He (the Lord) makes me to lie down in green pastures,” the “green pastures” are the spiritual places we live and move if “the Lord is our Shepherd.” When Jesus is our Shepherd, he provides for us physically and spiritually. He searches out green pastures in the barren hills and valleys and dry terrain.
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures,” He wants us to rest “He makes me to LIE DOWN……” He wants to lie down so that He can feed us in a place of peace and rest. Because the predators wish to attack us and we are defenceless and at their mercy the Shepherd protects us and we can lay down in confidence.
The sheep are nervous and aware there are dangers but they are not thinking about the enemy all the time. So it is with the Christian who is in a spiritual battle daily. He watches and is careful, but does not worry, he casts all his care on the Lord. The enemy is always looking for a chink in the armour, a time and place to attack us. Satan’s attack, theologically with false doctrine, church problems, physically, mentally with worry and fears, accusations, condemnation, emotionally with guilt. However we have a Shepherd who can deal with all of these and he can keep us in peace, safety and security. He is the awesome Warrior, the King of the Ages, the Lord God Almighty. We must have faith in his promises: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” “When you go through the waters I will be with you…” “When thou lie down, thou shall not be afraid: yea, thou shall lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” (Prov. 3:24). “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makes me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8). “And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.” (Isaiah 65:10). “For thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.”
The shepherd lives with the sheep every day. He watches over us, supplies our daily needs, comes after the one that was lost, seeks out the one who fell down a ditch. If they are scattered he will go after them and bring them together again. He will feed them on the best. He binds them up when they are wounded. (Ezek. 34:11-16)
The Good Shepherd of Isaiah 40
Isaiah 40:1-2 –The Good Shepherd is the Great Comforter, “Comfort!” Isaiah opens with a cry of “Comfort, comfort my people.” This is a deeply emotional word meaning ‘console,’ concern and pity. He has been talking from chapters 1-35, about Israel’s spiritual decline, the disobedient sheep, and the consequences. God as a Shepherd of Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem still loves them deeply. The people went into exile and captivity because of their spiritual adultery. But God heard their cry out in exile and was gracious to them as here in Isaiah 40:1-2 (Ezra 9:6-8; Neh. 1:5-10; 9; Daniel 9). Here Isaiah is speaking to the remnant, those who survived the awful ordeal of captivity. He wants to comfort and console them, to announce to them their forgiveness. Comfort is repeated twice (40:1) to balance the double punishment for sin. God is the one who shows mercy (40:2).
Sin can shake us up and destroy our lives and relationship with God. We need to hear the comforting words of the Good Shepherd “comfort, comfort, ye my people.” When you lie down in the comfort of the green pastures, when life is difficult, when things go wrong, when the road is too rough we need Christ our shepherd to bring comfort. He wants to forgive us, to protect us, to provide for us. We are to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
40:3-5 – The Good Shepherd Provides a Highway in the Desert. The Lord can make a way in the wilderness that we may be going through (40:3). It is here we return to His leadership as Israel in the wilderness. He will come to our rescue, He will smooth road for us (40:4, 35:8-10). His presence brings God’s glory (40:5).
Life can bring many trials, dangers, snares, heartaches, and difficulties. They are like deserts in our lives. We can end up in the desolate place of the desert. When we get our lives right with Him He provides a smooth road out. It is the Messiah’s Highway of Holiness Himself (35:8).
Sometimes the Lord places you in the desert to test your faith and give you strength to go on. He is bringing you to something better. He wants you to glorify him in it. “Through it all, through it all, I have learned to trust in Jesus , learned to trust his word.” He is testing you like preious gold heated up seven times to get the dross off. You will be a better person after the testing. When the desert times come get lose to the shepherd. Fix your eyes on him. Ask him what he wants you to learn.
40:6-9 – The Shepherd and the Word. God’s word is sure the “Word of our God stands” as utterly reliable (40:8; 25:1). It has eternal value. We can be sure the gospel when believed will bring salvation (40:9). The people of God were they custodians of the message(Genesis 28:14; John 4:22), when the Messiah finished the work on the Cross (“It is finished”), He commissioned His Church to deliver the message to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15).
There are battles to be fought against those who corrupt or deny the Bible those who say it has errors in it. If we cannot trust the Word of God, then we cannot trust its message of salvation through Christ. It is fully inspired, and inerrant no error in it.
40:10-11 – The Shepherd is the Sovereign Lord. Sovereign Lord is ‘adonay YHWH,’ Master or Lord is used only of God, and it emphasizes his greatness, ultimate power, and rule (a strong, muscular man (Exodus 6:6; Psalm 79:11). YHWH is the personal name of God, it links his Power and Love, transcendence and intimacy. What a mighty God we serve, angels adore him, bow down before him, what a mighty God we serve.” His glory fills the universe. He is the tender and loving shepherd. He pursues us for a close relationship. (Psalm 23; John 10:11).
Our Shepherd is unique, he stands alone. No other can give you the green pastures, the comfort, the peace and contentment He can give. He is almighty and allpowerful, the mountains melt at his powerful Word. The demons flee from him, the heaven’s sake at his command. Trust him to kill the giants before you, to melt that mountain you face, to deal with your enemies.
The Shepherd Creator Gives us Comfort. Isa 40: 12-26
40:12-17 – He is the great Strongman Shepherd (40:12-17; Job 38-39). He reveals the wonders of His creation. Consider the universe, its immensity and its complexity. The galaxies, the wonder of creation, the laws of nature, the many species of fish, animals, insects, birds, the variety and colour it is immense! They all speak of him “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of his hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). If you look, listen and think you will see his power and wisdom. That’s our Shepherd. God wants to reason with us, to teach us, instruct and guide us. (Proverbs 1:1-7).
40:15-20 – The Shepherd is Incomparable.” To whom shall ye liken me.” The nations are a drop in a bucket they are small compared to the greatness of God (40:15, 17). There are not enough magnificent cedars of sufficient to burn an offering the size the Lord deserves (40:16). Twice we are asked, “To whom or to what will you compare Him?” (40:18, 25). We have nothing as awesome to compare him with. Our mind cannot comprehend his greatness, we have no adequate words to describe him. When men make an image of God is futile and ridiculous, he is too awesome, no one knows what he looks like (40:19-20). Idol makers make fragile gods that can fall and break or if made of wood can be burnt but our God is a consuming fire. Our god weighs out the heavens and He is so huge they only fit in the palm of his hand. (40:21-22). Idolatry, or trust in men and governments, will not save us but the God of creation can. (40:26; Romans 1:20).
40:21-26 – The Shepherd is the Creator. Isaiah says creation demonstrates God’s greatness. He “made all things, sustains all things, rules all things (v. 21-25). God did create “bara” means “make something out of nothing,” or “to bring it into being, into existence.” (Genesis 1-2), Only God can manufacture the material universe and set natural process in motion, its laws, the complex mathematical calculations, the life on earth and rule it (Col. 1:16-20). He alone shapes the baby in the womb “Ps 139.” Only he creates a soul. Only he sets in motion the galaxies, to give time, and our season, our oxygen, our food. Acts 14 Only he can give eternal life. Only he is sinless and can provide forgiveness for us, through the sacrifice of his Son on the Cross at Calvary. Only he can raise the dead back to life. (John 10). Only he can create a new heaven and earth. .
He controls everything. You do not. You don’t know what a day will bring forth. You can’t stop the rain or make the sun to shine. You are too small, just a sheep. You need him to handle everything life throws at you. You are a helpless sheep. Stop wandering, stop relying on yourself for every responsibility and expectation that is before you? When are you going to run to the Lord and cast your cares on him (1 Peter 5:8)?
The Comforting Shepherd Saviour 27-31
This great shepherd has time for you and me our way is not hid from Him. (40:27). God is the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is wearynever weary (40:28).
Vs 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Trust Him and He will give you strength to go on in spite of the difficulties. (40:29-31; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
Resting in the Great Shepherd
As you live in him, He enables you to be strengthened and go on by his power. You have access to divine ultimate power and strength found only in Christ Jesus. Colossians 2:6-7, 9-10. We rest in the finished work of Christ as Lord and Saviour. He gives us strength for today. Some of the Lords people go through very difficult times, times of testing of their faith. Others may Have little trouble or sickness in life. Others have doubts and find it difficult to trust the Lord. Others lean on our own understanding, instead of in Jesus Himself. Faith is simply trusting it rests on the object or person outside ourselves. Faith believes what Jesus says. When we rest in him we believe he is in control. To lie down in green pastures is to rest in him. You “Cast all your care on him because he careth for you.” You may be tossed about by your emotions, or be going through a storm in life, you may have struggles, but you continue to rest in him and believe he will make it turn out or your good. (Rom. 8:28). He is your shepherd, you belong to him. Life and circumstance may change and fluctuate but “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Heb. 13:8). He is the faithful Shepherd. You can rest on him, depend upon him. He loves you so much he gave his life for you.