Jesus, the Good Shepherd, wants to take care of us, His sheep. The shepherd meets the sheep’s needs, and they will not lack food and drink, comfort, protection, and safety. Sheep learn to associate their needs being satisfied with the shepherd. Their focus is on the shepherd, not their needs. They shall not want because the shepherd is with them. We will never lack what we need as we focus on and depend on Jesus, our Good Shepherd.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3
The shepherd blesses the sheep with nourishment and brings comfort, safety and provides green pastures and water to drink. In other words, He gives rest and refreshment. We can feel secure as we rest because our Good Shepherd is watching over us. We find safety in our Shepherd, not in our situations. It is the shepherd who leads us and makes us feel safe enough to rest. To rest, we must be free from fear, distraction, and hunger, etc.
Following the Shepherd is freeing. There is a correlation between our surrender to the care and trust of the shepherd and the rest we receive from Him. Trust and obedience brings us to rest. We aren’t always as aware of our needs as God is. We may not recognize the signals that we need to lie down in green pastures, i.e., irritability, negativity, complaining, impatience, etc.
We need to do our part when He makes us lie down in green pastures. We need to make sure we get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise frequently and adequately enough, etc. We must also spend time engaging in activities that minister to the soul and spirit and spending time engaging in pleasurable interests. It isn’t only about physical rest, but we need time for spiritual restoration and revival.
God leads us to Himself, to His living water. Still waters refer to waters that are quiet, calm, and tranquil. They are a place where we do not have to be afraid and where we can quench our thirst. Are you spending quiet time with the Good Shepherd so that He can lead and guide you as you listen to His voice?
During our quiet time with Him in prayer, worship, and meditating on His Word listening for His voice, we can get to know Him more intimately with a revelation of who He is and what He has planned for our lives. It is vital to allow Him to lead us and not be determined to follow our own plans.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10
The Good Shepherd leads us down paths of righteousness or right paths to guide us into truth. He leads us down these paths for His name’s sake, in accordance with all that His name represents, i.e., goodness, love, faithfulness, holiness, etc. His name represents His character, and God always acts according to His Character. The Lord will lead us along safe and good paths that are best suited for us and the good plans He has for us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Have you surrendered your life to Jesus, the Good Shepherd? Are you following His leading? Are you looking to Him to meet your needs and provide everything you need? Or are you trying to control your circumstances and follow your plans?
We must believe that Jesus, our Good Shepherd, can be trusted and will meet our needs. We must be willing to obey when He makes us lie down in green pastures and willing to follow Him when He leads us beside still waters. It is all about our response to His authority in our lives!
Unless we intentionally create time for renewal and rest, it will not happen. It’s in that place of rest that God can lead us beside quiet waters and refresh our souls. He knows we need to rest physically, spiritually, and emotionally!
What practical steps can you take to set aside time to be led by the Good Shepherd into places of quietness and rest? We must be willing to be led. It’s in that place of stillness and quiet where we experience the presence of the Lord in the fullness of all His love, peace, joy, etc. I want to encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Let the Good Shepherd lead you to places of rest where He restores your soul, and you experience His increased presence.
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. http://www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc. ®