He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
Psalm 23:2 (ESV)
Once David became king of Israel he sought to do good to the house of Saul for the sake of Jonathan Saul’s son. He was told that Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth who lived in Lo-debar. Mephibosheth was crippled in both feet. David had Mephibosheth brought to Jerusalem and restored to him all the land of Saul and Mephibosheth ate at the king’s table like one of the king’s sons (2 Samuel 9).
The kindness David (known as a shepherd of Israel; 2 Samuel 5:2) displayed toward Mephibosheth is a picture of the kindness the LORD our shepherd has displayed toward us. Lo-debar, the place where Mephibosheth was living before he was brought to Jerusalem, means pastureless. David brought Mephibosheth, a cripple, from a place of no pastures and, so to speak, made him to lie down in green pastures; a place of safety and provision.
God does the same for us when he is our shepherd. Jesus said, I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9 ESV) In Psalm 23 the word pasture also means a home, habitation, house or a pleasant place. When the LORD is our shepherd he takes us, crippled as we may be, from an unpleasant place (enslaved to sin) and makes us a home in a pleasant place (free from sin), abundantly satisfied with safety and provision. Jesus promised us, In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2 ESV) Even though we may die not a hair on our head will perish (Luke 21:10-19).
All of us “crippled” souls need a place of rest. The words “lie down” in Psalm 23 seem to indicate that this pleasant place we find in Christ is a place of rest. Jesus said, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “I am so weak that I even need God’s help to enable me to lie down, but “He maketh me to lie down.” Yes, the rest of the soul is so hard to attain that nobody ever does reach it except by the power of God. He who made the heavens must make us to lie down if we are really to rest. What delightful rest it is when we lie down in his pastures, which are always green! Did you ever find them dry? Our Shepherd makes us not only to feed, but so to feed that we lie down in the midst of the pastures. There is more than we can eat, so the Lord makes a couch of it for us.”
You might say, that in Christ, our souls can sit down and take a load off. Our Good Shepherd has not left us in Lo-debar. We can say with the Psalmist, Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalms 116:7 ESV)
Are you resting in the Good Shepherd?
Scriptures for meditation: