"He makes me to lie down in green pastures...." Psalm 23:2 (NKJV)
I was reading psalm 23 the other day. This is one of my favourite psalms in the bible and throughout many seasons in my life, this psalm was my meditation. It is one that I can recite easily and think of often. I have a very active mind and imagination, so I tend to imagine the verses as I think of them as as I reflected over the words, I started to visualise it in my mind and when I got to verse two, He makes me lie down in green pastures, I imagined myself lying down in this beautiful field of green grass with beautiful trees scattered throughout. It was a peaceful image and one that bought a smile to my face as I reflected on God and His love for me. So, you can imagine my surprise when I did a little research and discovered that the image I had in my mind was almost the exact opposite of what David was describing.
Psalm 23 used the analogy of a shepherd with his sheep to illustrate God as the Shepherd in our lives. As His sheep, He guides and leads us along the way, however if we look at this from the lens of Ancient Israel, the scene looks very different to what I was imagining. If we look at shepherds in Israel, back during David’s time and even today, a large part of the path that shepherds herd their sheep on is rocky and rough terrain, that looks more like the picture below.
It was very much a desert of sorts that had minimal rain throughout the year, so there was a small amount of moisture in the air, however there was humidity, so between the moisture and humidity, there would be little droplets of water that fell on the rocks, and from there, little tufts of grass blades grew around the base of the rock. As the shepherds guided and led their sheep along the path, the sheep would stop and eat the little blades of grass before they kept moving to the next rock that had grass around it. This was, essentially, the shepherd leading them to greener pastures; greener pastures weren’t a field of grass but just enough grass to sustain the sheep at each point of their journey. I don’t know about you, but that sounds very much like God in my life.
I oftentimes wish that God would give me the full picture of what was going to happen in my life. I reason with God and say that if He shows me what lies ahead, at least I would know what was coming and could prepare for it. Unfortunately for me, God doesn’t work that way. He makes promises that He will faithfully fulfill, yet instead of giving us information He ask that we trust Him as He guides us there. He leads us to our own greener pastures, and sits with us while we lie down. For some of us, it is a welcome relief to reach the pasture and lie down, to be replenished, to sit in His presence. For others, God needs to make us lie down; He needs to bring us to a standstill so that we can stop and rest. So that we can see that in Him, we have all we need for right now.
And that, friends, is more than enough. We do not need to see the future because we can rest in the knowledge that the One that holds the future loves us and is for us. We can rest in our greener pastures knowing that He already knows where our next green pasture is. He knows how to get us there and He knows exactly what we will find there because He holds in all in His hands.
Leila (Lays) Halawe is a Sydney based coffee loving nonfiction writer and blogger. She has published a short devotional, Love By Devotion, and shares her views on life and faith via her blog page Looking In . You can connect with her via Facebook at Leila Halawe Author and via Twitter @LHalawe.