5. The Settling of His Refreshing: "He makes me to lie down"

Professor and Author Dr. Kyle M. Yates expressed it eloquently: “Because He loves me as the good Shepherd, I shall never want. Does He leave out anything in the world that a soul can possibly need? Every material and every spiritual need is provided for helpless, needy creatures who look to the Shepherd for such satisfactions. Only in Him can they be found.”

Parallel passages. The Shepherd satisfies me and He also settles me down. The imagery of lying down is found in other verses. Job 11:19 says “Also you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid…” Ps. 4:8 proclaims, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for only You, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”  In Isa. 17:2: “…they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.”  Eze. 34:14-15 expounds the imagery even further,  “I will feed them in a good pasture, and on the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there they shall lie in a good fold, and in a lush pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord GOD.” Also in Zeph. 3:13 speaks of God’s people,  “…for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.”

Peace. Sheep are naturally and easily frightened; it is difficult for a shepherd to make his flock to lie down in complete repose. “Lie down” literally means the folding of the legs in a reclining position. Imagine the care a shepherd has to have to make his skittish and scared sheep to be completely comfortable in lying down. A good shepherd will provide peace. Jesus makes me lie down with His peace that passes all understanding. Unlike the world’s peace (John 14:27), His peace is internal and eternal. Hebrews 13:20-21 says, “Now the God of peace, who from the dead brought our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep…may He make you complete.”

Protection. There must be safety from harm, predators, sounds and even each other. Sadly we like sheep can also need protection from each other. The Shepherd settles His sheep by providing protection. Once secure, the legs of the sheep fold down and lay down with their “bellies nestled deep in the long shoots of grass. A still pond on one side, the watching shepherd on the other…Who is in charge? The shepherd.”  (Max Lucado, Traveling Light, pg. 40).

Passion of the Shepherd. What motivates Christ to make me lie down? Matthew 9:36 says, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” His love makes me lie down. Not by force or coercion but by the immanence of His great love and compassion.

Fold your legs today and recline in His peace.
  Lie down in the shadow of the Shepherd’s protection.
    Rest in lush pastureland of His passionate love for you.

“Dear Shepherd of my soul, I am so stubborn and skittish and scared sometimes.
Thank you for making me to lie down in You. Amen.”

All this month we are looking at the most beloved psalm and the most quoted chapter in all of the Bible, the 23rd Psalm. If you would like to subscribe daily, put your email in the upper right box.


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