8. The Serenity of His Rest: “beside the still waters” (v. 2d)

March 8

Our Pastor, Dr. Randy Wallace, used the 23rd Psalm to talk with the preschoolers last Sunday night and it reminded me how versatile this psalm is...children memorize it and yet it is one of the most used verses at the funerals. It is perhaps why Phillip Keller, a shepherd and author of A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, says, “It is no accident that God has chosen to call us sheep. Our mass mind (or mob instincts), our fears and timidity, our stubbornness and stupidity, our perverse habits are all parallels of profound importance. Yet despite these adverse characteristics Christ chooses us, buys us, calls us by name, makes us His own and delights in caring for us.” Today we look at the still waters.

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.

     Restful waters. The waters are not just still, they are what I call resting waters. In nearly every other location in the Old Testament, the word used for “still” is translated “rest.” (see blueletterbible.org). 

     Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30). If I am uptight about things of this world, I need to remember that is not God's will for me. 

     This is not just a New Testament revelation. God has always wanted me to be at rest. One day a week He calls me to rest. After all, He created Adam and Even in a garden! The same word for still waters is also used in Isa. 32:17 “the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance forever. And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” Our dwelling place is to be at rest; our habitation is to be peaceful. 

     Isaiah 28:12 says, This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest and this is the refreshing...  but then the verse ends with yet they would not hear.O stubborn sheep, hear this today! O foolish lamb, listen to My Shepherd and follow His leading to those restful waters. 

     Relaxing Waters. Sheep will not go to rapidly running water. Even if their short legs could help them in swimming, their wooly coats would soon weigh them down. The phrase, “The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you” is seen in the fact that a good shepherd will gently lead his sheep alongside calm waters. 

     Refreshing Waters. Neither will my Shepherd allow me to drink from stagnant, putrid waters. Without a strong sense of smell, a sheep will not care from what waters he drinks. Keller writes, “When sheep are thirsty, they become restless and set out in search of water to satisfy their thirst. If not led to the good water supplies of clean, pure water, they will often end up drinking from the polluted pot holes.” 

    Do you have a spiritual sheep nose? When thirsty do you go to just any water? Let the Shepherd lead you to resting, relaxing, refreshing waters.

“Shepherd, I am Thine, Thou dost befriend me,
be the guardian of my way;
Keep Thy flock from sin, defend me;

seek me when I go astray.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Hear O hear me when I pray. 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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