“Do more beloved words exist?” asked Max Lucado. “Framed and hung in hospital halls, scratched on prison walls, quoted by the young, and whispered by the dying. In these lines sailors have found a harbor, the frightened have found a father, and strugglers have found a friend. Can you find ears on which these words have never fallen?”
A shepherd has a destination in mind as he takes out his flock. So does the Good Shepherd for me. The word “pastures” can also be translated as places of habitation, residences, even houses. The destined habitation for the sheep is a place which would be full of nourishment. So also is God's destination for me.
One way a shepherd will “make” his sheep lie down is to fill them full of nourishment. Often, I am anxious and do not lie down and rest in my Lord because I fail to feast on the spiritual nourishment my Shepherd has for me.
In John 6:35, Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” I am to be nourished by residing in the Word of God. Matthew 4:4 proclaims that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
The sheep feast in green, lush pastures, filled with freshly sprouted grass. For the sheep to fully digest the grass, they must consume and then rest to allow for several stages of digestion. They graze during the day and then chew their cud for digestion throughout the night. Likewise, it is not enough for my spiritual nourishment to simply feast on the Word in the day. I must put the words into practice during the dark and long nights of my spiritual journey. I must “hunger and thirst for righteousness” in order for me to be filled.
Grazing on food more easily digested than grass can cause the sheep to become bloated and even die. I need the milk of the Word but also the meat of spiritual food. Without internalizing the word, applying it and practicing the righteousness of God during hard and dark times, God’s truths will never be fully realized.
What is on your spiritual menu? Is Christ residing in you? Are you reading His Word? Is His righteousness what you hunger and thirst for?
My Shepherd, I have failed. I have longed for spiritual food that is not in your prepared pastures. I want to eat food by day but not properly apply it in the dark nights. Forgive me. Feed me in your pastureland. 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.