He Leads Me Beside Quiet Waters

Sheep are not only defenseless, sheep can also have nasty temperaments.

What do I mean by that? In a book called, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”, Phillip Keller describes how when sheep are led to waters to drink, the sheep will not only drink but will get in the water to rile up the dredge and the silt. Soon, the water is no longer good to drink. So, even when the sheep are led to the waters, they must be kept from riling up the waters so that other sheep can drink as well.

The word for “lead” is the Hebrew word nahal. It means, not only to lead or guide, but specifically to lead or guide to a watering place in order to refresh.

There is a refreshing that can only be quenched by the shepherd. We don’t possess it. We can only be led to it. Only the shepherd can lead us to it.

A refreshing that can only come from the Good Shepherd.

The shepherd will lead the sheep to a safe place to drink and be refreshed. And the shepherd will use his staff to keep any sheep from riling up the waters so all his sheep can drink.

There’s a hunger and a thirst for meaning and purpose. There is nothing in the created world that can satiate this hunger and thirst. Only the shepherd can satiate this hunger and thirst.

Follow your shepherd. Trust his leading. Follow him.

Oh, yeah. And don’t mess it up for others. This refreshing is to be shared with all God’s sheep.

He Makes Me Lie Down

“He makes me lie down in green pastures…” (Psalm 23:2).

Have you ever wondered why the LORD who is the good shepherd makes his sheep lie down? That doesn’t sound very loving…making, forcing, coercing sheep to do something.

When God was handing out abilities while creating the animals in the animal kingdom, sheep got the short straw.

  • Eagles got the ability to fly and incredible eyesight
  • Rabbits received amazing hearing
  • Dogs have a keen sense of smell
  • Lions and Tigers received fangs
  • Bears received massive strength and claws
  • Rams received horns
  • Deer received amazing agility and speed
  • Sheep? They bleat

Sheep are slow. They have terrible hearing, poor eyesight, and a terrible sense of smell. They have neither brute strength, horns, claws, nor fangs. Sheep are as defenseless and hapless as an animal can get.

Sheep bleat.

This makes sheep incredibly nervous animals. They are on edge all the time. They have to be if they are going to make an escape. By the time predators are upon them, it’s almost too late.

Because they are nervous animals, sheep will never lay down unless they feel totally secure. Sheep will die from anxiety than rest. Only when they are secure in the watch of a good shepherd will they lay down.

And even then, there are times when sheep are sheep. In such times, the shepherd makes the sheep lie down because without proper rest, sheep will die.

Friends, the LORD is your shepherd. No matter what you are facing today, you can rest in your shepherd because your shepherd is good, kind, and loving. He is your shield and rampart. He is your protector and guide. Your security isn’t in you. You are incapable of providing peace. Your security and peace is given to you by your shepherd.

So, bleat away. Just rest assured that your shepherd’s got your back.

I Lack Nothing

“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1).

The way most of us learned the 23rd psalm is, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want,” and not “I lack nothing.”

The Hebrew word that is in question is “chaser”. The way to pronounce this word is khaser – ch/kh is guttural, and not chaser as in one who chases after something or someone. This word means to lack, to need, to be lacking.

Because the LORD is my shepherd, I will never be in a position of lack or need because the LORD, my shepherd, provides me with everything I need to thrive and succeed. My shepherd provides me with shalom. Shalom literally means peace, but it means so much more than our modern day usage of peace. The peace that God gives us can only be achieved when all that we need to live the abundant life is present.

This is why Jesus says, “I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Here’s what this means.

God has given me in the twenty-four hour day all the time I need to live the abundant life. All the time I need for a full night’s sleep, time for rest and relaxation, the material, the relational, the spiritual resources I need to live the abundant life. EVERYTHING that I need for the abundant life, God has already given to us.

If this is the case, how come so few of us live like this? How come so many of us are tired all the time, lacking energy, time, funds all the time? If we have everything we need for the abundant life how come so many of us are living a life of lacking and scarcity?

That’s a great question.

Here’s the reason: because we keep adding unnecessary junk to our day. We add unnecessary TV time, junk food time, not exercising time, not spending time with God time, chasing after unnecessary goals, ungodly dreams, and riches.

No one forces us to add the junk. We choose it. Isn’t that crazy?

So, take a look at your life. What is there that needs some UN-CHOOSING today? God has already given us everything we need for the abundant life. What needs to be taken out today so that abundant life is a reality for you?