“I will give you peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid.” Leviticus 26:6
followed by extreme (in our opinion) cold temperatures. We knew in advance that they were coming so most of us were plenty prepared. But the one thing I wasn’t prepared for was being forced to lie down.
This morning I did my best to get some things done around the house, but I know more than started and everything inside me was screaming, “this is wrong”. At about the same time my husband came back in from shoveling snow holding his back. Yesterday he shoveled snow for an hour with no adverse effect. Today he shovels for 15 minutes and his back is yelling, “surrender”. It became pretty obvious, pretty quickly that today was to be a day of rest. But what if I didn’t want to?
If we open to Psalm 23 we will find one of the most memorized Psalms of all time. It opens with, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…” my friends, our Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd who knows his own and his own sheep know him. (John 10:14) and as any good parent knows there are times when your kids are exhausted, but would never admit it. It is in those times that against your child pleas to stay up, you make them lie down.
Because it is good for them.
In today’s society we celebrate the espresso drinking overachiever who toils endlessly to earn the money to buy that next best thing. Or even to buy that next better thing in order to feel like they’re keeping up with the Joneses. But here’s the problem, we spend all our youth and health to accumulate wealth. Only to turn around and spend all that wealth to regain our youth and health. What’s the point? Why not just take a step back and keep our youth and health and stress less about the wealth that can’t buy youth or health.
The Lord makes us lie down in green pastures because He knows what’s best for us. And its not keeping up with the Joneses. It’s taking the time to stop trying to get things done and just be still for a day, a moment. Let’s embrace the power of a pause. Take a breath and a glimpse around the room at everything he has blessed you with. A family; crazy and messy, yes. But a family who loves you and thinks enough of you that when you come out of your locked bedroom (because you needed 20 minutes away, just 20 minutes) they come running across the room with arms flung wide screaming, “Mommy I missed you!”
Take the time to appreciate the snow clothes strewn about, looking like someone melted right there on the floor and think about the shivering gigglers that melted out of them. Breathe in the beauty of, if only for a day, living inside a snow globe.
Yesterday while typing out Psalm 139, verse 16 caught me off guard. “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” First of all, the fact that God has written in His book about ME. How cool is that!?! The best selling author of all time writes about me. Dude, that’s just awesome!
Oh, but wait, it gets better! Not only does He write about me, He actually forms the days for me! He doesn’t form me to fit into the days, no. He forms the days to fit me and my needs. And He forms them in such a way that no matter what happens in that day its good for me. (Romans 8:28)
My friend, He formed this day for you. Please don’t let it pass by without taking notice of the beauty in it, planned just for you. If just for a moment, be His sheep and heed his voice to lie down in green pastures He has prepared for you. Munch on some tender green bits of the crazy life that tastes so sweet that it must be savored for the moment before you take the next bite.
Taste and see that He is the Good Shepherd.
Philippians 4:5-7 ” the Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, with guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Isaiah 7:9 ” if you are not firm in face, you will not be firm at all.”
Psalm 23 ” the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul, He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, & I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
John 10:10-18 ” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am The Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who did not own the sheep, sees the wolves coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am The Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, 1 shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have athority to lay it down, and I have a thority to take it up again. This charge I have received from My Father.”
Romans 8:26-30 ” likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the Saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son, in order that we might be the first born among many brothers. And to those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.”
Psalm 46:8-11 ” Come, behold the works of the Lord, how He has brought desolations on the earth. He makes Wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the chariots with fire. ‘Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’ The LORD of hosts is with us the God of Jacob is our fortress.”