Green pastures and quiet waters…Ahh!
So far, David has given us a beautiful picture of God’s GRACE in Psalm 23. But if he ended his song here, I think there would be an incompleteness, an emptiness to David’s solution for bad days. (Actually, God’s solution for bad days, given to David. Just to keep God-breathed straight in our minds.)
God’s GRACE is beyond remarkable and I…we…don’t deserve an ounce of it. But, what earthly good is this GRACE if nothing is done about all the wounds we incur out on the battle field of life.
Think of a sheep, a wayward sheep. Said sheep probably has mulitple cuts and bruises because it wandered into rocky areas or a briar patch. This wayward sheep may have a matted coat for lack of proper grooming from the shepherd, since it is a wayward sheep and hasn’t been in the shepherds care for some time. It’s probably hungry because sheep are actually really picky about what they eat and so it wouldn’t have eaten in a nasty muddy field or dried up marsh. And, maybe, it would be thirsty since most water sources are not quiet, but rather boisterous and loud and a haven for wild animals that would love to eat said wayward sheep. And, maybe, said wayward sheep has been hiding for days and doesn’t dare to sleep because a big ole’ bear got a whiff of it a few days ago and the dumb bear just won’t leave the water source!
Now think of a shepherd who goes out looking for this wayward sheep and finds it. Yay! Wahoo! Such a lucky sheep!
Well, this sheep may feel lucky and even thankful at first. But what if the shepherd just plopped it down in the green pasture, sorta close to the water, but then just walked off without a word? What if the shepherd didn’t do anything about the cuts and bruises or the matted coat or the now “scardy cat” sheep who won’t go near any water? Just what kind of condition is this poor sheep in that is hungry, thirsty, tired, has open wounds oozing out puss and a matted coat, even in a green pasture by quiet water?
Said sheep is not doing very good and probably won’t do very good until the shepherd helps it because all of the self effort of the sheep is just not enough to overcome all that has happened to it. Life has just been too hard and it is just a dumb sheep!
BUT, don’t worry! No self-respecting shepherd would ever allow any of his sheep to suffer with hunger or thirst or lack of rest or refuse to clean and bind all wounds or to wash and bathe and groom each and every one of his sheep, especially the wayward ones.
And neither will the God of the Universe, The Shepherd! That is why God doesn’t just leave me in the green pasture by the quiet water where His GRACE resides. He “Restores My Soul”!
He gives me everlasting water and the bread of life! He gives me rest from all my burdens. He binds up my broken heart and pours His soothing healing oil over every open wound.
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19
This song is far from over! “He restores my soul!”