08:”The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 23: 1-4
In at number 8 are these few verses from the Psalms. Now I realise that this is actually a lot of the bible to memorise but you will be surprised at what the limbic system in your medial temporal lobe is capable of! I know, that sounded smart, didn’t it? (I google it!)
SO why are these verses good to memorise and have loaded up ready for quick retrieval? Well I think this is firstly about order and priorities in our lives. We are left with no doubt who is in charge in this Psalm and who needs the guidance, rest, safe travel and support through what can be dark places and times in our lives.
The Lord is the Shepherd and he guides, his presence in our lives can drive out fear. Even in his direction and rebuke we can find comfort. What does that mean in real life?
Well, what it means is something you might not like and welcome initially. You see God is Abba Father he welcomes us and invites us into his presence, his work in our lives is right, true and perfect. We can praise him and worship him because he is worth all of that and more. But, sometimes the valley is dark and the fear is real and sometimes, he makes us rest, lie down in green pastures.
The Psalm doesn’t say he invites us to lay down and rest, or suggest it as a good idea, he makes it happen. This is not an issue of free will, the Psalmist was in relationship with God, he had invited God, his shepherd, to do what he desired and have free reign! So the Lord made him rest.
There will be times, moments and even seasons in our lives as Christians where we are made to rest. We battle, fight, wrestle and push but a time comes when we can do nothing but yield, and its that moment I think we are getting a glimpse of with this Psalm.
So what happens when you find that God has made you rest? You find green pasture, you find quiet waters and a refreshing for your soul.
Listen, I am walking with friends who have been hit with the most life crippling situations. They have fought, wrestled and done all they can, but hidden in the storm is rest. It’s a rest that the world can’t understand because it can look like peace. How can peace be present in such a storm? How can you be like this whilst cancer or death or hurt is raging all around you? Perhaps this is just one of those incredible things that make us marvel at how God works, and whilst we don’t really understand it, it happens.
For me, this is a great bible verse to memorise.
Image Credit: Ben White