“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
“He maketh me to lie down The Lord does not force His saints to any prescribed course, but He impels them by the abundant provisions of His grace, and by His all wise providence.
Sheep, we are told, will never lie down so long as they are hungry, nor while they are possessed with fear. They must have ample food to satisfy their hunger, and they must be relieved of fear. The good shepherd leads his sheep into pastures of tender grass, and he drives away their enemies. The sheep feed and are satisfied, then lie down in contentment. Their wild wanderings cease. Our Saviour-Shepherd provides richly for those who faithfully follow His leadings. They find satisfaction for their souls in the pastures of God. There is no hankering after the world’s vain ways, nor need they wander about from creed to creed, nor to false cults, to find that which satisfies. “He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” “They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.” Ps. 37:19. The people of God are not dependent upon secondary causes. They shall be satisfied when the famine is on, and when the depression covers the land.
He maketh me to lie down in the midst of plenty. Some busy souls would kill themselves with activity, as if their very existence depended solely upon their own movements. Some of God’s people are on the go day and night, as if the work of the kingdom depended solely upon them. (True, Satan is pleased when he can get us into a state of ease and indifference, yet when he finds a wide awake believer whom he cannot stop he will try to run that soul to death) . Rest is as truly a part of the plan of God as work. Without rest a breakdown is inevitable. Even the Son of God was conscious of His need of rest, also gave orders to his overworked disciples to “come ye apart and rest awhile.”
It is worthy of note also that in the early stages of sainthood we must have the pleasant experiences of rest and refreshment. Nothing is here spoken of heavy blows, hard trials, and dark valleys. The young saint is hardly prepared for these experiences. Young believers are sometimes inclined to feel that they are being sorely tried when God, in His kind providence, makes them to lie down. The main thought in this connection is that of pleasantness and plenty — ample provision and pleasant rest.
Waters of Rest
“Beside the still waters.” The margin reads, “waters of rest.” What can naturally be more restful and refreshing than to camp beside a babbling brook, or a mountain stream, of clear cold water? What can be more restful and quieting to frazzled nerves than the enchanting music of such a stream? We are told that sheep will not drink where the water is ruffled, therefore the shepherd must find, or prepare, some quiet cove as the drinking place for his flock.
Quietness and rest of soul are not produced by leading the sheep of God away from all troubled waters and wild tempests. Our Saviour-Shepherd gives us peace in the midst of pain, glory while in the grip of grief, and rest in the face of raging tempests.
Drummond told of two painters, each of whom painted a picture to illustrate his conception of rest. The first chose for his scene a still, lone lake far up in the mountains.
The second spread upon his canvas a thundering waterfall with the fragile bow of a tree bending over the foam. At the fork of the branch, almost wet with the cataracts spray, sat a robin on its nest.
The first was only stagnation; the second was rest.
“There is a point of rest
At the great center of the cyclone’s force,
A silence at its secret source;
A little child might slumber undisturbed,
Without the ruffle of one fair curl,
In that strange, central calm, amid the mighty whirl.”