Psalm 23: 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 
I always thought that if sheep just had some green plants to munch on and water they would be living well. It turns out it isn’t quite that simple. Sheep will only drink from still water. If there is a fast-moving stream, even if it is good, clean water, they won’t drink it. Sheep will settle for less than pure water. They will drink from feces contaminated mud puddles unless the shepherd guides them to the clean pure water.
We humans often do the same, we settle for contaminated spiritual water unless God shows us what is good. John 7: 37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Only the Lord Jesus can quench the spiritual thirst of men by giving them His living water.
For sheep to lie down in pasture and ruminate on their food, they must be free from the following four things:
- They must be free from fear, especially the fear of predators. The presence of the shepherd and his protection will calm the sheep. The same is true for us. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
- The sheep must be free from conflict or in-fighting with other sheep. Sheep have a social order and will pick on each other. Proverbs 23: 17 Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord. We will have peace when we keep our eyes on the Lord and not on other people.
- The sheep must be free from insect pests. They are prone to infestations of the eyes, ears, and nose that cause unrest. Today, thanks to veterinary medicine, there are treatments. Back in the time of David, shepherds would often pour (anoint) oil olive on the heads of the sheep to repel insects. It is only God who can give us rest from spiritual antagonists.
- Sheep must be free from hunger. Sheep will chew plants down to the roots and destroy a pasture unless the shepherd rotates them through different fields. If sheep are hungry, they will continue to search for food and not rest. We need to seek the spiritual food that fills and satisfies our hunger. Matt. 5: 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—they will be filled.
We like the sheep need the same four things to rest and God can provide all of them because He continues to be the good Shepherd. Which of the four things do you need the most? Ask God, your Shepherd and He will answer. To hear more about David and this Psalm, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/david-and-his-songs-the-early-years/the-lord-is-my-shepherd
The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society.