Psalm 23 Part 2

Psalm 23:1-6

  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
  3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
  4. Yea, 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.
  5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
  6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Let’s take a closer look at verse 2. It says, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

When we look at verse 2, we have to remember that the Lord is My shepherd. The things that He does will benefit me the rest of my life. The reason why He does these things is for my good.

Have you ever watched something on TV, where you see the person out in the desert walking and they look ahead of themselves and they find something out in the distance and when they get there it is just a mirage? They saw that small pool of water and some trees, maybe some life form, only to find out that it was just their imagination playing tricks on them.

Life’s cravings does this to us. They appear to be pools of refreshment, but instead are dry holes of disappointment and despair. The truth is the Lord sees us exhausted and spent. His first reaction is to make us lie down in green pastures. And even though we are helpless and powerless, we do not want to lie down. We want to solve our own problems. We want our way.

Life is going to throw curve balls at you that you are not ready for. If you have ever watched baseball, you know that the pitchers job is to get the batter out whatever way possible. Many times the pitcher will set the batter up. The pitcher will throw a couple of fast balls to get the batter thinking that there will be another fastball and just as that batter is thinking that, the pitcher throws a curve ball to throw the batter off course.

Life throws us curve balls that make us feel helpless and powerless. And the Lord comes along because He sees us that way and He makes us to lie down, but we don’t want to. We want to solve it our way. The shepherd is telling us, let me take this problem for you.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “28) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30) For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The Message translates it like this. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Do you ever find yourself tired and worn out from everything that life has thrown at you? Do you ever find yourself wanting to just give up? Do you ever find yourself crying and weeping uncontrollable because of all the stress in your life?

That is why God is making us lie down in green pastures. He isn’t doing this to punish us. He is wanting us to rest. It is in those green pastures He disconnects us from everything except His grace and care. By lying down we choose an active inner trustfulness in the One who takes us off our feet of independence. That is the beginning, middle and end of the Christian life: total reliance upon Him.

It is when we fully rely on Him that we find rest. It is when we fully rely on Him that we can lie down in green pastures. It is when we fully rely on Him that we can find peace and joy and love that we are craving on a daily basis.

God is the one that rescues us from the wilderness of self-destructive behavior and brings us into the green pastures where life is restored. God is our rescuer, God is our deliverer, He is our fortress, He is our shelter, He is our rock. When our storms are raging He is the peace in the boat. When we can’t take the bad news, He is the calm in that storm.

The rest of that verse says, “He leads me beside the still waters.” It is those quiet streams of His presence that quench our thirst as we drink from His word, we pray, we worship, and we do His will every day.

Have you ever been so thirsty that you could not talk or your mouth was so dry that it hurt to swallow? What do you do? You go and get a drink of water to satisfy that thirst and sometimes you don’t stop with one drink. You get more. God is the one that quenches your thirst.

How do you quench that thirst?

Try meditating on the word, try praying, how about worship, how about following His will. We shouldn’t do these things only in a crisis situation. We should be doing these things on a daily basis. He makes lie down in green pastures because He knows that I need it. He leads me beside the still waters to quench my thirst. Let Him do those things. Let go of the control that you want on your life and let Him have the control.

Don’t Quit!

If you are reading this and you are a pastor of any church I am sure that many of you at some time or another has woke up on Monday morning and wanted to turn in your resignation because of how bad you thought Sunday went.

If you are pastoring a small church of 200 or less and you have awaken on Monday morning then I know that you have felt like turning in your resignation on Monday morning. Just about any pastor has felt this way at one time or another.

The sad thing is too many pastors turn in their resignation too early. The truth is, it isn’t God’s timing, but because they are discouraged that things aren’t going the way they think it should, they decide to quit and God is just getting started with something great that is happening in their church.

I believe one of the reasons that small churches stay small is because there is no stability in leadership. The church has gone from pastor to pastor and never has a chance to do something great because the leadership won’t stick it out.

I heard a statistic that said the average stay of a small church pastor is 3 1/2 years. This is just not long enough. I believe that my congregation did not fully accept me as pastor until my 3 1/2 year mark. Pastors we have to give it time and don’t quit.

Just because your church isn’t running as many as you want it to at first does not mean that you are not successful. Just because you still feel that you are in the former pastor’s shadow does not mean that the people don’t love you. Just because the only mouth at church you are hearing is the one that barks the loudest does not mean that all the people feel the same as that person. God has placed you there for a reason and you need to stay until that reason is fulfilled. Don’t Quit!

Now I know that God truly calls some people to a particular church for a short season, but I believe that many pastors that leave after 2 or 3 years in a church are leaving prematurely.

We as pastors love to preach messages on Isaiah 40:31, but when it comes to us we get impatient waiting on God. Let me encourage you, don’t quit, God isn’t finished with you yet.

Before you surf on to any other site, please be encouraged by a video that I am sure many of you have seen. It’s from the movie Facing the Giants. It is found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fOXgn98t0Q