Day 23 - Good Rest from a Good Shepherd

Day 23 - Good Rest from a Good Shepherd

Written by: Megan Sorrow

Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    He leads me beside peaceful streams.
3   He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
4  Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
5  You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
6  Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord

Psalm 23 is perhaps one of the most famous passages of scripture we know. Often read at funerals, we get the sense of comfort we all experience when we hear these words. With themes of rest, nourishment, and security, who wouldn’t? However, I wonder if the reason we find such comfort in these words of rest is because we live our lives with a “I will sleep when I’m dead” mentality.

This Psalm is a reminder that we are as fragile as sheep who need a good shepherd to provide for us, teach us to rest, and keep us safe from the danger we often find ourselves in when we try to depend on our own strength.

David, the author of Psalm, was a teenage shepherd whose job it was to care for His father’s flock. He knew sheep. He knew how susceptible they were to dangerous attacks from enemies, like lions, bears, or thieves. He knew how easily they could wander off away from the flock if left to their own devices. He knew that without his care for their fragile bodies, they would end up destroying themselves. 

We, like sheep, are fragile beings made from the dust of the earth, yet we live like invincible machines running ourselves into the ground. We work our way into oblivion, refusing the rest we were made for and the rest that God has so graciously provided for us. We, like sheep, need a good shepherd to lead and guide us because, if we are honest, we are really bad at it. 

From the beginning of our creation in Genesis 2, we are reminded of how limited we are. God formed Man from the dust of the ground. He was intentional in the way He made us, not just because He loves us, but also to show how dependent we are on Him. In our creation, He highlights our limitations, but also His strength. It was The LORD who invited man to eat the food of the garden He had already made. It was also the LORD who invited man to rest with Him on their first day. On their first full day in the garden, God didn’t tell man to get to work. He said get to rest. 

In Exodus, we read about how God established The Sabbath for mankind. On 6 days, they were supposed to work, but on the seventh day, they were to rest. This wasn’t out of a desire to limit them or to put them in their place but for them to realize their limitations and depend on the LORD to supply what they needed. It was for their flourishing in their relationship with Him and also that they would learn to delight in His presence. 

I think a big reason we find such comfort in the words of Psalm 23 is because it sings of what we all crave. To rest and delight in the presence of our good Shepherd. We weren’t made for the pace we live at; we know this. But we are tired, and worn out, because we aren’t constantly reliant on our fragile bodies to provide for the care only our creator can give. 

The Sabbath is a beautiful gift God has given to us so that we can do as the Psalmist writes about: Intentionally Rest, Delight in God’s goodness and mercy, and experience His comfort, peace, and protection.

The Sabbath is a rhythm of life that should be experienced both daily and weekly. 
Daily, in the intentional time we set aside in our busy schedule to spend with The Lord. We do this through spending time in His word and making space to talk to God in our day. Weekly, in that we plan a day of Sabbath rest once a week. We plan in advance to enjoy God’s presence and God’s people, by trusting our God to provide for us as we rest from our work. 

The beauty of Psalm 23 is the invitation The LORD has given us to rest in Him and trust that He, our good Shepherd, has and will provide ALL that we need. 
So today, let us rest from our hurried humanity, so that we may flourish in God’s gracious divinity.

Saturday and Sunday are a great time to experience Sabbath!
What makes you love Jesus more? Is it taking a walk in nature? Is it spending time with friends and family? Is it a good nap? Whatever it is, make space for that today! Let that allow you to delight in Jesus and the gift of His presence in your life. As you do, think about how God made you to rest and rely on Him to provide all of your needs. Thank Him for all that He has done for you through Jesus, and ask Him to teach you how to delight in His presence. 

Jesus, you are my good shepherd. Thank you for the reminder in Psalm 23 of how human and fragile I am. Today I am choosing to make space in my day to rest from my humanity and delight in your goodness and mercy. Help me to experience the peace and comfort that comes from resting in your presence.