The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.
Rest or Be Made to Rest
I love Psalm 23, but there are some things I never saw before. As one of His sheep, I sometimes get off course, wear myself out, and don’t have the sense to rest, so the Shepherd sometimes has to “make me lie down in green pastures” because I often don’t know when it’s time to rest. Notice that Psalm 23:1 says He has to “make” us lie down. The other day I got so sick that I couldn’t even get out bed for nearly 24 hours. Being a bi-vocational pastor, Sunday is one of my busiest days. I was running here and there after church and went out of town, only to have another pastor not be there to meet me for a scheduled appointment. I was running myself ragged, so God said to me, “Child, you don’t have enough sense to get rest on your own, so I’m going to make sure you do.” I’m not saying God sent this illness, but He can do whatever He pleases. Being so hardheaded, I had to be knocked down to rest, and the very next day, I felt much better. When was the last time you unplugged and spent some quiet time with God? If you’re like me, it was probably a long time ago.
Even Jesus took time to be alone and rest. One time there were so many people pressing in on Him and His disciples that they didn’t even have time to eat, so Jesus told them to go off to a quiet place to rest for a while (Mark 6:31). Just after Jesus heard about John the Baptist’s death, He withdrew to a solitary place (Matt. 14:13). So even Jesus needed times to rest and unplug from the heavy demands of His grueling schedule. He was apparently so fatigued one time that He was able to sleep soundly during a fierce storm in the stern of the boat (Mark 4:38). In Jesus’ humanity, He needed to get away and rest, too. Since the God of the universe needed time to rest in His own humanity, how much more do we need to unplug and spend some quiet time with God?
God Rested on the Seventh Day
God rested on the seventh day of the week but not because He was tired after creating everything. He rested to give us an example that we should rest on one day in seven. I used to be a manager, and the district manager frequently had the staff come in on Sunday afternoons, but I told him that the staff can get more done in six days than in seven. He looked at me rather strangely, so I challenged him regarding this. I talked to the staff and told them that I had asked the district manager to give them a day of rest on Sunday. Of course, they were thrilled. I didn’t tell them they’d have to work harder to make up for it, but they actually did get more done in six days than in seven, showing that our frail human bodies need a day to rest and recuperate and to spend time in quiet fellowship with God, resting and rejuvenating. When was the last time you unplugged and spent some quite time with God?
A Closing Prayer
Father, thank You for showing us that we all need one day in seven to rest, for Jesus’ example, and for Your example after You created all things. Forgive me when I tend to ignore Your wisdom in this and for all the times I’ve not spent the quiet time with you that I need, and in Jesus’ name I pray.
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