He maketh me lie down in green pastures
Today I want you to join me in saying: “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” Upon reflecting on these words I learned that sheep were not able to lie down until they were free from all fear, until they were free from friction with others of their kind.
I learned that they were not able to lie down as long as they were in need of food; as long as there was the slightest suspicion of danger from dogs, coyotes and bears, as long as they felt like they might be attacked. As long as they felt they might be attacked they stood up ready to flee for their lives. If there was conflict in the flock they were edgy, tense and restless. They were unable to lie down in peace.
Upon learning this I realized that we human beings are like sheep. So, how is it that we are enabled to say, “He makes me lie down in green pastures”? Well, green pastures just don’t happen. Green pastures were the result of the shepherds clearing rough and rocky land. Green pastures were the result of the shepherds tearing out brush, roots and stumps, seeding and planting special grains, irrigating. Green pastures were experienced because the Shepherd had done His work, had prepared the land for His sheep; assuring them of His presence they were able to lie down, in peace.
Now let me tell you how one person found himself joining the Psalmist in saying, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
A seventh-grader said it like this:
“I had just entered the seventh grade. I found myself in a class that had a brand-new teacher named Mr. Smith. I will never forget him calling me to the front of the class. I will never forget him saying, ‘Billy, come up here.’ I figured I was in trouble, though I didn’t know for what. But I did wonder why he called me. He spoke to me as he picked up my folder with my records. He looked at me and said, ‘Billy, these records tell me all kind of bad things about you.’ I hung my head in shame. But then to my utter amazement Mr. Smith tore my folder into little pieces and threw them into the wastebasket. He then said, ‘Billy, I read over your records and I don’t believe a word of what is written there.’
“It was several days later when my Sunday school class teacher asked, ‘Do any of you know of anyone like the Shepherd?’
“Hearing that question I smiled and said, ‘I experienced the Shepherd through Mr. Smith who destroyed my records and planted seeds of GRACE and LOVE in my heart. Thus letting me experience the green pastures. Thus letting me lie down in peace.’”
My prayer is that each of you will be enabled to lie down in peace and experience the green pastures.