He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
Begin your day by reviewing v1. Then move on to today's verse. It's another short one, and another of the very familiar ones from this passage.
One thing I learned about this verse recently.....
Here in America, we visualize completely the wrong thing when we think of green pastures. At least, I know I did! I've always thought of it as these beautifully lush meadows, bursting with life.
But that's not the picture the Israelites had, and it's not what the psalmist meant.
It's hard to describe in such a short space/time (and even for me to remember it all exactly!) but the green meadows were actually rocky hills, and with the very small amount of moisture available in the area, small tufts of grass grow by these small rocks, and the Shepherd leads His sheep to those tufts of grass, and every day the sheep eat them, and there is just enough for what they need for that day.
In other words - God gives us what we need for the day, or even for the moment, when we need it. This verse is not promising us a happy-go-lucky life with no problems along the way. No, it's promising us that God will provide what we need when we need it, and not before - if we follow Him! The grass is sparse and we can't find it on our own. But we can trust Him, because He was faithful yesterday and the day before that and He will continue to be faithful today and every day.
And I think that's even more beautiful than what I originally imagined. Don't you?
(from the Follow the Rabbi lectures by Ray Vanderlann with Focus on the Family. Just googled it and found this video- you can see exactly what he's talking about, it drives the point even closer to home! It's amazing - I highly encourage you to take the time - about 4 mins - to watch it.)
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And the still waters?
Again, it's not referring to a beautiful placid river running through lush meadows that you lounge beside. It's about God leading you to water that refreshes and does not lead to death.
Repeat this verse over and over throughout your day, whenever you have a moment when your hands are busy but your mind is idle, and remember - God will give you what you need for this moment.
LeRoy Eims on the importance of Scripture memory: "I think two of the master strokes of the devil have been to convince people he doesn't exist, and that Scripture memory is only for children. He remembers the humility of defeat when Jesus Christ, who was tempted in all points like as we are, met him with the Word of God." (What Every Christian Should Know About Growing; p. 26-27)