He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.Psalm 23:2-3a
In this psalm David enumerates the ways in which the Good Shepherd meets our needs. The first thing He does is to meet the needs of the inner person, the basic needs that we have for nourishment within. The basic needs of a flock of sheep are grass and water. Here is the very picturesque scene of sheep bedded down in grassy meadows, having eaten their fill and now totally satisfied, and then being led by still waters. Sheep are afraid of running water; they will drink only from a quiet pool. A good shepherd, particularly in a semi-arid region such as Palestine, knows where the watering holes are. He knows where the grassy meadows are. And so he leads the sheep into places where they can rest and feed and where they can drink. The picture is one of calm and tranquility, because the basic needs of the sheep are met.
The counterpart in our lives is obvious. It is God who restores the inner person through His Word. As we feed upon the Word of God we see the Lord Jesus there. We draw upon Him, and our inner person is satisfied. The Word of God brings us, first, to the person of Christ.
Beyond the sacred page, the hymn says,
we see thee, Lord. We see Him, and we eat and drink of Him, and we discover Him to be the resource that we need. As Paul says,
Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). Our souls are restored. How? As we feed upon Him. As we come to know Him, believe what He says, and act on His word, we discover that the inner person is fed.
A Bible study I led met one evening a week in a fraternity house at Stanford University. Our basic assumption there was that the Bible is the authority. No one really taught the class; we simply opened up the Word, and the men in the group made observations. Last week a student from Austria sat in with us. He shared some of his thinking with us and made a real contribution to the group. Afterward, as we were leaving, he made this comment:
I'm so thankful I could be here tonight, because I discovered that you men have found direct access to God through this book.
Have you discovered that access? In times of deep, dire need, when we cast about for help, it is no farther away than God's Word. Everything we need to nourish the inner person is right there. As Peter says,
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Everything we need that relates to life and to living godly lives in the world is available in Him. I wonder if we are employing that resource.
Lord, thank You for Your Word. May it be to me like green pastures and still waters, leaving me fully satisfied in You.
Are we learning to find green pastures and still waters in the written Words of God. Do we see there the Good Shepherd who is our Life?