June 24 I Monday
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” —Psalm 23:2-3
With full assurance of faith on God, David gives us four reasons why he “does not want” under the care of the Good Shepherd. Firstly, “he makes me lie down in green pastures,” reveals that God provides what we need. As a shepherd, David was keenly aware that the only way to make a sheep lie down is to satisfy its stomach because a sheep only lies down when it is not hungry. Psalm 37, written when David was an older man, states: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). David knows when it comes to what we need, the Lord is a Good Shepherd who provides for us.
Secondly, David talks about God’s provision emotionally: “He leads me beside quiet waters.” The King James Version translates that part of the verse as, “He leads me beside still waters.” Waters have a calming and soothing effect, especially still waters, which are deep waters. From this description, David paints a picture of taking time to renew and to find peace through the stillness and the depths of being alone and being alone with God. David reprises the importance of stillness before God through his words in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Thirdly, David notes that “He restores my soul” (KJV), where our needs are met not just physically but also spiritually. David emphasizes true restoration, refreshment and renewal of our soul comes from spending time alone with God. Like Psalm 62:1, David tells us, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.” When we have intimacy with God, we find true rest that comes from Him alone.
Fourthly, David talks about God’s provision morally: “He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” In other words, David is talking about our behaviour and the way we live. If we are in step with the shepherd, we are led along paths of righteousness; we love what is right, do what is right and live in a way that is right. Yet, if we are discerning the will of God but are going down a road that involves unrighteousness, we are out of the will of God, because only He leads us in paths that are morally righteous.
Ultimately, why does God guide us in paths of righteousness? David tells us that it is for His name’s sake, because this is who our Good Shepherd is: our provider, restorer and guide.
Prayer: Good Shepherd, thank You for being my provider, restorer and guide. In You alone, I shall not want; help me to walk closely with You.