1 Corinthians 4
“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 in God, David gives us four reasons for why he “does not want” under the care of the Good Shepherd. Firstly, “he makes me lie down in green pastures.” This reveals that God materially provides for what we need. As a shepherd, David was keenly aware that the only way to make a sheep lie down was to satisfy its stomach, because a sheep only lies down when it is not hungry. Written when David was an older man, Psalm 37:25 tells us, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” David knows, when it comes to what we need, the Lord is our Good Shepherd that 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 leadeth me beside still waters.” Water has a calming and soothing effect, especially still waters that are deep. From this description, David paints a picture of taking time to renew and to find peace through the stillness, the depths of tranquillity and being alone with God. David reprises the importance of stillness before God in Psalm 46:10, which says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Thirdly, David notes, “He restoreth my soul” (KJV), where our needs are met not just physically but spiritually. David emphasizes that true restoration, refreshment and renewal of our soul comes from spending time alone with God. David tells us, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him” (Psalm 62:1). 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 along the right paths 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. However, 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 right.
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: My Good Shepherd, thank You for being my Provider, Restorer and Guide. In You alone, I shall not want, for You provide for me materially, emotionally, spiritually and morally. Praise You!