He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. -- Psalm 23:2
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Green pastures would be, for sheep, the place of replenishment and finding satisfaction. I’m stealing this from someone, but I can’t remember who it is. I ran across it just a day or two ago. It is a suggestion that in dealing with our idols in life, we take the text of Psalm 71:1-2 and substitute that idol’s name for the Lord: In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
In you, O work, do I take refuge …
In you, bank account, do I take refuge …
Alcohol, meth, pornography, anger, government, in you do I take refuge, deliver me, rescue me, save me.
None of those things or any other will work. It is only the place to which the Good Shepherd leads us that satisfies. Too, wherever it is He leads us is the green pasture. It may not seem that way at first, but we learn to let go of our expectations. The way to bitterness, unhappiness, and discontent -- the way to hell, really, is to refuse to release our expectations of how things ought to be. We don’t know what ought to be. Every false religionist and every practical atheist believes they know better than reality. The unbeliever knows exactly what a green pasture should look like, and it never matches the reality he finds himself in.
The “oughts” will kill you and kill your faith. I struggled for a long time because I believed that good should always triumph over evil. It’s true, but only at the Omega point, the end in eternity. Eventually all wrongs will be righted. All wickedness will cease. That is not for this world. Not yet. So remember, where the Shepherd is, the pasture is green.
Walking a green pasture beside still water is a beautiful picture. My margin note says that the Hebrew could be read “waters of rest”. In the presence of the Lord, our spirit is like that deep pool of quiet water. I can see it, not a ripple disturbing the surface, giving a perfect reflection of the sky, as our quiet spirit perfectly reflects the image of Christ. Some of us get this once in a while, in our better moments. Those we think of as saints are in that place almost all the time. Jesus, of course, lived every moment of His Incarnate life that way. It’s my goal.