A friend and I were talking yesterday, and both of us were talking about the struggles we’ve been facing. The subject of rest (and the lack of it) came up, and he said something quite profound: “You know, in Psalm 23, it says He MAKES us lie down in green pastures. It shows how stubborn we actually are, that we need to be made to rest.” Wow! What a profound thought that is absolutely true. We have to be made to rest; how often do you do so willingly? When we’re young, we hate naps, when we’re older, we make ourselves so busy that we want to nap, but we don’t have the time. We wear ourselves out, on a daily basis, to the point of exhaustion and we fill any free time with activities so that we don’t stop and rest. Ah sheep, how often do we think we know what is best for ourselves, but then get in to big trouble that only the shepherd can fix?
And so He makes us lie down. Surrounded by everything we need to be content, the Shepherd commands us to rest, and so we must. It’s the only way to truly find contentment! And He is our rest. There is no place safer for a sheep than with the shepherd. He prepares the place of our rest, for that is who He is, and He makes us lie down. The Pasture is a place He prepared ahead of time, a place of relative safety and comfort, where He is watchful. Enemies cannot approach without Him watching. The green pasture is carefully cultivated for food and comfort, for He Himself has thought of us while preparing it. It is, then, for us to trust Him. When He says to rest, we must do so. We must continue the cycle every day, to let Him be our rest. We are prone to be flighty, panicky, high strung, and impetuous, but His loving hand will always guide us to what is best. Matthew 11:25-30 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Hebrews 4:1-16 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
“As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.