HE MAKETH ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.”
I am so weak that I even need God’s help to enable me to lie down, but “He maketh me to lie down.” Yes, the rest of the soul is so hard to attain that nobody ever does reach it except by the power of God. He who made the heavens must make us to lie down if we are really to rest. What delightful rest it is when we lie down in his pastures, which are always green! Did you ever find them dry? Our Shepherd makes us not only to feed, but so to feed that we lie down in the midst of the pastures. There is more than we can eat, so the Lord makes a couch of it for us: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:” [C.H. Spurgeon]
“The Christian life has two elements in it, the contemplative and the active, and both of these are richly provided for. First, the contemplative. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” What are these “GREEN PASTURES” but the Scriptures of truth—always fresh, always rich, and never exhausted? There is no fear of biting the bare ground where the grass is long enough for the flock to lie down in it. Sweet and full are the doctrines of the gospel; fit food for souls, as tender grass is natural nutriment for sheep. When by faith we are enabled to find rest in the promises, we are like the sheep that lie down in the midst of the pasture; we find at the same moment both provender and peace, rest and refreshment, serenity and satisfaction.
But observe: “HE MAKETH me to lie down.” It is the Lord who graciously enables us to perceive the preciousness of his truth, and to feed upon it. How grateful ought we to be for the power to appropriate the promises! There are some distracted souls who would give worlds if they could but do this. They know the blessedness of it, but they cannot say that this blessedness is theirs. They know the “GREEN PASTURES,” but they are not made to “LIE DOWN” in them. Those believers who have for years enjoyed a “full assurance of faith” should greatly bless their gracious God.”
“Make the men sit down.” Why? Secondly, may we not also see in this word the illustration of an important principle pertaining to the spiritual life, namely, that we must sit down if we would be fed—true alike for sinner and saint. The activities of the flesh must come to an end if the Bread of life is to be received by us. How much all of us need to ask God to teach us to be quiet and sit still. Turn to and ponder Psalm 107:30; Isaiah 30:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 1 Peter 3:4. In this crazy age, when almost everybody is rushing hither and thither, when the standard of excellency is not how well a thing is done, but how quickly, when the Lord’s people are thoroughly infected by the same spirit of haste, this is indeed a timely word. And let not the reader imagine that he has power of himself to comply. We have to be “made” to “sit down”—frequently by sickness. Note the same word in Psalm 23:2—”He MAKETH ME TO LIE down in green pastures.” [A.W. Pink]
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green, pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” The “pastures,” then, speak not only of food, but of rest as well. This too is a part of that wondrous portion which is ours in Christ. A beautiful type of this is found in Numbers 10:33: “And they departed from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them in the three days’ journey, to search out A RESTING PLACE for them.” All through the Old Testament the “ark of the covenant” is a lovely figure of the Savior Himself, and here it is seen seeking out a resting place—the pastures—for Israel of old.” [A.W. Pink]