Read the following Bible passage, then answer the short questions. Consider the practical suggestions at the end of the study.
1. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3. he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his names sake.
4. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
1. When youre in a quiet peaceful place, do you rest, or do you look for something to do?
2. When you rest, do you feel restless or guilty, like you should be doing something else?
What strikes me as interesting about verse 2 is that the good shepherd "makes" his sheep lie down. It sounds as if the sheep arent inclined to lie down on their own, but want to keep grazing and moving, eventually moving beyond earshot of their masters voice. They have to be forced to take a break. Think about it -- if a sheep lies down in a pasture, he could keep grazing for a little while, but eventually hed have to stop, having pretty well demolished the grass in the immediate vicinity of his face. Then theres nothing left to do but rest, and wait for the masters next command.
The idea of being led beside quiet waters sounds appealing, too. I love a raging river -- its exciting to witness the power of tons and tons of water flowing unstoppably downhill. But I also love the quiet babbling brook. Resting beside it is a chance to unclutter the mind and meditate on who God is.
How is it with you? Do you feel like you must constantly be on the move to stay a step ahead of the game? Does it seem selfish or lazy to take some time out to just rest, to just be? This verse gives us a hint that God values not only the activity of battle in his name, but the inactivity of peaceful rest. He can use that time to enter through the tough exterior and impress upon you the nature of his love for you. If we fill every moment with activity, we can numb ourselves to the damaging effects of the battle scars, and then illicit activities like viewing porn can seem like just another thing to do. When we rest, we have time to reflect, to meditate, and to quietly consider ourselves in relationship to the good shepherd.
Do yourself a favor and make some time for rest away from the things that clamor to occupy your time -- the computer, the phone, the TV. Find a park or a quiet street to walk on. Spend your time thinking and praying, and listening for the shepherds next word.