He makes me lie down in green pastures, [New International Version] Psalm 22:3
Yesterday we looked at 2 of the 4 things that stop sheep from resting unless they are in place. If they’re not, the sheep will not settle and will remain that way until the issues are resolved! Let us look at the next 2 and again see how they apply to us! They are freedom from:
- aggravations These can come in many guises, but the worst are insects, parasites, lice and flies! Here’s what an expert has to say about it:
As in the case with freedom from fear of predators or friction within the flock, the freedom of fear from the torment of parasites and insects is essential to the contentment of sheep.
Sheep, especially in the summer, can be driven to absolute distraction by nasal flies, bot flies, warble flies and ticks. When tormented by these pests, it is literally impossible for them to lie down and rest. Instead they are up and on their feet, stamping their legs, shaking their heads, ready to rush off into the bush for relief from the pests.
Only the diligent care of the owner who keeps a constant lookout for these insects will prevent them from annoying his flock. A good shepherd will apply various types of insect repellents to his sheep. He will see that they are dipped to clear their fleeces of ticks. And he will see that there are shelter belts of trees and bush available where they can find refuge and release from their tormentors.
This all entails considerable extra care. It takes time and labor and expensive chemicals to do the job thoroughly. It means, too, that the shepherd must be among his sheep daily, keeping a close watch on their behavior. As soon as there is the least evidence that they are being disturbed he must take steps to provide them with relief. Always uppermost in his mind is the aim of keeping his flock quiet, contented and at peace! You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. (Psalm. 23:5) Phillip Keller.
For myself, my greatest distractions and what stop me from being at peace is demonic attacks of my mind! The analogy above is very accurate! The flies etc mainly attack the head and drive the sheep to distraction. One of satan’s names is Beelzebub [lord of the flies!] He sends demons to attack our minds and knock us off track with irritating distractions, or is that only me? The answer for us I believe is the blood of Jesus, the word of God and the oil of the Spirit. So, we need to daily have our good shepherd apply those things to us.
hunger There’s nothing more distracting than hunger pangs and sheep especially will not rest unless they have been fed and are contented. Let’s here what Phillip Keller has to say about this:
Finally, to produce the conditions necessary for a sheep to lie down, there must be freedom from the fear of hunger. This of course, is clearly implied in the statement, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures.”
Green pastures did not just happen by chance. Green pastures were the product of tremendous labor, time and skill in land use. Green pastures were the result of clearing rough, rocky land; of tearing out brush and roots and stumps; of deep plowing and careful soil preparation; of seeding and planting special grains and legumes; of irrigating with water and husbanding with care the crops of forage that would fed the flocks. Green pastures are essential to success with sheep. When lambs are maturing and the ewes need green, succulent feed for a heavy milk flow, there is no substitute for good pasturage.
In the Scriptures, the picture portrayed of the Promised Land … was that of a “land flowing with milk and honey.” Not only is this figurative language, but also essentially scientific terminology. In agricultural terms we speak of a “milk flow” and “honey flow.” By this we mean the peak season of spring and summer when pastures are at their most productive stages. The livestock that feed on the forage and the bees that visit the blossoms are said to be producing a corresponding “flow” of milk or honey. So a land flowing with milk and honey is a land of rich, green, luxuriant pastures. The Good Shepherd has supplied green pastures for those who care to move in onto them and there find peace and plenty.
So where are they? Well where’s the promised land? In all His promises that are yes and amen, the so be it. So, we find His promises in his word, feed on them, and flourish because of them. So, go find His promises for you, feast on them and lie down in restful pastures till it’s time to move on.