He makes me lie down in green pastures. Psalm 23:2
God ‘makes me’ lie down in green pastures. That sounds like it’s done by force against my wishes. It’s not like that! The picture is one of a shepherd who gently leads and this corresponds with the beautiful picture painted by Isaiah.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11
The little Shepherd who napped in the manger would be the One who would call Himself the Shepherd. Pretty amazing as I sit here thinking about it because the One David addressed as Shepherd in Psalm 23 was God Himself. And yet, Jesus will define Himself as the shepherd of the sheep all throughout the book of John. How do the two tie together?
When David wrote Psalm 23, Jesus resided in the Trinity and was one with God in caring for the sheep of Israel. But because of Incarnation, the Shepherd became one who needed a Shepherd. The Shepherd became the sheep. He had to learn how to live out the lessons in the 23’rd Psalm so that He could become a Shepherd who was touched with our infirmities.
Little boy Jesus discovered that the world was not a place to lay his head in peace. Mary was probably the first who, by example, taught Jesus to run to Father God for spiritual rest and refreshing. Chaos and intimidation ruled the Roman Empire, and their personal lives, and Jesus could feel His people’s corporate anxiety having to dwell under the umbrella of brutes like Caesar Augustus and the Emperor Tiberius. Any resting of the soul would have to come from a spiritual resting place, the kind only His Heavenly Father provided.
Just like us, Jesus depended on the shepherding of Yahweh. In His DNA, did He have any recollection of being the Shepherd of Israel? We don’t know. But one thing is for sure ~ Jesus personally experienced the perfection of God’s green pastures amidst the imperfections of earth’s dwelling places. God’s food sustained Him through more trials than we’ll ever face. Without it, He would not have the wisdom, strength, and stamina to finish the course.
Every one of us has a deep desire to be known by One who loves us. Because we were made to be intimate, our soul strains to be under the care of someone who can see the expanse of our lives; One who has the power to shape an environment where we can thrive.
You are my perfect Shepherd. Amen