Sheep are pretty dumb when it comes to taking care of themselves. They are much like little children who have no concept of danger and no sense of direction. They are easily distracted, they often become preoccupied with self-interests, thus getting into trouble; and they cannot find their food and water on their own. God’s children are like sheep. God calls us sheep and lambs in the Bible.
He maketh [causes, allows] me to lie down in green pastures: To lie down implies safety. Vulnerable animals such as deer, and sheep only lie down if they feel safe. A deer will find a hiding place, but a sheep doesn’t know to hide, it depends on the shepherd to protect it. Even wild sheep have a shepherd who is the ram of the flock. When by faith we are enabled to find rest in the promises of God, we are like the sheep that lie down in the midst of the pasture. I am reminded of Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Christ is safety and security.
What are these “green pastures ? “ They are satisfying, replenishing the strength. They are always fresh, always rich, and never exhausted. Sheep will graze a pasture and even eat the roots of the grass so a pasture can quickly be depleted. The Scriptures of truth are the green pastures–These green pastures are sweet and full of the doctrines of Christ and the gospel, and teachings for our practical living. The word of God is satisfying, replenishing the strength and fit food for the soul. It is always fresh, always rich, and never exhausted.
He leadeth me beside the still waters. Isaiah 40:11says, 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. The sheep will not drink where the water is fast moving and nosey; they must have still waters. The “still waters” are the influences and graces of the Holy Spirit. When we lie down in the green pastures of the blessed word of God, then we can be led by Him to the still waters. The old devil will never lead God’s people beside the still waters; he will always lead you to the troubled waters, because he wants you to be fearful, and agitated and doubtful.
The waters are still waters, meaning that they are peaceable and pose no fear for the sheep. The “still waters” are the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. His Spirit accompanies us in these various activities, like waters (in the plural) to cleanse, to refresh.
Without water there can be no life. Without the Holy Spirit, the giver and sustainer of life, there can be no spiritual life. The waters of the world can never satisfy the longing of the soul for the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; for they are polluted with sin and corruption. Many religious people associate the presence of the Holy Spirit with emotional stimulation which causes them to laugh, and clap their hands, and jump up and down, and make a lot of noise. There is no example of this in the Bible. This is not the Holy Spirit, but the spirit of ignorance of the word of God and the real fruit of the Spirit. The water of the world is polluted, stinking and agitated and can never satisfy the soul. The still waters bring comfort and ease of soul and mind. Lord willing, we will continue some thoughts on these two verses. E-mail, email@example.com