“He provides a resting place for me in His luxury-love.” (Psalm 23:2 The Passion Translation)
“He lets me lie down in green pastures.” Psalm 23:2 AMP
There is a beautiful picture of Jesus in the Scriptures. Not only is He our Good Shepherd, but He is also the sheep who laid down His life for His own. He is the lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. When Jesus became the final sacrifice for all time for sin, He sat down to show it is finished. Sitting down is a place of rest. We are now seated with Him in a place of security, safety, love and acceptance forever, in heavenly places of rest. That is good news!
Sheep are the class of livestock that require the most attention and care. They cannot take care of themselves. They need a Shepherd or they will actually die. We are compared with sheep in the Bible. In fact, references to sheep, shepherd, sheepfold, etc. are made hundreds of times. In my research, I read that those terms are listed up to 600 times. God could have chosen any other animal to compare us with, but He purposely chose sheep so that we could learn something about Him being our good Shepherd and us being His dependent sheep. The following is one of many examples:
Sheep will not lie down if they are hungry and distressed. They will also not lie down if they are full of parasites. It is the shepherd’s responsibility to make sure that his sheep are full, at peace, safe, and completely free of parasites. It is a joy for the shepherd to care for his sheep. The shepherd's life is totally devoted to taking care of their every need. Jesus said in John 6:35,
“I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior] will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually].” (John 6:35, AMP)
He, being our Good Shepherd, is the one who satisfies our every need, and He is the one that will provide for us and keep us safe and it brings joy to the Father’s heart when we depend on Him for everything. He loves to see us thriving. He knows how to take care of us more than we even know how to take care of ourselves. We can “lie down” because He satisfies our every need!
I consider parasites to represent the enemy. They come to harass the sheep. The enemy comes to try to steal your peace, your joy, and even your life. He comes in with accusations and lies because he is the father of lies. Praise the Lord that Jesus came and destroyed the works of the devil. The enemy is defeated and as a result, we can “lie down” and rest. Jesus took care of the enemies of death, sin, sickness, and the old law system. What good news! It is knowing the finished work of Jesus Christ that causes us to live a life of rest. He is our rest! Rest is not passivity, rather rest is a lifestyle. We can rest in our trials, we can rest in our jobs, we can rest while ministering, we can rest while parenting, etc. I believe real rest comes from knowing that God sees you as forgiven, righteous, accepted, and loved. Rest comes from knowing you have a Safe Shepherd that will protect you and watch over you and provide for you. Rest comes from knowing that our Good Shepherd is faithful, even when we are not. He is faithful to love you, help you, rescue you, guide you, lead you, and search for you if you start to wander off the good path. We are the object of His love and affection and when that is something that we truly believe in our hearts, it causes us to live a life of rest and peace. Keeping our eyes on our Good Shepherd (Isaiah 26:3) who never leads us astray and resting in His amazing love for us, eliminates fear and anxiety, and in its place, produces a heart at rest and peace.