Thursday, June 9, 2011

Green Pastures + Still Waters = A Restored Soul ~ DEVO 2, Psalm 23

Last week we were visiting friends who live on a small lake in Illinois.  What a treat to sit on their deck and enjoy the still water.  There was a slight breeze that created a few small ripples across the water.  It wasn’t totally still. It was fun watching the geese enjoy the lake.  And as the sun set in the west the color of the water deepened and quieted.  Just watching the water was like taking a long cold drink on a hot day.  Refreshment!

When I think about Psalm 23:2, He makes me lie down in green pastures, I think, He is causing me to stop and to take advantage of His good provision. Sometimes that is my biggest need ~ to stop.  I usually use the first few minutes of my devos to “sit and stare”; at least that is what I call it.  It’s a time of stopping.  I’m not reading; I’m not praying; I’m just sitting and staring.  My favorite chair is placed very strategically so my staring is toward God’s beautiful creation.  This time of year, I love having my devos outside in God’s creation.  But my sitting and staring comes to an end.  The stop part of my devo leads into the next part ~ the still waters.  When I think of the phrase, He leads me beside still waters, I think, there is movement.  God is leading. But the leading is by still waters.  It is a slow, gentle leading.  Often the leading reflects some new thought from a very familiar passage.  It is leading that is appropriate for the moment.  It is restorative leading.  It is different from the leading I experience after my soul is restored.

When the green pastures and the still water do their work in my life, the result is a restored soul.  

I find I need the green pastures and the still waters on a regular basis.  Life is busy.  Life is hard.  I need the perspective of my shepherd that I get in the green pastures and beside the still waters.   

There are times for me when the green pastures and the still waters last a loooong time.  Sometimes I’m not even aware that I need the green pastures and the still waters.  But God is.  And often God orchestrates the circumstances of my life, so I can enjoy His green pastures and still waters.  Sometimes I don’t welcome those times; but always as they come to an end, I’m very thankful for the wisdom of God in my life.  The resulting restoring of my soul is a good place to be. 

The Hebrew word, shalom, which in the Old Testament is often translated welfare is an apt description of what a restored soul looks like to me.  It refers to all aspects of peace and plenty.  I have experienced the Lord as my shepherd.  I have everything I need.

“You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
 you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath”
Psalm 23:2and 3a

To be continued

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