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Psalm 23:2 He Sustains Us

He sustains us

In our study of Psalm 23, we are looking at verse 2. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters. Sheep are creatures of habit and seem to have no sense of what they need to survive. They'll easily follow one another even if the path is leading to destruction. For instance, if a sheep goes to the edge of the cliff and falls, the others will blindly follow along! How many times in our own lives do we follow along with the crowd without realizing the destruction that lies ahead...all because we're following the wrong leader...the one who's as blind as we can be.

As the 1st verse states, the 2nd verse continues King David's thought that because we are following the Shepherd we want for nothing but our needs are of utmost importance. Being disconnected from what they really need to survive, sheep must be led to new pastures in order to receive continued nourishment. Left on their own, and because they don't like change, they will graze in the same area until all the grass is depleted and there is nothing left to nourish them in the dirt. The shepherd actively looks for the next area that will provide a cool resting spot since rest is crucial for them to thrive.

Conditions needed for a sheep to rest:

1)They must not be afraid

2) They must not be troubled by flies or parasites

3) They are social animals so there must not be friction among the sheep

4) They must not be hungry

Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28 - 30, “Come unto me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. A yoke is something that allows an animal to be controlled.

For the Jewish people, the “yoke” of a rabbi was his teaching which conveyed his own understanding of law. It's thought there were over 20 different sects (or denominations) of the Jewish religion and certainly different interpretations of the law. The words of the Good Shepherd, show us that to follow Him is not burdensome. In His ways, He has only good in store for us, as we go about the “work” of living and the “work” of learning.

Sheep are quite easily frightened by noisy rushing waters and aren't even big drinkers to begin with! Without calm waters, it's possible that sheep would simply die of thirst if it weren't for their caring shepherd ensuring that all is in order. He draws them to a place to replenish their bodies with cool, clear water. Water is essential to life. Without it, all living things will die.

Jesus talked about a different type of water when He met with the woman at the well who was kind enough to draw water for the Good Shepherd. He spoke of an eternal water, a life giving and sustaining water that would continue to give life eternal. Jesus said to her in John 4 :13,14, “...everyone who drinks of this water {in the physical well}, will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”. A loving shepherd knows what is necessary to sustain his sheep and ensures that they receive it. The very image of lush green pastures and cool, still water conveys the feelings of PEACE, REST, SERENITY, and SATISFACTION. Jesus offers this to anyone who will trust the Shepherd.

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