How did you do last week? Were you able to rest awhile? I didn’t realize how much I needed to rest until I got on vacation, disconnected from my devices, and actually rested.

The message of Psalm 23 is one of invitation. As we saw last week, the psalmist communes with God. He reminds us of the fact that God is our Shepherd. As much as we may want to run from the voice of our Shepherd because of our past mistakes, His voice, the Shepherd’s voice, is unmistakable.

The green pastures and quiet waters provide a place for us to rest when we are weary. Are you weary? Do you need a break from the hectic hamster wheel of life?

I thought I could push through it, but God had a different story. He needed me to rest. He needed to speak to me, and He orchestrated my vacation between two weeks that are jam-packed with commitments.

It’s no accident that this one week was the only week in the last eight weeks that had the fewest meetings and provided an opportunity for me to unwind and relax.

The Shepherd wants us to unwind and relax. He calls to us – in fact, He invites us to rest in the quiet meadows and listen to the sounds of still waters.

It is in this meadow and by these quiet streams that He has our attention. He walks up and begins to dialog with us. He asks us pointed questions, and He asks us how we are doing?

This week, we explore deeper into Psalm 23. It says in Psalm 23:3,

He gives me new strength. He leads me on paths that are right for the good of his name.

After we have sat and rested in the meadows and been refreshed, He picks up where He left off. He guides us, or rather He leads us on the right path.

This is the part of life that we may want to skirt by or take a long way around. This right path often provides correction, re-shaping, or re-molding to help us get back to where we need to be.

Refining might be a better word.

If you are married, you probably remember the day you said: “I Do.” It was the day you promised to cherish each other for all-time. You slipped a ring on each other’s fingers as a symbol of your undying love for each other.

That ring was shaped and molded from nothing into something. It was refined by fire or reshaped for your perfect fit.

This is what God does with us. He leads us, but like most sheep, we like to wander. He calls us back to the path, only for us to wander off again.

He repeatedly calls us back to the path. For some, the journey back to the path may be short, while it could take years or even decades to find the path again for others. The one constant thing, though, is the Shepherd’s voice calling us back to the path.

Sometimes the voice is louder, and other times, it is softer. Everything God does is to mold us and shape us into the image of Him.

We may not see it or even want to see it, but our experiences shape us into the people we are today.

Some say our past defines us, but our past is just one part of our path. In Mark Batterson’s new book Win The Day, he says yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, so Win The Day.

Each day we are called to win the day. Our past informs our future and our present, but we were never meant to live handcuffed to our past. God wants us to stay on the path, the good path, but we are not perfect, and we stray from it far too many times.

Resting allows us to reconnect with our Heavenly Father – to return to the path He has called us to be on. It is during moments of rest that we can hear what He has been trying to tell us.

Did you notice we skipped over the first part of verse three? We skipped over,

He gives me strength.

Resting in the meadow beside the still waters restores our mind, body, and soul. Once we are restored, we need strength to continue into our future, our mystery, as Batterson describes.

Who gives us strength?

God gives us strength. In Hebrews 10:36 it says,

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

The Lord, our Shepherd, is the source of strength. When we rest in Him, we rest in His goodness, His power, His Love, and His promises.

God is at work in us and through us, but he never meant for us to run on empty. Psalm 23 invites us to take a break, rest awhile, and commune with God.

How can I stay on the right path?

Application

  1. Read Through a Devotional – a guided devotional will help you soak in God’s Word and receive new insight. It will help focus your devotional time and open the door for the Lord to speak to you.
  1. Write Our Your Prayers – I learned this one from my mom. She writes out her daily prayers, and I have picked up this habit as well. I find that I can write out both sides of the conversation – not just my side. When I sense God is talking to me, I italicize it so when I return to it; I can clearly see how He was speaking to me.

God’s invitation to rest is not for a season but rather continual. How that manifests in our lives is different for each of us, but God invites us to the meadow and still waters frequently.

We need God’s strength to continue to do His work, but we also need to be listening for the Shepherd’s voice to help us stay on the right path.

If you are on the path, keep it up!

If you have wandered from the path, listen for the Shepherd’s voice and return to the path.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for inviting us to the meadow and the still waters. Thank you for repeatedly calling us back to the path. We ask you to restore our weary souls, give strength to our weary bodies, and give us the strength to continue the work You have called us to do. Please give us a wonderful and blessed week. Amen!

Resources


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About

Hi, I'm Dave Anthold. I am a small group leader, short-term missionary, and visual storyteller. You can read my story here.

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