Pastor Chris Delmadge
He Makes Me Lie Down
“He (the Lord, my Shepherd) makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters.”
Isn’t it amazing how life has drastically changed in a matter of three weeks? Every morning, as I give God thanks for another beautiful day, I am very much aware that I am adjusting to a new normal. And yet...God is in control.
How is life so different today? Well...I’m homeschooling my kids. That’s right. I am homeschooling teenagers. In fact, I will have the wonderful job of waking them up this morning (which is a separate devotional all by itself...please pray for me), and walking them through this awesome curriculum that their school sent me last night. And yet...God is in control.
In Psalm 23:1, David informs us that Jehovah is his shepherd. His confidence is unapologetic as he proclaims that he will not experience lack because...God is in control. When God is in control, he determines the direction of our lives. He determines the where, the what, the who, the when, and the why. In verse 2, David writes, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” He makes me? He makes me? Doesn’t that interfere with my free will choice? He makes me? Who does God think He is?
When I was a kid, I would remember looking out the window and noticing that it was getting darker. I knew that once we ate dinner, bedtime would follow shortly thereafter. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but I never wanted to go to bed. I would fight the tiredness like a Spartan warrior. I would always look for an excuse to break free from the tyranny of nap time. But sooner or later, my mom would sternly confront me, and “make me lie down.” There were no green pastures, but usually it would be a threat for me to stay in my bed...or else! She would then turn off the light (my night light would come on), and shut the door. I would be upset for a moment, and then before you know it...it would be morning. I didn’t even realize when I would drift off to sleep. I was exhausted, but I didn’t want to stop. I was tired, but I wanted to keep on playing. It took the action of a loving parent to “make me lie down”.
Sometimes, God makes us lie down. The Hebrew word that describes this action is rabats. It simply means: to recline or lie down. In this passage of scripture, David is referring to the moment that the shepherd is no longer moving forward. The shepherd makes the decision that this is the spot where the sheep will stop. Whether or not the sheep would like to move forward, the shepherd is the one that is in control. Brothers and sisters, some of us just need to stop. We are in a season where we are being reminded that we are not in control. I was looking forward to March Madness. I was looking forward to certain ministry events. I was saving up my money for certain projects, but “...he makes me lie down.”
Use this “down” time to reflect on God’s goodness. If you have not been diagnosed with any sickness, now is not the time to complain. Now is the time to give God praise. If your family is with you and they are healthy...make a joyful noise. You may not realize this, but someone lost their grandpa yesterday. Someone had to say goodbye to their wife. Someone is dealing with guilt for possibly infecting their family. If that is not your situation, be thankful and pray for those who are less fortunate. Embrace the green pastures and the quiet waters while you can. God is in control.
Now that’s Good Word!