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Resting in Green Meadows

As a young boy, David tended his father’s sheep in the desert. As a young man, he was a fugitive hiding in the desert from Saul, the king of Israel, who wanted him dead.

David himself became king after Saul died but fled to the desert again when his son Absalom tried to overthrow him.

David wrote often about his time in the desert, but he is best known for Psalm 23.

You might know that poem.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (Psalm 23:1, NLT)

David was always confident that he had all that he would need because the Lord was his trustworthy shepherd.

A shepherd’s role is to provide for and protect the sheep.

David had all that he needed because he was a sheep who is following the shepherd.

And God was – and is – a good shepherd.

How, though, does God care for His sheep? David told us.

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. (Psalm 23:2, NLT)

I’m from the Midwest. When I think of “green meadows,” I think of the lush farmland that blankets the region. Israel – David’s homeland – wasn’t like that.

Shepherds in the Bible tended their flocks in the desert. The lush farmland was for, well, farmers. And farmers would not have been thrilled with flocks of sheep grazing in their fields.

When David speaks of “green meadows,” he’s not talking about an all-you-can-eat buffet.

He’s talking about the little tufts of grass that pepper the desert landscape. He’s talking about the next mouthful.

God’s promise in the desert is not that we’ll have everything we want.

His promise is that we’ll have everything we need.

He promises the next mouthful.

The desert teaches us dependence. It teaches us trust in our Shepherd. It teaches us to follow Him with faith and in confidence. It teaches us to rest in who God is and what He has done.

Are you following the Shepherd through the desert? Are you trusting Him – depending on Him – to give you all that you need?

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