Summary: Only God, our Shepherd, can give you complete and peaceful rest!
The testimony of David is powerful. Verse 1 sets the tone for the rest of this precious Psalms; “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not. After verse 1, David begins to outline for us the loving care of the shepherd.
The beauty of the Psalms is that David communicates to us through his personal testimony some guaranteed promises for the sheep. David says now that I’ve declared my satisfaction in the Shepherd, now, let me tell you why I’m satisfied. The first guarantee for every believer is this; “He makes me to lie down in green pastures”.
What a word of comfort and encouragement, especially, in times in a world filled with so much unrest.
In 1933 Gerhard Von Rad aptly observed that among the many benefits of redemption offered to man by Scripture, that of rest has been overlooked in biblical theology.
Not only has rest been overlooked in biblical theology but it is overlooked in personal practice. Many people survive off 4-6 hours of rest on a daily basis. Many people search for peaceful rest through Nyquil, alcohol, drugs, sleeping pills, tea, and Thera-flu, only to discover a lack of refreshment the next morning.
The tragedy of Michael Jackson’s life is that he left too soon trying to find rest in prescription drugs that ultimately took his life. His story was tragic but many of us still look for rest in all the wrong places.
Restlessness, stain, toil, the daily grind, anxiety, worry, nervousness, tension, and distress zap our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual vitality.
Restlessness results in physical, emotional, and spiritual burnout. Have you ever been so exhausted that mentally you can’t think straight, physically, you couldn’t find the right position to sleep right, and spiritually, you couldn’t hear the voice of God clearly? Restlessness causes you to make the wrong decisions in life. Restlessness makes a person mean and evil. Restlessness causes ineffectiveness in life’s responsibilities. Restlessness causes short-temperedness. Restlessness causes a person to be un-productive.
I think you get the picture now…
However, what we must remember, realize, recognize, and understand is that apart from God no one can nor will find peaceful rest. Rest is freedom from work, toil, strain, or activity. Rest is the cessation of motion or action of any kind, and applicable to any body or being, rest from labor, rest from mental exertion or rest of body or mind. Rest is freedom from anxiety or disturbance. To rest is to dispose oneself at ease in order to relieve or avoid fatigue.
In a spiritual sense, rest means to cease from one’s work as a way of release from life’s strains and toils. The only way to experience spiritual rest is through the rest that only Christ, our Shepherd, can provide.
Understanding the significance of rest is to understand the character of sheep. Sheep are needy creatures who don’t know how to care for themselves. So much so that David praises God for being able to provide rest for all of us who are restless.
John Walvoord writes that...