I love to lie down to take a nap!
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God.
Anyone with children – or that was a child themselves – knows that is nearly impossible for a child to sleep on Christmas Eve.
The excitement of Christmas morning is just too much for most children.
But that changes sometime during the teenage years, I think.
How a person looks at sleeping in general seems to change as a person gets older.
I think I hated taking naps when I was a kid. I think I also hated going to bed at “bedtime.”
But by the time I got to college, there was nothing I loved to do more than sleep.
I loved to sleep. During the day, during the night. Any chance I got, it seemed, I slept. I don’t know why this is, but it didn’t do me a whole lot of good when it came to my grades. My first year of theological studies I had Greek class. It’s important to know Greek if you’re going to study the Scriptures in-depth. This class that taught us how to read Greek was held at 7:30 in the morning Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For someone who likes to sleep, a 7:30 class just isn’t possible. I dropped this class after about 8 weeks. Not that I attended all 8 weeks. I missed a lot more classes than I attended. The next year, Greek class was held at 8:30. A little better but not much for someone who likes to sleep.
A perfect day for me was to sleep until about 9:30 or 10 in the morning and then get a 2-hour nap in the afternoon. Obviously, this doesn’t work well in the real world.
So, when I see that my Shepherd will “make me lie down” I see this as heaven! What a great place for someone who likes to sleep.
But even if sleeping isn’t your idea of a good time, this verse is for you. Whatever it is that relaxes you, provides you with comfort and rest, that is what your Good Shepherd will provide.
About 30 years ago I spent a few weeks in Yellowstone National Park. I saw all the amazing things that are there, the geysers and hot springs, the mountains and animals. But one day while hiking in the mountains, I came across a stream. It was this kind of stream that the Psalmist must have had in mind when he wrote down in Psalm 23, “he leads me beside quiet waters.”
This stream was gently flowing by. Ripples on the surface were made by submerged stones. And it had a quiet gurgling that soothed my weary feet and my tired soul. I spent my afternoon there and I returned several times during my stay in Yellowstone.
When God leads us beside quiet waters, he is leading us to lie down at “waters of resting places.” This will include times of worship. Times of devotion. Times of prayer. Let’s face it, the world is a very busy place. Its full of noise and fury. But in the end, it signifies nothing.
God leads us away from the rat race that no one wins to the quiet waters of His Word and Sacraments where He gives us that which He won for us – eternal life.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to be our Good Shepherd to makes us lie down and rest. Help me to find rest this day, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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