Quiet Waters

Psalm 23:2
…he leads me beside quiet waters

I went to the beach for our family vacation. I loved it. The sharp edged shells and rocks kinda hurt my feet, but everything else was basically Really Awesome.

We decided to go snorkeling along the rocks because that’s where the fish hang out. The only problem with that is when I’m snorkeling, I’m looking down into the water at the pretty fish and not at the rocks piled above the water line.

The waves generally push a snorkeler around, so I had to pull my head up and keep a safe distance away from the dangerous, sharp, barnacle-infested boulder pile. I couldn’t let my feet hang down too far because of the rocks below the water line.

But the fish!

There were tiny purple and gold fish that might be either Basslets or Dottybacks. I’m no fish expert, but I think I saw some Angel fish, Tangs, Rockfish, and possibly some Croakers. The blue and yellow fish were the most curious group when we brought out our bread. A school of silvery long fish zoomed past us a number of times, but didn’t ever stop since they were in quite a hurry. Must’ve had an appointment.

Then we saw a Porcupine Puffer fish.

I was with my brother and sister-in-law. I got their attention and joyfully announced my discovery. My sister-in-law took off for the sand and stayed there for a while. I really didn’t mean to scare her. I was just surprised to see one so close to me. It looked at me with curious eyes. If I’d been brave, I might’ve reached out to it to see how close it wanted to come to me. But I backed off and gave it a little more room. I didn’t want to scare it. It probably takes a lot out of a fish to puff up like that.

Snorkeling is best in the morning. In the afternoon, the waves get much rougher, and it’s hard to maintain your position (away from the rocks and allowing the puffer fish its personal space).

When I read the second verse of Psalm 23, I think about the rough waves that push people toward the rocks, stir up the sand, and cause snorkelers to go home because they can’t see very well.

Quiet waters means peace to me. The opposite, rough waters, means fighting against the powerful wave shove that causes people to topple like bowling pins when they are in its way.

The Lord is my shepherd. He leads me beside peaceful waters. It’s to my advantage to follow him.

Filled and Happy

Psalm 23:2
He makes me lie down in green pastures.

If I were a sheep (a real one, the four-legged type), sitting in a field of soft, sweet, green grass, I'd be pretty happy. I wouldn't have to get in the car and drive down to the store and make decision after decision about what to eat. The food's right there at my feet.

Of course, sheep don't usually have cars, but that's beside the point.

I'm an American female who owns a car. I do make decisions in the store about what to eat. And I happen to like vegetables. So when I read about The Good Shepherd giving me a green pasture to lie down in, I get happy.

I’m not your ordinary American. I actually LIKE vegetables.

My niece keeps telling me she likes my salads, possibly because she likes to cook and enjoys the variety of ingredients in my salads. I’m a little picky when I want a salad. I choose fresh, colorful ingredients. Having lots of different colors in the salad bowl keeps me from getting bored with food. Being bored at a meal is such a shame. I like exciting flavors or surprising food pairings. I like trying new things.

When it comes to the Lord’s supply of my daily food, his generosity is thrilling. I can feed on His words of life in the Bible and find unexpected moments of revelation. He also provides unexpected experiences with flavorful food for my body. He fills me with good things for my belly and for my soul.

What The Lord Provides

Psalm 23:1
...I shall not be in want.

When the Lord is your shepherd, you can go to him with expectation. He’s a good shepherd; he takes care of his sheep. You’ll always find an abundance in his hands.

However if you ask for something and don’t get it, remember he does that to protect us from ourselves. I wouldn’t give a couple of eight-year-olds my car keys just because they said they wanted to drive my car. But I might give my keys to a responsible adult who knows how to drive.

The Lord is able to fill you full of whatever you need. That is my expectation.

I know He has a plan, a master design. He is able to accomplish all that is necessary to get us into position to succeed in His plan. Our strengths and weaknesses were chosen because these are things He uses to form us.

He smoothes our rough edges and polishes us inside and out until we fit the requirements for the purpose He created us to fulfill. He’s already planned our victory.

He’s an artist. He sees His creation and knows exactly what to do to bring out the beauty in it.

The Lord is your designer, your craftsman, your refiner, your life-giver, your savior, and your shepherd. He is the provider of all we need.

What He doesn’t provide, I don’t want.

Follow Him

Psalm 23:1
The Lord is my shepherd

When you accept the fact that Jesus is Lord, and you ask Him to take that position in your life, many crooked places become straight and many straight places become crooked. It is so worth it to back down from trying to be the Lord of your own life. With the right people in the right positions, things get done the right way. Life is better with everyone doing their job.

If I tried to do my husband’s job for him, his boss would be quite unhappy with the quality of work. I’m not trained to do my husband’s job, but he is. Jesus is quite experienced at being Lord. I think we should let Him do His job.

He is a shepherd. A shepherd knows more than the sheep, sees more than the sheep, and can do more than the sheep. So why do sheep stray?

Distractions. We are the sheep who run about in green pastures, trying to get to the other fields. We stretch our necks across fences and hurt ourselves on the barbed wire because we think there’s something better somewhere else.

Jesus is patient and guides us back to the flock. He heals us. He carries us when we can’t walk. He provides everything for us, but still we get distracted.

All we have to do is accept him as our Lord and our shepherd – and follow Him.