I read a quote from A. W. Tozer: “God leads us, does not drive us.” The psalmist also says, “He leads me beside quiet waters.” Yet I notice that in verse two, he also states, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” Are there times when the leading seems like forcing or driving? The Psalm starts with the Lord is my Shepherd I lack or want nothing. In other words, He meets my needs. That is the context He takes care of us and is with us even in the “valley of the shadow of death.” So we must not forget the provisional caring nature of our Great Shepherd. As with many biblical concepts, a couple of things must be held in creative tension!
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Two sides of the same caring Love of God:
- He makes me
- He leads me
Notice what the writer says He makes me do: lie down, that is, slow down, rest, recuperate, recharge and renew. These are concepts that are hard to accept by us hard-charging types. We who are doers and activity-oriented find rest and lying down to be unproductive! Yet rest is not just important but vital, necessary. There have been times when, amid my plans, the Lord has ‘made’ me stop, slow down, rest, and in the process, renewed my strength. He is the God who created the Sabbath and wants us to consistently and regularly recharge, rest, and remember He is our source!
Another takeaway from this verse: God leads us; He does not drive us. Being raised around a blind person helped me gain insight into this concept. As I would lead my grandmother to her Sunday School classroom, through stores, and on neighborhood walks, she would take my arm, and I would lead her. Early on, I noticed if someone who had not been around blind people wanted to guide my grandmother, they would grab her arm and push her forward. Nothing is more frightening to a blind person than being pushed into the unknown. She wanted to take my arm and let me lead, and she would follow my steps confidently. That is how it is with God. He doesn’t push me into the future. He guides me and directs me as I follow His lead. Today I am thankful for His leadership in my life. He has led me to pleasant places, and there were times I was frightened by the thought of what lies ahead. Through it all, He has been faithful. I can testify that He is always there and I am confident He will continue to lead and guide me into the future. You can trust Him!
Be encouraged He will lead His people. Part of His leading is making us lie down, rest, and trust Him for and in every situation.