6 Things Psalms 23 Teaches Us About Rest

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Is your life so busy right now that it’s hard to find the time to sit down and read God’s Word?

Maybe you’ve thought to yourself, “I know memorizing Scripture is a good habit, but I just don’t have the time to do that right now.”

Perhaps you’ve felt a sharp sting when reading the quote, “If you’re too busy to read God’s Word, you’re too busy.”

I think all of us have been here at different times in our Christian walk; the truth is, life moves at a warp speed in this generation.

Partly, because there are so many things we’re told we need to do to be happy and successful.

Are we happy? We may be successful in the world’s eyes, but does that equate with spiritual success? These are very important questions to ask ourselves right now.

Perhaps God may be calling us to completely change our measurement for happiness and success.

And perhaps that change will have a monumental impact on our future, our relationship with our husband and children, and transform the way we interact with our church.

woman barefoot on bed drinking coffee

Everyday while washing dishes, I look out my kitchen window just over my sink, and watch the neighbors sheep grazing in the field that borders our house on two sides of our property.

What’s fun is just after the New Year when there are a handful of lambs jumping and playing.

I have often reflected on the 23rd Psalm while watching them; thinking about how often God has referred to us as sheep and lambs — and how well we fit that description.

This week we’re starting a new study with Good Morning Girls: Slowing Down for Spiritual Growth, as Courtney’s 12th annual Making Your Home a Haven Bible Study.

Our focus this week is on Psalm 23 – all about sheep and the shepherd.

In today’s post, I am breaking down this chapter verse by verse to illustrate how God has ordained rest – soul rest – for the believer, and how clearly this Psalm illustrates just that!

Rest is Necessary for Spirit Growth

We know that the Scripture does not contain coincidence; nothing is said accidentally, so it is no coincidence that we are called sheep and that Jesus is our Good Shepherd.

1. When God is our Shepherd, we do not need to worry

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (v1)

In one of Jesus’ sermons, He reminded His followers that if earthly fathers want to give their children the good things that they need and want, how much more does God want to give us good things when we ask Him.

God is our Shepherd, and as God, He has all power to provide us everything we need.

We have no reason to ever worry or be anxious about our needs. Anxiety and worry over our needs displays a lack of trust in God’s sovereign power to provide for us.

It in fact says to God, “You are not able to provide for my needs, so I need to try to provide for myself on my own!”

Sheep never worry about what they will eat, because they trust in their shepherd to lead them to their source of food each and every day.

2. We need rest to thrive spiritually

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. (v2)

Sheep are ruminators, and ruminating animals must lie down in order for their digestive system to properly function. Without rest, their digestive systems does not properly function and that can be harmful and even fatal to them.

When they are in danger, their only defense is to run, so sheep will not lie down unless they are at ease and know they are safe.

It is the same for the Christian.

We cannot properly digest the Word of God if we are just reading on the run. A short devotional here, a verse of the day there.

That is not how we were created to grow spiritually.

In order for us to spiritually thrive, we must choose to set aside blocks of time when we quiet our souls and minds in order to properly hear from God and receive His Word.

In an age when we are surrounded by every kind of noise, from digital noise and the constant busy-ness of running from one errand to another to the pressure and anxiety we feel from deadlines, the news, and whatever we may feel we’re missing out on, this is a challenge.

But it is a challenge we must commit ourselves to, if we truly wish to grow spiritually.

3. After seasons of busy-ness and constant noise, we must invest in seasons of refreshment

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (v3)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in a long season of pressure, demands, and intense responsibility. My day begins at 4:30 in the morning and ends about 9:30-10:00 at night.

I don’t stop all day long.

It’s just the season of life I’m in as a busy work-from-home, homeschooling mom.

But, we cannot stay in these seasons indefinitely. God didn’t create us for that. Not only do these seasons drain us physically, they drain our soul and spirit, too.

We need to spend time in the presence of God, allowing Him to restore our souls.

4. When God is our Shepherd, we can live completely free from fear

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (v.4)

Notice that this Psalm not only does not say that bad things will not happen to us, when God is our Shepherd; it says that there will be times when we will experience tribulation.

But when we do experience tribulation, we can still walk in total peace, because we know God is with us.

A shepherd cannot carry his sheep on dangerous paths. Even if he had just one sheep, it would be too heavy for him to carry. But, shepherds have whole flocks of sheep they lead; making carrying sheep through difficult paths impossible!

However, they have their rod and staff that they lay across their sheep to comfort them and let them know that he is near.

The rod and staff are for comfort and assurance.

God’s Word and His precious promises are His comfort to us.

As we daily spend time in God’s presence, meditating on His Word, we find our faith is strengthened and a supernatural peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7) as we walk through tribulation and troubling times.

5. When God is our Shepherd, we can live at peace even when surrounded by trouble

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. (v5)

Have you ever been so overcome with anxiety that you couldn’t eat? I have been so many times. I recall a season about four years ago when I was so deep in anxiety that I couldn’t eat, and barely even drank water, for three whole days.

I never want to experience that level of anxiety again!

And I don’t have to. No matter what comes my way, I know that I will never sink that deep into anxiety again because through that experience, I came to know God on a much deeper level.

During those three days of unplanned fasting, I was crying out to Him day and night.

I meditated on verses having to do with peace, and by the end of those three days I had a tremendous breakthrough.

Since that time, I have worked on my “faith muscle” so that every time I am tempted to fall into the trap of anxiety I am able to walk away faster and faster.

When God is our Shepherd, we can feast at His table in perfect peace and tranquility, even when we’re surrounded by our enemies.

He cares for us with His soothing oil and refreshes us with endless refreshment in our cup!

We have nothing at all to fear. He is our provider and our defense!

6. When God is our Shepherd, He turns all things for our good

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (v.6)

Romans 8:28 promises us that God will work all things for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

No matter what circumstances we face in life, we can rest assured that God will be glorified through them, because He is God and He will be glorified for His name’s sake!

And this very special Psalm ends with that declaration.

A declaration we need to train our heart to be full assured of: No matter what I face in life, God’s goodness and mercy will follow me for the rest of my life!

The Hebrew word for “follow” in this verse literally means to pursue you and chase you.

To hunt you down.

This is a rather aggressive tone. We could say, “Surely goodness and mercy will pursue me, chase me, hunt me down, and tackle me all the days of my life!”

That is amazing news!!

God is serious and very aggressive about turning things for our good!

He wants us to walk in His perfect peace and rest, but it’s up to us to make that choice.

Let’s do that today. Today, let’s make the choice to choose to slow down and rest in His presence, to allow Him to renew us, restore us, fill us with His joy and peace.

There is nothing on our agenda that is more important than this decision right here.

No deadline, no need, no list, no schedule is more important than sitting in God’s presence to meditate on His Word, to chew and digest what He has spoken to us, to allow that soothing oil to flow over us, and His endless cup of refreshment to fill us….

So that as we get up and go about our day, we can maintain that spirit of peace and rest — and let that peace and rest flow from us from the inside out as a soothing refreshment to those around us.

A Little More About Good Morning Girls and My Groups

Good Morning Girls is an online Bible study for women. Began by Courtney Joseph in her church, she took the Bible study to the Internet in 2009 and invited ladies all over America to join her in keeping each other accountable to their daily time with the Lord.

Little did she know that this Bible study would extend beyond the borders of America to literally every region of the world!!

In 2014 I joined Courtney, together with my dear friends Misty, Mandy and Bridget, in helping to lead Good Morning Girls. It has been an amazing journey as we’ve watched Good Morning Girls not only grow beyond what we could have dreamed or imagine, but we’ve had the amazing honor to see women’s lives changed by daily digging into God’s Word!

Good Morning Girls is a simple study – we simply read the Bible.

We believe that there is power in the Word of God and the Word of God alone can defeat the enemy. So we read one chapter a day 5 days a week. And we will continue this method until we’ve read through the entire Bible!!

All the materials are free and are available at Women Living Well!

In the summer of 2012 I opened the very first Good Morning Girls group in Croatia.

12 women, all members of my church.

I had no idea where it would lead. But by the following summer it exploded to cover the countries of Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.

You can read the story here

How to join us

If you’d like more information about Good Morning Girls Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, you can find our blog here, follow us on Facebook. Learn about our leaders and join one of their groups here.

In 2017, my dear friend Mary and I opened up our first International study group in English. You can find us at:

Good Morning Girls in the Word on Facebook
GMG in the Word on Whatsapp
Good Morning Girls in the Word on Telegram
Or join the email group at [email protected]

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