He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2
God chose to clad the earth in green. Genesis 1:30 talks about the “green herb[s]” and Deuteronomy 12:2 speaks of the “green tree[s].” Psalm 23:2 says, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures.” The writer of Psalm 52 said, “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever” (verse 8). Jesus taught the multitudes as they sat “down in groups on the green grass” (Mark 6:39).
Green reminds us of growth, and we grow the fastest when we sit down on the green grass, as it were, and listen to Jesus. It’s really a lovely scene to contemplate. Imagine Jesus teaching and giving wonderful, life-changing lessons, while you sit on your blanket or lawn chair listening to Him and soaking in every word.
We can do that every day!
Each morning when I went downstairs to breakfast, my father—a busy missionary surgeon—would be sitting reading his Bible. At night, her work behind her, my mother would be doing the same…. So at an early age I began reading my Bible and found it to be, in the words of the old Scotsman, “sweet pasturage.” Ruth Bell Graham
Psalm 23 • The Lord is my Shepherd
After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. Hebrews 6:15
Gripped by the gravity of the promises he was making to LaShonne, Jonathan found himself stumbling as he repeated his wedding vows. He thought, How can I make these promises and not believe they’re possible to keep? He made it through the ceremony, but the weight of his commitments remained. After the reception, Jonathan led his wife to the chapel where he prayed—for more than two hours—that God would help him keep his promise to love and care for LaShonne.
Jonathan’s wedding-day fears were based on the recognition of his human frailties. But God, who promised to bless the nations through Abraham’s offspring (Galatians 3:16), has no such limitations. To challenge his Jewish Christian audience to perseverance and patience to continue in their faith in Jesus, the writer of Hebrews recalled God’s promises to Abraham, the patriarch’s patient waiting, and the fulfillment of what had been promised (Hebrews 6:13–15). Abraham and Sarah’s status as senior citizens was no barrier to the fulfillment of God’s promise to give Abraham “many descendants” (v. 14).
Are you challenged to trust God despite being weak, frail, and human? Are you struggling to keep your commitments, to fulfill your pledges and vows? In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God promises to help us: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” For more than thirty-six years God has helped Jonathan and LaShonne to remain committed to their vows. Why not trust Him to help you?
Reflect & Pray
Why do we find God’s promises to help us difficult to embrace? What promises are you challenged to keep in this season of your life?
God, thank You for being faithful in Your commitments to me. Help me to be faithful in my commitments to You and others.
Have you ever wondered about the less familiar names in the Bible? Many people are mentioned just once—often in a genealogy and identified only as “the father of …” But one lesser-known father is mentioned 11 times in the Gospels and always in association with his sons. His name is Zebedee, and he’s the father of two of Christ’s disciples.
All we know is that he was a fisherman in Galilee, the father of James and John, and the husband of Salome (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40). Although there is no mention of Zebedee following Jesus, perhaps his influence is seen in the fact that his sons and his wife loved their Messiah and were faithful to Him (Matt. 20:20).
Zebedee accomplished what every Christian father should aspire to achieve—he raised his children to follow Christ. What greater joy could we have than to see our sons and daughters walking with Jesus, not just in the early years but even after they grow up and leave home?
The key to this kind of influence is the example we set for our family. No matter what we say, it’s our actions that reveal who we really are and what we truly believe. When we’re fully committed to Christ in daily life, our children will see—and hopefully they will long to follow Him, as we have
“Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.” (Psalm 119:57)
Three stanzas within the 22 stanzas of Psalm 119 have all eight Hebrew terms used to describe the Word of God. How appropriate it is that the central theme in these verses (vv. 57- 64) provides us succinct ways to keep (guard) His Word.
Principally, our “whole heart” must be involved in seeking the “favour” of God (v. 58). The “great commandment” (Matthew 22:38) rests on loving God with “all” of our hearts. If we seek God’s blessing, both during our earthly life and in the eternity to come, we can “trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Such a heart thinks (considers, reckons) about the ways of God and turns (turns back, corrects) its “feet unto [His] testimonies” (Psalm 119:59). The godly life is not an unplanned life. The godly life seeks to understand and obey the words of God’s Word. And the godly life makes “haste” and will not delay in keeping His commandments (Psalm 119:60).
Circumstances may cause temporary difficulties in the life of a godly person (Psalm 119:61), but he will not forget the laws of God. Rather, he will rise at “midnight” (the deepest time of trouble) to give thanks to our Lord “because of thy righteous judgments” (Psalm 119:62).
The one who wants to guard the Word of God is a companion of those who fear God and keep the precepts of the Word (Psalm 119:63). The godly heart sees the mercy of the Lord everywhere and longs for the “Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28) to teach it the eternal statutes of His Word (Psalm 119:64). May “such an heart” (Deuteronomy 5:29) be ours as we seek to serve Him. HMM III