July 31 – Waters and Green Pastures

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As a Christian, we often place ourselves in lush, green fields next to a bubbling, cool creek, when we read Psalm 23:2. I hate to tear that beautiful picture up, but we must remember: this is a Jewish poem. Israel’s grazing land is anything but lush. What fields they do have are solely dedicated to farmers, so the sheep are sent to wander the rocky terrain of the wilderness to find their food.

The humidity that’s carried in from the winds of the Mediterranean, settles at the bases of rocks, overnight. In the morning, little shoots of grass have grown and it’s the shepherd’s job to lead his flock to a barren hillside that contains plenty of these arbitrarily grown sprouts. The phrase that Israelis have for these tufts of grass: green pastures. Hardly the flowing alfalfa fields we often envision, but the shepherd always finds enough to satisfy his flock for the day.

If we think that the Christian life promises abundance and sweet solitude, we miss the point that the Shepherd supplies His sheep’s needs for today. You must remember: The sheep are simple, and they don’t worry about tomorrow. Therefore, the sheep can lie down, satisfied – not because he’s surrounded by more grass than he can ingest – but because the Shepherd provided today, so that means the sheep can trust Him for tomorrow’s needs, too.

Submitted by Emily Ertley

Daily Reading: Isaiah 26-28

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