Psalm 23 Verse Two

It's all about rest.

by Edward Langenback

© 7/12/04

Psalms 23:2, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters."

In this verse the word maketh is translated from the Hebrew shavah {pronounced shaw-vaw'}[strongs number 7737] and means level, equalize. By implication: To Adjust, counterbalance, compose,place

The phrase 'lie down' is translated from the Hebrew rabats {pronounced raw-bats'}[strongs number 7257] to stretch oneself out, lie down, lie stretched out, to cause to lie down. This implies more than anything the idea of assuming a restfull position.

The implication here is that God actually has to MAKE us stop and rest and when you think about it, He actually does! We are so busy worrying about everything in our lives that we have forgotten that God is bringing us to a safe place and taking care of all our needs. We've gotten so caught up in doing everything we can to take care of our needs that we have forgotten Jesus' instruction that we should not worry (Matthew 6:25-34 Matthew13:22). We have forgotten to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). We have forgotten to Enter into His rest (Hebrews 4:10-11).

The next two words to look at are 'green', translated from the Hebrew deshe' {pronounced deh'-sheh} [strongs number 1877] meaning grass, new grass, green herb, young vegetation. And 'pastures' translated from the Hebrew na'ah {pronounced naw-aw'}[strongs number 4999] and means pasture, abode, abode of shepherd, habitation, meadow

Thus the first part of the verse is a picture of God causing us to assume a restful postion in a safe, peaceful place. He wants us to cease from our labors, because if we are not laboring, then we are resting and His labors are what we are depending on instead of ours. And as the word 'maketh' and it's translation implies, God is not waiting for us to volunteer to do this on our own.

God is actively leading us to that rest. The word 'leadeth' is translated from the Hebrew nahal {pronounced naw-hal'}[strongs number 5095] which means to lead, give rest, lead with care, guide to a watering place or station, cause to rest, bring to a station or place of rest, guide, refresh, to lead to a watering-place or station and cause to rest there, to lead or bring to a station or goal, to lead, guide, to give rest to, to refresh (with food)

The word 'still' is translated from m@nuwchah {pronounced men-oo-khaw'} [strongs number 4496]and means resting place, rest, quietness The word 'waters' is translated from mayim {pronounced mah'-yim}[strongs number 4325}and means waters. These two words together literally mean 'waters of rest'

Because we have steadfastly refused to make the choice to enter into His rest on our own, He causes and requires us to assume a restful position in a safe, peaceful place of restoration that He has led us to.

This whole idea of rest goes all the way back to Genesis and the Garden of Eden:

Genesis 2:2-3, "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."

This becomes really clear when we look at Ephesians 5:1, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;"

One of the most important words in this verse is 'followers', which is translated from the Greek mimetes {mim-ay-tace'}[strongs number 3402]and means 'an imitator'. God wants us to follow His example and be like Him in all that we do, just as children follow and imitate their parents.

We should then imitate God and rest from our labors:

Hebrews 4:10, "For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."

If we rest from our labors, then we are no longer the one's laboring. If we are not laboring because we have entered into His (God's) rest, then it is not us who works but God IN US who works.

It is in this resting from our own labors and trusing in and relying on God's labors that we truely allow God to work in our lives.

Jesus sums up our need for rest from our labors when He invites us to come to Him for the promise of rest.

Matthew 11:28, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Are your labors heavy? Are you burdened with things that seem too heavy to carry? Jesus has invited you to come to Him with those heavy burdens and leave them at the cross. He has invited you to come to Him and find rest for your weary soul in the shadow of the cross.

If you want to accept that invitation, pray a simple prayer like this:

"Jesus, I have burdens that are heavy and hard to carry. I have been laboring hard and getting nowhere. I know that you died to pay for my sins. I know that you rose from the dead on the third day, proving that you have defeated sin and death. Come into my heart now and live in me. I accept the rest that you are offering me. I accept the lighter burden that you would have me carry. Thank you for bearing the burden of my sins. Thank you for setting me free to rest from my own labors. Thank you for laboring for me."