It's not easy for sheep to lie down.
Several verses in the Bible remind us that the Lord is a good shepherd and He will lead us to a place of peace.
"He makes me lie down in green pastures" (Ps. 23:1b).
Among other things, sheep must feel secure to lie down. Lambs are vulnerable to many predators because of their shape and weight.
"'I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,' declares the Lord God" (Ezek. 34:14-15).
These verses shed light on the Lord's shepherding style. In contrast to the self-serving rulers of Israel, He promises to lead the flock to graze in better pastures and on the grassy mountains of Israel. The Lord's care is described from the receiver's perspective: They will lie down in the good pasture and graze in greener meadows.
It is clear in verse 15 that the leader "caused" His followers to eat well and to rest.
God loves us and leads us through the power of the Holy Spirit. The metaphor of a good shepherd is at once comforting and challenging.
It is challenging because sheep must submit to leadership. Sheep prefer to wander in search of greener pastures. Sheep love their independence until a wolf eyes the flock buffet.
It's the rod and staff of the shepherd that rescues wayward lambs. The rod launches toward the wolf. The staff yanks the sheep into a place of peace.
"As I have moved among men and women from all strata of society as both a lay pastor and as a scientist, I have become increasingly aware of one thing," wrote Phillip Keller in A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm. "It is the boss—the manager—the Master in people's lives who makes the difference in their destiny."
The love of a leader creates an environment of peace.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, released July 2017.
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