I am thinking about green pastures today.
It’s not because we have a few inches of snow on the ground and I’m ready for spring.
I am thinking of green pastures because of the green pastures I saw on my trip to Israel and Turkey in 2016.
Before the trip, Psalm 23 would often make me think of funerals because that is about the only time I would hear it read out loud. Images of bright green peaceful fields would flood my mind, a place where there was so much green grass that a sheep could eat all it wanted and not have to move. Except maybe to sun itself on it’s another side.
When I think of green pastures this is the image in my head. It could be flat green pastures but either way, there is an abundance of green.
But this is not the land in which Psalm 23 was penned.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
This is what it looks like in Israel when a shepherd leads his sheep. Shepherds have led sheep over these hills and paths for generations.
This is the land where Psalm 23 was penned.
You might be asking where the grass is, what are they eating because it looks like rocks and sand. Believe it or not, there are small tufts of grass there. You can almost make out a green haze when the sun hits it just right. There is not an abundance, there is just enough. The sheep might get a mouthful of grass and then have to move to the next little tuft of grass. There is no laying around in a cushy, plush green field of grass eating when they feel like it. They must keep moving, following the paths of those who have gone before.
When I think about this now, I see a lesson in trust and in contentment.
Being content with God providing just enough. Maybe not everything I want but all that I need.
Trusting the leading and the voice of the shepherd. The sheep move at the sound of the shepherd’s voice and they trust his voice. He will not lead them into danger, if you notice the shepherd is on a horse at the top of the hill, simply leading the sheep with his voice.
He knows where the grass will be, he knows what they need to survive. Life is not always easy but in trusting and believing God’s love for me, I have never lacked for anything. I have hopes and dreams, things that I want, but I am reminded today of God’s goodness. Today it is cold and we have several inches of snow on the ground. But I have a good house that is warm, full of love with sunlight bouncing off the snow and dazzling my eyes as I type. I have food to eat, a family that loves me, a “job” that I love, and a fresh cup of coffee on my desk.