2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
The LORD is depicted in Psalm 23 as the Shepherd of His people. Like the shepherd who leads the flock to green pastures and still waters, the LORD leads His people gently to all that nourish and refresh their souls. He is their ever-willing, never-failing Shepherd. He not only knows their needs, but also adequately and appropriately provides for them. This is why the psalmist assuredly said, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
The psalmist’s delight in the personal attention that he received from the LORD, his Shepherd, is very evident throughout this psalm. The continual use of the personal pronouns “I”, “me” and “my” in this psalm denotes the joy of the psalmist in the personal relationship he enjoyed with the LORD. He was constantly under the loving care of his Shepherd.
The first picture of the shepherd making his sheep “to lie down in green pastures” is indicative of the contentment and repose that the LORD provides for His people. The Hebrew words for “green pastures” can mean “pastures of young grass”. The Hebrew word translated “green” (deshe) refers to new shoots of grass, which the sheep love to feed on. Sheep which are fully fed will lie down on the grass in contentment. Likewise, the LORD’s people who are fed by Him shall always enjoy calm contentment in their souls.
The second picture of the shepherd leading the sheep “beside the still waters” is yet another description of the LORD’s tender care for His people. Normally, the sheep is wary of rapid torrents. The rushing water and its noise frighten the sheep; so it would shrink from drinking of it. Only from quiet bodies of water will the sheep feel comfortable to drink. Thus, the shepherd will have to find some quiet and gentle flowing stream for the sheep to quench its thirst. He pays attention to the sufficient and suitable supply for the needs of the sheep.
The LORD will take care of all His children with a perfect supply for their needs. The supply of His grace will provide for all their needs, both spiritual and material. But are we grateful to the LORD for His gracious provisions and leading? Should we not exalt Him with our testimonies of His goodness, as David did in this psalm?