The Peace of the Sheep

Tim Trumper

READ : Psalm 23

He leads me beside the still waters. (Psalm 23:2b NKJV)

The plentiful lakes and rivers in my adopted home of Michigan make desperation for water difficult to imagine. The first readers of Psalm 23 could anticipate just two seasons of rain per year: the early and later rains. The rest of the year was dry. How the sheep appreciated the shepherd leading them beside waters of rest! Not only did the waters quench their thirst, they also helped the sheep to digest the grass on which they fed.

Water is one picture Scripture gives us of the Holy Spirit. Like water, the Spirit supplies the sheep with vitality and helps them to digest the grass of God’s Word. God’s Word without the Spirit is a dry orthodoxy that fills the head but leaves the heart untouched. God’s Spirit without the Word is an empty mysticism that excites the soul but fails to nourish it. In short, God’s Spirit and Word, although distinct, are both necessary for the health of his sheep.

The waters the Lord leads us beside are still or quiet. Slow-running waters are the only ones sheep will drink from. David reminds us that while troubles can be blessed to us, we need seasons of peace as well.

PRAYER

Lord, grant me days of peace for refreshment and nourishment by your Spirit and Word, through Jesus I pray. Amen.