Daily D – Psalm 23:2
He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters.
PSALM 23:2 (CSB)
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
(English Standard Version)
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
(New Living Translation)
Yesterday was a day of limited capacity. It would have been a good day for a nap. Sadly, such a treat was not an option. The next best thing was an early bedtime.
Settling for an on-time bedtime, sleep came swiftly and deeply before my bride finished washing her face. This is a rare occurrence.
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwarz wrote in The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal that our bodies will seek recovery. We can only cheat ourselves of sleep for so long.
King David knew this. Sleep is good for shepherds just like it is for sheep. Shepherds have to remain alert through the watches of an evening to ward off nocturnal predators. A nice nap in a shady spot while sheep rest by still waters makes long and watchful nights possible.
Different translations treat this verse differently. Some say, “lets me lie down” while others say, “makes me lie down.” I prefer “makes me lie down.” The most accomplished classical musicians sleep eight or nine hours each night and take naps during the day.
Rested minds and rested muscles perform better than those pushed beyond their prescribed limits. God does us a favor by making us lie down.
This verse also says he leads us beside quiet or still waters. Sheep are afraid of running water. The dogs and I are going for a walk in a few minutes. We will cross a stream that gently flows through the nearby neighborhoods. Our black dog, Millie, is part Labrador retriever. She often attempts to climb the fence on the bridge over this creek so that she can take a swim. However, that is not part of our mission in the morning.
One of the most relaxing experiences of life is to sit beside a body of water in an unhurried state of mind. Thoughts untangle themselves there. Tension melts away. Hurried hearts slow down. Reflection places things in proper perspective.
Summer arrived on the calendar yesterday. One of the healthiest activities of life is abandoning our work for a while. Using the opportunity to sleep without an alarm and napping whenever you like restores souls. Still waters soothe hearts and heal minds.
Rest. Reflect. Renew.
I will rest, reflect, and renew.
Our Father, thank you for the gift of rest. Thank you for moments of unhurried reflection. Thank you for restoring our souls. Use this season in whatever ways you see fit to renew us and to prepare us for full engagement in the days ahead. Amen.
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