I am currently sleeping on my favorite bed of all time. Six years ago, I built a bedroom suite, and the last thing we wanted to do was put a mattress on it that may have dated back to the Reagan years. So, we went shopping for a new mattress. In my opinion, we picked just the right one. I sleep so well on it.
My wife’s opinion is … meh.
Over the years, when we have shopped for a couch, I don’t just sit on it. Much to my wife’s embarrassment, I lie down on it. I have to. I judge a couch by its napability. I’d love to shop for a mattress or couch in a store where you can reserve a block of time in their showroom—an hour or two—to lie on a bed or mattress and take a nap. If it doesn’t register high on my napability meter, it’s not going home with me.
A good place to rest is hard to find.
There are other factors that contribute to a good rest. It’s hard to sleep when you’re upset … when you’re anxious or worried … when you’re stressed about all the things you need to do. It doesn’t matter how well your body conforms to the bed, if your heart and mind are not content, rest can allude you.
Psalm 23 paints a picture of contented rest.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need. He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters” (Ps. 23:1-2).
That’s a great image of contentedness. The sheep has nothing to worry about because the shepherd provides what is needed. The green pastures and quiet waters speak of having what the sheep needs, but the fact that he can lie down there means he doesn’t need to be on his feet and on guard for danger. The shepherd has brought him to a good place—a safe place—so he can lie down, enjoy, and rest.
It’s the shepherd who gives rest to the sheep. The sheep doesn’t merely lie down because the pastures are green. He rests because of the shepherd.
Years after David penned Psalm 23, God’s people had wandered from God—far from God.
“My people were lost sheep; their shepherds led them astray, guiding them the wrong way in the mountains. They wandered from mountain to hill; they forgot their resting place. Whoever found them devoured them. Their adversaries said, “We’re not guilty; instead, they have sinned against the Lord, their righteous grazing land, the hope of their ancestors, the Lord” (Jer. 50:6, emphasis added).
This is a far cry from the contentment found in Psalm 23. The people went looking elsewhere and “they forgot their resting place.” But notice what God identifies as that resting place. It is God Himself. The Lord is “their righteous grazing land!”
We often look at the tangible things we possess and the abundance in our lives as our green pastures, but God wants us to understand that He is the source of our contentment. He is our green pasture! We are to rest in Him.
My wife and I may differ on the perfect mattress for sleeping, but we can agree on this: God provides the sweetest rest.
“And he replied, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest’” (Ex. 33:14).
“I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety” (Ps. 4:8).
“You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you” (Isa. 26:3).
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