"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down."
Psalms is full of David's battle to find that resting place. In fact he had many difficulties, pressures setbacks, obstacles - all kinds of challenges, but he said “I'm never lacking, because God is my provider and my source”.
He came to rest inside, in God. The kingdom of God is about rest, not works.
“He that has entered into rest has ceased from his own works.”
Psalm 23 - I want to speak on the Rest of Faith. I've had such a great time in the rest of faith more recently, and I want to talk to you about it - it will help you.
Psalm 23:1-2 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down”. He makes me lie down - so David is expressing his personal relationship with God. This is a psalm written by a shepherd, and he's defining his walk with God, or his relationship with God, in terms of: I have made the Lord my shepherd. If you read through all of the rest of the psalms, you'll find then he talks about the blessings, which flow by faith, out of that relationship.
He says: the Lord is my shepherd, therefore I shall not want. I'll lack for nothing. I have everything I need, because I've made Him my shepherd.
It doesn't mean he didn't have troubles, or lacks, in his life. In fact he had many. He had many difficulties, many pressures, setbacks, obstacles - all kinds of challenges; but he said: I'm never lacking, because God is my provider and my source.
He came to rest inside, in God; and if you read psalms, it's full of his battle to find that resting place.
Most people read it like: “He makes me lie down in green pastures” - but sheep don't lie down in green pastures.
In the Bible, sheep lay down in the ‘fold’ - in the sheep fold; so it reads more like this: “He makes me lie down. In green pastures He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul”.
It's just, sometimes people don't read it right, but if you look it up in Ezekiel 34:14, it tells very clearly that: “He calls us to lie down in the sheep folds”.
The sheep folds were a place of protection. They were surrounded; the shepherd slept at the doorway. It was a place where the sheep were safe.
If you've ever seen a sheep lying down, they're usually chewing the cud; and they are easily disturbed - they frighten easily, scatter easily.
So when a sheep is lying down and chewing the cud, it is perfectly at rest. That means: no stress, anxiety, pressure, worries, demands; it's at a place of rest.
Notice that it says: “HE makes me lie down”. This is something that comes from God - the ability to rest, and be at peace in your heart in life, no matter what you're facing.
This is the thing: what is it that God wants you to rest from? It's not from doing things. God expects us to be busy for His kingdom; but the rest he's talking about is an internal rest, that can only come about by faith. It's an internal rest, and a peace.
Everywhere we are, and I particularly noticed this in Australia recently, the two most common problems that came up in the altar calls: 1) Anxiety; 2) depression.
That quite surprised me. Over and over and over and over again, when I asked people what are the problems you're facing: anxiety, or worry and stress about life; and the second thing was depression, a feeling of despair, that they could never get on top of the pressure they were facing in life.
In spite of all the iPads, phones, texting, and everything else, there's a state of increasing stress on people. People are not rested.
People in fact are more stressed and pressured than ever before; so when it says: ‘rest’, its rest from internal stress.
It is rest from: anxiety, fear, danger; the worry about what will happen in the future. Rest from guilt about your mistakes; rest from striving to get somewhere in life.
It's a rest from effort, from having to work hard to be a good Christian, work hard to get the victory, work hard to get on top. It's about that.
It's about resting from all of that, and coming to a place where: no longer do you exude stress and anxiety; but you carry an atmosphere of peace and rest in your heart.
That's something all of us can come into - this is the rest of faith; and it's a fruit, and an outcome of your relationship.
It's not something you work at - you don't work hard to get into a place of rest. It comes as a result of doing something else - so we want to help you find that.