Shepherd Day 5 Quiet Waters: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post,
Quiet Waters!

Psalm 23:2 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

The Questions

1) What are these “green pastures”?

2) What do the “still waters” reference?

3) What is reasoning for using different words of “make” and “lead”?

The Findings for Intention

1) What are these “green pastures”?
In our Western mindset, we read “green pastures” and we think this:
But green pastures in the Negev area of ancient Old Testament when David would have been writing look like this: 
As David penned these God-inspired words, his focus wasn’t on over-abundance and physical materialism, it was seeing Yahweh as providing exactly what he needed at exactly the right time. Just as David shepherded his own flocks, bringing them into the sufficient sustenance they needed to be healthy, he knew the Lord was his own shepherd. In much that same manner that God provided exactly the right amount of manna as Israel was led through the desert, David was referring to this kind of deep knowing and exact filling. He knew he would never be in want, and he rested firmly in that knowledge as he enjoyed the very good gift of being made to lie down in “green pastures”.

2) What do the “still waters” reference?
Still waters in David’s psalm were exactly as they sound to our ears, unlike the image we call to mind for “green pastures”. These waters did not reference a rushing river with force and might, pressing furiously forward at all costs, neither were they a stagnant pool where nothing moved and decay easily grew. Rather, these waters were a quiet stream. Clear, cool, and refreshing, offering peace and renewal and communion with the Shepherd as the follow up in verse 3 implies “He restores my soul.” Shepherd David knew that strong waters would frighten the sheep and they wouldn’t rest or be at peace, while drinking from pond water would produce a plethora of diseases. David knew how to best provide an atmosphere of peace and refreshment for his flock, and he chose to trust that same provision in the Shepherd heart of Yahweh God as well. David chose to take up the offer of quiet waters, he chose the opportunities given him to be still and remind himself that he was the Lord’s sheep.

3) What is reasoning for using different words of “make” and “lead”?
The literal translation for the first part of the verse “He makes me lie down in green pastures” actually doesn’t include a word for “He makes me”, rather it reads: “pastures green, lie down”. The inference is a strong, implied command from authority. In English, we would call it an imperative sentence with no wiggle room to do whatever you please. If a parent were to tell a child, “do not cross the road”, it would be an imperative command with authority behind it. Here we see the same thing. Feasting on “green pastures” or as we see in the New Testament when Jesus says, “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4), is a command with God’s authority behind it towards His children (ie: all Christians). Living daily by taking in God’s Word is an imperative command with no negotiation. The transliteration for the remainder of that verse looks like this: “beside waters quiet, leads”. The believer is required to “eat” God’s Word, but he or she is neither required, nor expected, to bring about their own peace and rest; the Shepherd leads them into it. “Lead” is also translated “guide”. It’s the idea of holding a child’s hand and showing them exactly which steps to take to arrive safely at their destination. The child doesn’t need to get there on their own, but simply allow herself to be led and guided into rest.

The Everyday Application

1) What are these “green pastures”?
When we see the reality of the genuine image for “green pastures”, it helps us re-frame our thoughts and expectations of the Lord’s care for us. In what ways are you expecting “greener pastures” than what you’re experiencing? Maybe it’s your marriage or a strained relationship or financial struggles, whatever it is, begin shifting your perspective to see “green pastures” in the middle of less-than-perfect circumstances. Difficult situations will always surround us, it’s the Lord’s shepherding heart that teaches us to respond by relying on His perfect sustenance in our times of deep need. Every moment, every day, His green pastures are available and His Spirit is ready to provide everything you need. Eat, be nourished, take in the food of His Word, and learn to trust His good shepherd heart!

2) What do the “still waters” reference?
Sustenance and Sleep. Those are our most basic essentials, and the Lord God provides them both as He is shepherd of our souls. In green pastures, He gives us His Word to feast upon, which, if we are willing to follow His leading, He will bring us to the rest of quiet waters. One begets the other. Just as in natural life, after enjoying a filling feast, our bodies desire to rest and enjoy the company of those around us, so the spiritual life echoes the same. When chaotic everyday life is met with an insistence on feasting on God’s Word for necessary food, we are ushered into the place of quiet waters where we find peace, courage, and steadiness despite our changing circumstances. Where are you feeling the “crazy” cutting you too close? Come away, “eat” with the Shepherd, delight in His Word. Don’t let your busy schedule deceive you, for you will accomplish much more when you slow to eat, be revived by His Word, and be given rest by quiet waters than you ever will without Him! Choose to dine and rest with the Shepherd of your soul today!

3) What is reasoning for using different words of “make” and “lead”?
Are you missing out on the peace that David says comes with “quiet waters”? Are you trying to create your own peace or perhaps attempting to chase after it? These longings for peace are good and are designed by God for you! But we cannot enjoy the relief of true peace without first feasting on His Word! Rather than trying to “find peace” or squeeze moments of peace into your busy life, choose instead to meet with the Lord by reading His Word and setting aside time to study the Bible each day. Follow the imperative first, and allow the Shepherd to bring you into His peace! It doesn’t have to be daunting, it doesn’t have to be an hour of “super spiritual” Bible study, simply go, sit down, and open your Bible! Pick a short book in the New Testament, or read the book of John, to get a good start. You can even set a timer on your phone for 7 minutes to give you a good “starting line” for timing. As you read, you’ll probably have some questions or some parts will stick out to you. Write those down! The Lord is speaking to your heart and drawing you in deeper! (and if you’d like to chat about those questions, we’d love to hear from you! Send us an email or share your thoughts on our Facebook Community Page!)

Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study, Quiet Waters!
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I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into
Shepherd Week One!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Shepherd!