He Makes Me Lie Down—Life Application for September 17, 2017

September 10, 2017 No Comments »
He Makes Me Lie Down—Life Application for September 17, 2017

By David Faust

If you are a parent you probably can relate to the following scene. A weary mom tells her toddler, “You need to lie down and take a nap.” The child retorts, “But I’m not tired.” And the mother insists, “You need to take a nap because Mommy is tired!”

God never grows tired, but we do. “Even youths grow tired and weary” (Isaiah 40:30). Many of us could use more margin—more room for rest and renewal. That’s why it’s intriguing to read in the twenty-third Psalm, “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2).

“He makes me?” Why does the Good Shepherd make me rest? You’d think I would want to lie down without any prompting, but often I resist the Lord’s gracious intentions and fill my calendar with one meeting and task after another—even one recreational and entertainment activity after another—until there is no white space on the pages of my life, no margin so I can catch my breath. God knows how we’re wired. He recognizes that our bodies and minds need down time so we can catch up, rest up, and look up to our Creator.

God’s Good Gifts

The Lord told the Hebrews to remember the Sabbath and stop working one day out of seven. By the time of Christ, religious traditions had turned the Sabbath into a minefield of burdensome rules and regulations, but that was never God’s intent. Jesus insisted, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

God’s plan includes a healthy rhythm where work is the norm (“Six days you shall labor and do all your work”) punctuated by regular time off that provides a change of pace (Exodus 20:9, 10). When Moses received the Ten Commandments, the Hebrews only recently had been delivered from slavery in Egypt. There’s no margin in the lifestyle of a slave, nor do slaves get to exercise any rights of self-determination. Along with exhilarating new freedom, God gave his people the responsibility to manage their schedules and make time for rest and renewal in their weekly routines.

Refreshed Souls

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). But how? “He refreshes my soul” (Psalm 23:3). But when?

God makes us lie down when we’re tired. Stretching out on our beds every night renews our strength. When life gets so busy your things-to-do-list looks overwhelming, don’t delude yourself into thinking you could get more done if you sleep fewer hours every night. Your body isn’t designed to be a nonstop working machine. Sleep is a gift from God and a nightly reminder of our human limitations. God never sleeps, but we must.

He makes us lie down when we’re sick. A hospital bed can be God’s version of a green pasture where he makes us lie down until our health is restored. Seasons of recovery from illness, surgery, or injury—difficult as they are—provide opportunities for spiritual growth.

He will make us lie down when we die. When our bodies become exhausted beyond what sleep can renew, we still can “dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). Until then, let’s embrace those sweet interludes of rest that remind us of God’s grace and energize us to serve him tirelessly now and forever.

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

As you apply today’s Scripture study to everyday life, read Engage Your Faith by David Faust and the correlating Evaluation Questions.

Daily Readings

Sept. 4


Genesis 17:15-17

Sarai (Sarah), Mother of Many Nations

Sept. 5


Genesis 17:20-22

Ishmael, Father of a Nation

Sept. 6


Genesis 17:23-27

All Males of Abraham’s Household Circumcised

Sept. 7


Acts 7:1-8

Circumcision Event Remembered

Sept. 8


Romans 4:13-25

God’s Promise Realized through Faith

Sept. 9


Hebrews 8:1-8

Jesus, Mediator of Better Covenant

Sept. 10


Genesis 17:1-14

God’s Covenant with Abraham Reaffirmed

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