Smacked Down - He Said
By Eddie Jones
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.” Psalm 23: 1-2
- Listen to Smacked Down! - by Eddie Jones
Sometimes it takes total terror to make us lie down in green pastures.
In his book, A Soldier’s Faith, author John Loving tells of his first days in Vietnam and how on a recon mission a U.S. patrol boat mistakenly fired upon his unit. He dropped to the ground, burrowed into the soft mud of a rice paddy and prayed for God’s protection. Sometimes the safest place to be is in on your belly, arms outstretched, in total dependence on God.
I recently spent a night of terror in an Atlanta airport. I’d arrived a little after nine on a Sunday evening. I was traveling alone, had missed my connection and didn’t have a cell. The pay phone refused to accept my phone card. I had fifty-five dollars in my pocket. All I wanted to do was find a quiet place to lie down. Hartsfield wasn’t Vietnam but it felt foreign to me.
Near the cab stand I found a phone bank for area hotels, called one and was told they were full. The man suggested I call back in ten minutes, that a room might come available. I wasn’t sure about a hotel whose vacancy status changed on the hour but as long as the other guests didn’t shoot through the walls or yell too loudly I’d take it.
When I arrived the hotel restaurant was closing. I’d had one Pop Tart all day. Across the street was a KFC, so I took my chicken tenders back to the room, fell on my knees and thanked God for a bed.
Then I wept.
At two A.M. I awoke with this verse in my head. “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
He makes me.
Nothing about my trip had gone right but God was in the moment. I learned later that had I arrived in Managua, Nicaragua that evening, as planned, I would have missed the chicken bus out of town and been forced to sleep in a place much worse than a Comfort Inn. God had knocked me down that I might rise, again.
I’ve noticed He does that — smack us down so that we’re forced to rest and depend on Him. Only then can we realize His all-loving sufficiency.
Has God knocked you down? Has a financial setback, sudden health issue or family situation forced your face to the ground? Don’t resist. Rest, study His word and pray It just may be that God is preparing you for a long march toward a greater ministry for His kingdom.
He Makes Me
By Cindy Sproles
By Cindy Sproles
- Listen to He Makes Me - Cindy Sproles
"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, and he leads me beside quiet waters,”Psalm 23:1-2
My Heart calls me to you again. My soul cries from lack of understanding. My ears hear only the breeze that blows in the trees above me and my eyes, see only the sun’s reflections off the water. And I wonder what did David mean when he said “I shall not be in want.”
I want for a lot. I have need for much, yet I find little. And still I wonder what David meant by, “I shall not be in want.”
When I stand on the side lines pleading for the needs of others and there is silence. When I ask every way I know how, yet the Shepherd does not answer, I wonder what David meant. I wonder what more I must do, what more I must say, how much louder I must shout before the Shepherd hears.
He makes me lie down…..there’s nothing worse than being forced to lie down. I need to be sitting or standing. I need to see what is coming my way. Yet, the Shepherd makes me lie down. There’s no option—no choice.
So here I lie—face down, belly on the floor, still in want. Still in need. Where is the comfort in The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures?
Why is it we must be forced into complete turmoil and shoved to our stomachs before we are allowed to see where the Shepherd is leading us? Perhaps we are far too self-sufficient. Perhaps we stop relying on God—and perhaps, we do it unwittingly.
I can’t answer. It’s my thought David couldn’t either and maybe this is why he penned the lament in the Twenty-third Psalm. For such words of peace, such words of faith and belief to have been written from his heart, he must have been in a season where he suffered.
There are seasons in our lives when God forces us to lie down. When He takes us to our stomachs kicking and screaming, just as the shepherd pressed the hook of his staff against the neck of stubborn sheep, He holds us in that position of submission until our heart surrenders. Often we can’t see why. Many times we think we’re in that submissive spot when really, our eyes and hearts fool us.
David was right. The Lord is my shepherd and even when I think I am wanting, He knows exactly what I need and when I need it. He makes me lie down in green pastures beside quiet waters because I need to be quiet. I need to listen. I need to surrender. Only then, can He work in my life and fill my needs.
Are there times when you wonder if God has abandoned you? Times when your heart aches to the point of bursting?
Remain faithful even when you do not understand. The shepherd cares for his sheep.
Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles author the He Said, She Said devotions and are co-founders of ChristianDevotions.us