Eighth Day: He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
"The Christian life has two elements in it, the contemplative and the active; and both of these are richly provided for." The text above introduces us to the contemplative.
"In a hilly country like Palestine, under a burning sun, only the glens or valleys were covered with the green herbage, which was refreshing and satisfying to the flock. If I should write that the Lord hath green pastures for us, I could present the thought of the riches of His provision for us; but, when I say He will lead us into this place of refreshment, I present to you the thought of His goodness and His grace."
"But the slopes of Palestine, bared to the hot sun of the East, are not more parched and barren than the portion of the world through which you will be obliged to walk this day; so without the green pastures it will be a sad experience. What are these green pastures but the Scriptures of truth, always fresh, always rich, and never exhausted?"
As with a new-born babe food is the requisite, proper nourishment it must have, so the fresh pasture of the word of God is opened, the knowledge of His will revealed, the delight of His fullness unfolded, and perfect satisfaction is offered. "When by faith we are enabled to find rest in the promises, we are like the sheep that lie down, and we find both provender and peace, rest and refreshment."
It is said that hungry sheep never lie down. Why is it, then, that so many of God's children seem famished and are not comfortable in Him? It is because they are taken up with the world, because they are feeding upon husks, because they have turned their faces away from the truth, but more truly still because they have refused to hear His voice leading them into all this restfulness and satisfaction. It is God's will that we should be filled with peace.
Suggestions for To-day.
Begin the day in quietness. Get alone, if only for a little while, with God. Give Him the right of way in your life; breathe in of His gracious presence; keep very still before Him, and let this be in the early part of the day.
Why in the Morning?
At a meeting of Morning Bible-Readers held lately in Calcutta the following reasons were given why we should read the Bible and pray in the morning.
1. We owe first things to God.
2. We are most likely to be able to secure a quiet time in the morning.
3. There is much danger that Bible-study and prayer will be crowded out entirely if not enjoyed in the morning.
4. The mind is then free and fresh.
5. First impressions last.
6. Bible-study and prayer make a good foundation for the day.
7. We should seek a high-level start.
8. By this we are put on guard against sin. Ps. 119:9,11
9. We shall most probably have occasion during the day to use what we get in the morning. One should not go out into wild districts without weapons and ammunition.
10. Many good and holy persons recommend this as one of the chief secrets of deep spiritual living.
11. There is biblical authority for the habit. See Ps. 5:3, and elsewhere.
From The Secret of a Happy Day: Quiet Hour Meditations by J. Wilbur Chapman. Boston: United Society of Christian Endeavor, ©1899.