Joel Beeke Writes:
Due to our fall in Adam, we lost God and His image as well as true, spiritual rest. Augustine rightly said, “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.” To fill the void within, we grasp for the world’s promises of satisfaction. Even though the world around us and within us is but a land of deserts, we still pursue its elusive promise of rest. We live as if we could be the first persons in the history of mankind to find true contentment apart from our Creator. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20).
Some people are quick to interpret the blessings of Psalm 23 as natural benefit. We will not deny, of course, that everyone needs physical rest. There must be pauses and parentheses in every life, for our hand cannot always be laboring, nor our brain always given to intense thought. Pleasure and relaxation are a part of enjoying God’s good gifts. But if we apply the Shepherd’s benefits of Psalm 23 only in a natural way, we soon forget the spiritual benefits enjoyed by God’s people in addressing their deepest spiritual needs.
Today’s generation is living proof of this truth in its restlessness, dissatisfaction, and unhappiness. Millions immerse themselves in senseless forms of entertainment. Millions more grasp illegal drugs, alcohol, and prescription medications to try to lift their moods. Flashing advertisements constantly promise peace, popularity, and happiness for a price. Our society is one mass of restless people, continually returning empty-handed from selfish pursuits.
True rest is to be found by grace in God alone. There is true rest only in the Jehovah-Shepherd. This rest is reserved only for His people and is granted only by sovereign grace. This rest makes a lost sheep willing to follow the Shepherd in the day of divine power, for He alone can lead to rest. The Lord “maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”