Title: Green Pastures
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalms 23:1-3 NASB1995
One might ask why I titled this painting, "Green Pastures?" It certainly isn't a pasture and the painting barely has the color green on the canvas. This is one of the reasons art is subjective; what you see isn't always the intended meaning. For example, this painting is based on the gospel hymn, “He Leadeth Me.” The song is a reflection on one of the most well-known Scriptures in the Bible - Psalm 23. The main focal point in the art is the small group of birds following along representing the elements in the first three verses of the Psalm. The Biblical message teaches us that the shepherd leads the sheep. In the same way, the Lord leads the believer. In my youth, I always pictured in my mind tranquility where life is filled with peace and bliss when I read this Scripture. But we all know that life is challenging and challenges require deep solid faith. In his youth, David was a shepherd who defended his flocks from the likes of lions and bears. A shepherd working the outskirts of Jeruselum wouldn't see large grassy areas nor quiet brooks of water. Instead, they worked the hills and land that was dry and barren known as the wilderness. One must traverse very narrow pathways that zig-zag up the rocky hills to make their way to the green pastures. Should the shepherd or the sheep wander too far off the path they would possibly get stuck in the crevice of the rocks or fall away from the path to their death. But should all make it to the top safely, green pastures are still nowhere in sight. What one would find instead are these little sprigs of green grass breaking through rock clusters. Here, the sheep eat on these sprigs providing just enough nourishment for the day. David’s words found in Psalm 23 penetrate my own heart. As The Shepherd Jesus leads us through the wilderness to green pastures beside quiet waters the gift is found in His protection, guidance, and daily provisions. No one knew this better than David the shepherd king. And as each day passes, a sense of peace and bliss that I have come to know is only found when Jesus leadeth me.
Joseph Gilmore, who wrote the hymn, “He Leadeth Me” knew his Shepherd's voice. The year was 1880 when our country was in civil unrest and songwriter Joseph lived some of his darkest hours. One particular evening he heard a sermon on Psalm 23 and that same night he wrote this hymn.
“And when my task on earth is done, When by thy grace the victory's won, E'en death's cold wave I will not flee, Since God through Jordan leadeth me.”
“He leadeth me! He leadeth me! By his own hand he leadeth me; His faithful follower I would be, For by his hand he leadeth me.”
Glenn and Heather Lamp