En lugares de delicados pastos. – Salmos 23 – Parte 5

By Mary Hunt Webb

Posted Saturday, April 14, 2012

A photographic image of sheep grazing in a Northumberland, England,  pasture.

Few shepherds have the advantage of such large pastures. Please notice that although the sheep have a large expanse of land available to them, they have gathered together in a comparatively small area. [Photographer: Frank Martin, courtesy of]

Psalm 23:2a "2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;" (King James Version)

Salmos 23:2a "2) En lugares de delicados pastos me hará yacer;" (Reina–Valera Antigua)

When you think of sheep in a pasture, you may wonder how the shepherd knows where to take his sheep each day so that they have the best forage on which to graze. He (or she) doesn't just head out the gate each morning with the sheep trailing behind him (or her). Since sheep eat grass and other growth down to the ground, they can exhaust available forage if their owner is not careful.

The shepherd knows where to let his flock graze because he has prepared the pasture ahead of time. Every sheep owner must plan ahead because few have large expanses of land onto which they can turn their sheep to graze. Even shepherds must do their homework!

Green pastures do not just happen. Instead, they require careful preparation. Shepherds plant grass, clover, alfalfa and grains for their sheep to graze. Such crops require time in which to grow. Since many people that keep sheep have limited land holdings, they must carefully manage the movement of their flocks from one portion of their land to another.

Many sheep owners use electric fences and moveable electric gates to divide their properties into paddocks so that they can block their flocks from certain areas where the land has not recovered from earlier grazing. When sheep are allowed to remain in a pasture after the grass is gone, they may resort to eating poisonous vegetation that they would otherwise avoid. Another concern is that worms tend to appear on land where sheep have grazed too long. No shepherd wants his animals infested with parasites.

Providing healthy vegetation for sheep is especially difficult in arid regions of the world where "green" is a relative term that depends on weather conditions that are often unfavorable.

A photographic image of sheep grazing in a pasture on New Zealand's South Island.

The appearance of pastures depends on weather conditions. [Peter Alexander Robb, courtesy of]

Moisture makes all the difference in the growth of grass and other sources of forage. Most people think of such moisture as either rain or snow. However, meteorologists use the more inclusive word, "precipitation," to refer to all forms of water that fall from the sky. Most precipitation soaks into the ground to promote the growth of forage for livestock.

As we will see later in this Psalm, sheep need water for proper digestion. They also require water to keep from becoming overheated from their wool. Think how thirsty you would be if you wore a wool coat all year and could not take it off!

Even those sheep that grow hair instead of wool can easily become too warm. Most shepherds shear their sheep once a year although some particular breeds have such abundant growth of wool that they require shearing twice a year. Consequently, sheep need water to remain cool. Besides drinking water in liquid form, sheep also gain moisture for digestion from the plants that they consume.

A photographic image of a dry rocky field.

Although sheep can improve pastures through grazing, some fields present more dangers to sheep than benefits. [Photographer: Maryrose Roque, courtesy of]

In addition to the moisture that green forage provides for digestion, verdant growth is easier to walk on than sparsely covered terrain. Since foot problems are common among sheep, bare or rocky ground may increase difficulties, especially for pregnant ewes.

A shepherd that cares for his sheep takes all of these factors into consideration. He can plan ahead because he understands his particular breed of sheep, he knows their general needs as well as their immediate ones, he watches the weather, and he is aware of the current condition of each of his pastures or paddocks. The wise shepherd knows that his sheep not only need green fields that provide enough food for grazing, but they require comfortable pasture in which to rest and ruminate, free from fear and stress.

If an earthly sheep owner does all of that planning and preparation for his animals, think how much more thoroughly God prepares the way to care for us, His human flock. He assures us of that in Ezekiel 34:31 when He says, "You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!" (New Living Translation)

God knows our needs. We are never away from the Heavenly Shepherd's watchful eye and care. Nor are we ever out of His thoughts. He has already sown the seeds for what we will need tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, and beyond. He knows more about what is ahead than we do. Our current circumstances may look uncertain and even dangerous, but we can relax because we can trust that our Good Shepherd has prepared the way.

Bible Verses for the Week

Psalm 23:2a "He makes me to lie down in green pastures;…" (New King James Version)

Salmos 23:2a "En lugares de delicados pastos me hará descansar;…" (Reina–Valera 1960)

Ezekiel 34:31 "You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!" (New Living Translation)

Ezequiel 34:31 "Y vosotras, ovejas mías, ovejas de mi pasto, hombres sois, y yo vuestro Dios, dice Jehová el Señor." (Reina–Valera 1960)

A photographic image of two lambs resting.

In Ezekiel 34:31, God assures us that, "You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!" (New Living Translation). [Photographer: Kate Towers. Courtesy of]

Psalm 23 — "1) The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. 2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. 3) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." (King James Version)

Salmos 23 — Salmo de David. "1) JEHOVA es mi pastor; nada me faltará. 2) En lugares de delicados pastos me hará yacer; Junto á aguas de reposo me pastoreará. 3) Confortará mi alma; Guiárame por sendas de justicia por amor de su nombre. 4) Aunque ande en valle de sombra de muerte, No temeré mal alguno; porque tú estarás conmigo: Tu vara y tu cayado me infundirán aliento. 5) Aderezas mesa delante de mí, en presencia de mis angustiadores; Ungiste mi cabeza con aceite: mi copa está rebosando. 6) Ciertamente el bien y la misericordia me seguirán todos los días de mi vida: Y en la casa de Jehová moraré por largos días." (Reina-Valera Antigua)

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