3. Free from flies and parasites
If tormented by flies, parasites or other insects' sheep will not lie down. Only when they feel free of these pests do they feel relaxed enough to lie down.
Flies affect the outer part of the sheep as well as laying eggs within the ears. Over a period of time this can cause discomfort and even death to the sheep. The eggs become larva and grow within the sheep. A shepherd will take great care in making sure that his sheep are free from these pests. He will spend hours anointing their head with salve and oil to keep these flies away. (Christ is so long suffering with us)
In our Christian walk, many times Satan buzzes around distracting us and causing discomfort. While we are constantly swatting away at our adversary, he plants thoughts and worldly lust as well as unsound doctrine among us. Before long what is planted begins to grow. We become affected and just as the sheep with blow fly problems our ears itch to hear words that will allow us to justify being more worldly than Christ like.
Paul warns us in I Timothy 4:1-5 about itching ears and what causes them.
In Ephesians 4:14-16 Paul tells us to listen to the true Gospel of Christ, to speak the truth in love. He tells us to grow up and not be carried by the wind of false doctrine. He tells us to be fitly jointed together with Christ being the head so the whole body will benefit (the church).
See Jeremiah 8:22
If we are anointed with the healing balm of Gilead and come to the great physician Jesus Christ our Lord and shepherd, we can lay down in green pastures.
Psalm 23:2 How green is your pasture Part 4
4. Free from hunger
Sheep will not lie down if they feel they need to find food. If they are hungry they will not lie down.
Once they no longer feel hungry they will lie down to rest.
Apart from just being hungry there is another reason a shepherd's job of making sure his flock is feed is not an easy task. Why? Because sheep are not particular what they eat or where they forage for food. (Note: He prepares a table before me V5.) A sheep doesn't recognize the difference between eatable plants and non-eatable plants. All a sheep knows is it's hungry and will eat anything in its path to fill that hunger. A shepherd may take several days picking by hand every poisonous plant from a pasture before bringing his flock in to graze.
In our Christian walk we have to make sure that we are eating the right spiritual food.
I Peter 2:2 tells us that we should desire the milk of the word, that we might grow.
In John 6:48-59 Jesus tells us that he is the bread of Life.
Matthew records in chapter 4:4 that we do not live on bread alone but by every word of God.
I Corinthians 10:21 states that we can't feed from the Lords table as well the devil's. We must be careful of what we spiritually feed on.
There are so many that are spiritually hungry and all some churches are offering them is spiritual junk food, packed with socializing and smile everyone's going to heaven feel good ingredients. It is time we teach, preach and rightly divide the word of God. II Timothy 2:15
Good grazing promotes growth, health, and over all harmony within the flock.