Something about Psalm 37:3 caught my eye last night. I felt like the Holy Spirit told me to read that chapter, and this particular part stood out.

Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
(New International Version)

Most of the other translations say something a little different, like:

Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
(New King James Version)


Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
(New American Standard)

I like the first version because of the mental image I had when I read it. I pictured myself as a shepherd in a pasture inside the land of Israel, looking out at the border of our land. I can see the pastures in the distance outside of our property. They look lush and good for grazing. The thought occurs to me that I could take my sheep and goats just a little ways beyond our borders and let them feed on something fresh and new.

Then the Word of the Lord comes to me: Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. SAFE pasture. Then I realize that I’d be taking unnecessary risk out there beyond our borders. There is no protection. I would be outside of my protected territory. I could be attacked and no one would defend me.

It may look good, but it’s not safe. It’s not where I am protected. It’s not what God has given me. Now that I think of it, I am grateful for the protection that allows me to graze safely and make a living without enemies swarming in and surrounding me.

God, in His kindness and mercy, directs me to dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. He loves me and He’s trying to protect me. I can choose to take risks and dwell outside of the land He provided. But I feel loved knowing that He’s going out of His way to warn me of the dangers and to encourage me to remain where His provision and safety can be found.