Psalm 23:3 reads: “He restores my soul: He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.” Some more modern versions of the Bible say that “He leads us in the right paths.” There is no controversy here, both versions are correct. God is righteous. (Holy) Therefore, He always leads us to the places where He is. These also are the right places, as opposed to the wrong places. We can never find ourselves in sin or away from God’s will and even begin to think that He led us there. James wrote: “But every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed.” (James 1:14) Whenever we stumble, when we let sin or things around us bring us down and discourage us, that is the time our souls need to be restored, and the only one who can do that is the Lord, our Good Shepherd. David could tell of the One who can restore our souls because he experienced it himself. Although, it is not known for sure who wrote Psalm 42, most bible scholars believe it was he who wrote: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Ps. 42:5) If you have followed the life of David in the Bible, it is pretty evident that God restored his soul time and time again. And if David needed to be restored constantly, so do we. The same Good Shepherd that did that for David will do it for us too when we need to be restored. He will restore our soul when we are sad, alone, discouraged, scared, confused, or brokenhearted. What a Savior! “For His name’s sake”; here’s what it means to me: An old TV shampoo commercial said something like this: “When you look good, we look good.” Think about this: If you walk by a fenced yard and see some skinny, scrawny, and unhealthy looking dogs in it, it makes their owner look bad, doesn’t it? The Lord will have none of this as it pertains to His sheep. In the same manner, when we don’t live lives that honor and please Him, we make Him look bad; we smear His name and reputation. He cannot permit that to continue for too long. He would want to present us instead as shining lights in a dark world, much like parents want to “show off” their children when they do well. He gives us the best of care, for His name’s sake. It would be wrong for us to try to look as good as we could if we did for ourselves, but it can never be wrong if we do it for His name’s sake, for the name of our Good Shepherd, the Restorer of our souls.
God’s word for today: (Micah 7:19) “You will again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”