Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 23:3
“He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:3
Let me start by referring to verses one and two, for there is context here I would like to bring up. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.” Psalm 23:1-2. The main job of the shepherd is to take care of the flock, providing all their needs. David, in referring to God as the great shepherd was saying that God provides everything we need. Every day He leads us to green pastures and to quiet waters where we have access to good food and fresh water we need regularly. These verses refer to our physical needs.
Moving on to verse three, our focus verse, we see another aspect of His shepherdship. “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3. In the Hebrew, He restoreth my soul has the idea of bringing it back. No creature is more ready to go astray, or more likely not to know the way back, then a sheep. Isaiah says it this way, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” Isaiah 53:6.
When we are saved, we become a part of Christ’s flock. He feeds us and supplies our every need. However, there may be times we find ourselves wandering. Unfortunately, we are not perfect, even after we give our lives to Him. However, if we wonder away, He will come after us because we may not know exactly the way back. We see this in the parable of the lost sheep. “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” Matthew 18:12-14. Putting this back into the vernacular of Psalm twenty-three, He restores our soul means to bring us back to the flock. We also read in an earlier Psalm about restoring the soul. “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7. His word is used to reprove us when necessary, as well as train us in God’s ways. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16.
He also guides us in the paths of righteousness. “He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3b. In this sense, it is not referring to paths that lead us to salvation, although He also does this. However, what he is referring to are straight and even paths that do not lead us astray but directly to our destination. And our destination is righteousness, salvation and holiness. He will always avoid those paths that take us where we should not go but will only take us on roads that bring us directly to where we need to be.
It is important that we stay close to our shepherd, Jesus Christ, for He will keep us free from danger and lead us to the land flowing with milk and honey. If we focus on Him and His word, we will be less likely to wonder away and get lost. And if we do, He will go after us and bring us back to where we need to be. This is the picture of our great shepherd Jesus the Christ, and how He will always guide us to where we should go, and if we wonder will bring us back.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.