Thankfulness According to Psalm 23 ~ Restoration and Righteousness

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
~Psalm 23:3

I make mistakes….all the time.
I mess up and fail every single day.
As much as I hate to admit it, there isn’t a single day I’ve lived on this earth when I haven’t sinned.
(And there hasn’t been a day like that for you either.)

I still carry around this flesh, and my flesh isn’t saved.
So, every day I sin and fall short of the glory of God, and have to ask His forgiveness.

I don’t have to go to a priest or ask a saint or holy mother to pray for me.
I don’t have to sell everything I have or work my fingers to the bone in an effort to please God.
I don’t have to continuously live in sin and rebellion and just *hope* that everything will be okay when I die.

I have a Shepherd.

He’s always there, and I can go directly to Him.
I can fall on my knees, confess my sin, and find forgiveness.
And Praise the Lord! He doesn’t leave me there!

He restoreth my soul.

The slate is wiped clean because my Shepherd has already paid the penalty.
I can still have fellowship with Him because in His eyes, I’ve never sinned.

Oh, it isn’t because of anything I’ve done or deserved, but because of Him.

It’s in the rest of the verse:
“HE leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.”

How does one end up on the “paths of righteousness?”

They certainly don’t wake up one morning and decide that righteousness is the path for them.
They definitely don’t stumble upon it by accident and decide to walk that path.

No, the only way to find yourself walking the paths of righteousness is for the Shepherd to put you there.

Thankfully, He doesn’t just drop us off and say, “Here you go. Walk in that direction,” and leave us to ourselves.
The Bible says He leads us.

A sheep needs to follow a shepherd or they will easily become lost.
They can’t see very well, and they need to be able to hear the voice of one they recognize in order to arrive safely at their destination.

It is the same with my Shepherd.

Left to myself, I would be off the path and in a mess in a heartbeat.
But I’m not alone!
My Shepherd walks before me, gently leading me in the paths of righteousness.

He talks to me, and I know His voice well.

John 10:4-5 says: “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”

No one else sounds like my Shepherd.
His is the voice I listen for.
He can say my name, and I instantly know it is Him.

I love the explanation at the end of the verse as to why He leads me along these paths…
It’s for His name’s sake.

See, He’s the Good Shepherd.
Everyone knows who He is.
His sheep aren’t just thrown together with the other sheep so you can’t tell who belongs to whom.
He keeps them separated.

His sheep are different.
They walk on different paths.
He’s leading them to a different place.

Those paths of righteousness aren’t always the easiest ones to travel.
They aren’t broad and wide, but are straight and narrow.
They aren’t flat, but have hills and valleys.
Most would quickly abandon them for an easier route.

But not my Shepherd.

He knows the way I take, and He takes each step with me.
We’re traveling these paths of righteousness together, for His name’s sake.
He’ll see that I safely reach my destination….

And I’m thankful.

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