So far, we have seen that in the Lord, we do not lack in the first verse. In the second verse, we find provision and rest. As we continue, we see restoration for our souls.
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:3
This verse is about restoration and not just a refreshing as with the previous verse. It’s the difference between an invigorating soda in one instance and the doctors working to restore a patient from dehydration. The severity of our circumstances requires a more profound work when we come to this verse.
Jesus Christ is the only one who can bring complete restoration to our lives. Isaiah 53:6 reads, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” It is through Christ’s sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension that we have this faithful promise.
What is this restoration of the soul? In the context of shepherds and sheep, it is speaking about a lost sheep being restored to the sheepfold. The parable of Jesus from Luke 15 comes to mind:
4What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
This restoration speaks of our justification. It is a change of positions. Such as from sinner to saint, from lost to found, from orphaned to adopted, from death to life. It also speaks powerfully to our moments of weariness and straying. There are times when life brings us so low, and we succumb to our temptations. It is at these times we find God restoring our strength and faith.
We also see that “He leads me in paths of righteous, for his names sake.” As we live as believers, our aim is become more and more like Jesus. It’s not about us. It’s all about his excellent name. Psalm 25:4-5 records a beautiful prayer in this same mind, “Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”
Still, God’s grace to us is his namesake. It’s not selfish, it’s scandalous. His name is on the line. How far would you go out of your way for a person like you? God gives us mercy when we are undeniably guilty. God had displayed His love through His Son even when we were sinners. God’s actions are considered foolish by the world, but they are lifegiving. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” The Lord has went out of His way (which is actually His way) to restore us to Himself.