He restores my Soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
He restores my soul
In Psalms 43:5, David cries out during one of these times Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. And this looking to God to restore his soul is what these times are all about, to teach us where our help comes from. Jesus said in Mathew 5:3 blessed, are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God! We don’t usually look at these times as a blessing, but these are the very times that we learn to let God provide for us.
He guides me
The Lord is the one who guides us in the paths of righteousness. God literally led the Israelites out of their old life and through the wilderness to the promised land in the Exodus.
Israel first had to leave Egypt before God could lead them through the wilderness. Abraham first had to take that step of faith to leave Ur of the Chaldeans before God could lead him on the journey to the promised land. And we must leave behind our old life, and let God take the lead before God can guide us on His path for our lives.
Paths of Righteousness
The right places
When the Bible says the paths of righteousness here, it means paths leading to the right places, the places with grass and water and the places of God’s rest and ultimately to Heaven. We pray continually for God’s guidance. (1 Thess 5:17, Eph 6:18, Luke 18:1)
David’s also talking about the right paths in terms of righteousness or right-living. The Hebrew word translated “righteousness” in Psalm 23 is the same one most often translated “straight.” When we walk in righteousness, in the Way that God has taught us to walk, it keeps us out of a lot of trouble and makes us much better able to defend ourselves when we come up against opposition.
What David is trying to convey here, is that the paths are the Righteous, Faithful paths BECAUSE of our Shepherd who is Righteous and Faithful. It’s because of His character that we know that whatever path that HE leads us on are the right paths.
Until we recognize our lost condition we will never see any need to turn around, to repent, to correct our course. Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me”. in John 14:6. There’s no way to be free from God—you are either free in God through the redemption that Christ has bought, or you’re still a slave to sin—there’s no middle ground. True freedom is only found in God, there’s no other option.
Surrender to God
In order to be guided by God, we must surrender our desire to guide ourselves. But it is when we meekly surrender, that He guides us. Psalm 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: And the meek will he teach his way. It is the person who is submitted in humble obedience that the Lord will guide Psalm 25:12 tells us Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
How God Leads
He leads by His Word
The primary way that we receive knowledge of God is through His Word. As David says in Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
He leads by His Holy Spirit
13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
So the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth will guide us into all truth, speaking only what He hears from God above, just as Jesus did, and letting us know what’s around the next corner.
If we want discernment in our way, practice obedience in our walk.
For His Name’s Sake
paths of righteousness are the only paths He could lead us in, because righteousness is part of His character. These paths are the only ones worthy of His name.
He will not only help us along the path, but just as we have presented ourselves as a living sacrifice, He will one day present us to the Father as one of His. Jude 1:24-2524 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and [t]forever. Amen.