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He Restores My Soul

If you’ve been tracking with me, we are starting our New Year well by meditating on Psalm 23, a verse a week for 6 weeks. I'm currently reciting Psalm 23 to myself morning and night. Find your own way of feeding on this psalm. We can walk through this year with the peace that comes from drawing near to our Lord—placing our trust in Him! Psalm 23 helps us do that:)

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23 (NASB)

Today, we’re pondering verse 3, “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” The psalmist continues to use the shepherd metaphor to meditate on who the Lord is in his life. He is the Good Shepherd; He is the Shepherd who is his. Not a remote shepherd, or an aloof shepherd, but the One that is watching out and caring for his every need. In verse 3a, this is summed up in the words “He restores my soul.”

The idea of the “soul” here is the “depth of one’s being,” the very essence of yourself as a living person. The root of the Hebrew word for restore, shûwb, is to "turn back" as in to “recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), rescue, restore, fetch home again.”[1] God takes the essence of who you are as a person, and He brings you back again to Himself. In this place with Him, in His word, you are revitalized, restored, and relieved from the demands of living. Fresh life is poured into your soul from the Lord! We get versions of this when we sleep or eat a good meal, and these things the Lord provides for us. He also gives us restoration of our mind, will, and emotions as we listen to His words and speak to Him in prayer. Only God takes the initiative to restore the souls of His people. As He holds you in His arms, allow Him to restore and reset you for this day and this year.

Lastly, verse 3b says, “He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Continuing with the shepherd analogy, meditate on the knowledge that it is the Lord who directs your steps, who lights your path, who leads you in the way you should go. He knows where each trail leads. Some paths lead to harm; other paths lead to safety, green pastures, and still waters. When we entrust ourselves to Him, He guides us in the right paths for our lives. We can rest in the knowledge that our Lord is a Shepherd. Trust Him to restore and guide you. God’s name, His reputation is lifted up and made known by His care for His people, the sheep of His pasture. He refreshes and directs our lives, bringing glory to His name!

[1] James Strong, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible(Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009), 113.

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