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Devotional Psalm 23:3
Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
The scripture gives us some very encouraging and positive affirmations of the characteristics of our Shepherd. He restores whatever I need. He leads me in a way that is safe and secure. He leads me in a way that nourishes me and is a blessing to my life.
The Hebrew word translated “righteousness” in Psalm 23 is the same one often translated “straight”.
The Good Shepherd leads us in “paths of righteousness” or “straight paths”. They are the same paths that He takes. They are paths which are in His will. Righteousness is the characteristic of the path in which Jesus leads his people.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. The only path that he is walking is a righteous path. It is not the only path that we can walk. So we have to make a choice. We have to decide if we walk to follow the Good Shepherd or we want to walk another path. It is impossible to follow Him on His path if we aren’t on that path to start with. The first thing that must happen is that we must be saved. I can’t follow Jesus if He is not my Shepherd. To think that I am saved does not put me on that path, it only puts me on a path that considers walking after Him. It is a good place to begin but to get on the path Jesus is talking about we first must ask Jesus Christ to forgive us of sin and to be the Shepherd, the LORD of our lives. The Good Shepherd is leading us on that path.
Imagine yourself walking in a huge forest. There are many paths throughout this wooded area. As you walk, you become lost. But you are deluded into thinking you know where you are. Unknown to you, you are miles away from where you think you are. Now ask, Is there any chance you will correct course if you don’t even realize you are lost? No, you will continue ahead completely lost, but completely deceived.
There are many today who profess to be Christians, but have redefined Christianity to fit their moral agenda. Some defined Christianity as “following the teachings of Jesus Christ”. But Christianity is not merely “following the teachings of Christ”. If you doubt that, try following this one: “Be ye perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). We won’t get very far.
Jesus said, John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.” If that is not true then Jesus is a liar. But it is true, and he walks in a way that is pure, that is holy, that is righteous. I must surrender my life to Jesus as my Lord, my Savior, my Shepherd. I have to forsake my paths of unrighteousness, and embrace Him. I must strive with all my heart to follow the Good Shepherd and to walk then stay on the path that he leads me. It is not always easy but he has promised that he will not forsake us, He will go with us, He will guide us, He will direct us, He will walk with us.