Psalm 23 Verse Three

Restoration, Guidance and why

by Edward Langenback

© 03/06/05

Psalms 23:3, "He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."

The first verse of Psalm 23 started out by telling us that we are talking about The Lord and His relationship to us as shepherd and that this means there can be no lack of any good thing for those that He shepherds.

In the second verse we discovered that rest, as in resting from our labors and relying on His are important because when we rest from our labors and enter into His rest and allow God within us to work in our lives and the lives of those around us.

The third verse describes more of this relationship between us and our shepherd. There are three things revealed here.

1) "He restoreth my soul"

The word 'restoreth' is translated from the Hebrew shuwb {pronounced shoob} [strongs number 7725] and means to return, turn back, bring back, restore, refresh, repair.

The word 'soul'is translated from the Hebrew nephesh {neh'-fesh} [strongs number 5315] and means self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion

Given these definitions for those two words it is easy to see that God is doing more than just healing us. Our shepherd is literally giving us back our lives, refreshed and repaired from all the damage that results from the times when we were not willing to hear or obey Him.

"He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness"

'leadeth' comes from the Hebrew nachah {naw-khaw'} [strongs number 5148] which means to lead, guide

'paths' is translated from the Hebrew word ma`gal {mah-gawl'} [strongs number 4570] and means entrenchment, track

'righteousness' is from the Hebrew tsedeq {tseh'-dek} [strongs number 6664] whch means justice, righteousness, what is right or just or normal, rightness, justness

Looking at the three key words in this phrase shows that the shepherd is giving us guidance, leading us, showing us the entrenchment or track to the goal which is righteousness.

Righteousness is absolutely required if we are to be able to enter into the kingdom, therefore He is leading us in the path which leads to it.

"for His name's sake"

In all of what has so far been said about the shepherd, who He is and what He is doing the last phrase in verse three is the first time there is mention made of why.

It has been well established in Christian teachings that God is not doing anything for us because anyone is deserving of anything. Part of becoming a Christian is recognizing the fact that because of the sin in our lives, we CAN'T deserve anything other than eternal condemnation. We are taught that only by God's grace (undeserved favor) do we get salvation, and that God does all of this out of His love for us.

There is another fundamental reason that God has done all that He has, "for His name's sake."

In the modern world, names do not have the same significance that they once had. Now a name is more than anything else, a way to distinguish one person from another. Names are given simply because the parents like the sound of this or that name. Children are often given the same name as a loved family member or friend of the parents. They are even named after famous public figures. More often than not these days, names are given because the new mother and father simply like the sound of it. Mothers and fathers are heard to say things like "She just looks like a [insert favorite name here]."

In ancient times names were given more carefully, with thought for the meaning of the name. God is no different. He has many names that each reveal something about Him. The shepherd is doing all this for us out of love for us, and because He wants us to be able to enter into His rest and be a part of His Kingdom. He does these things because of His name and what that means. Psalm 23 gives a sample of some of those names and what they mean.

In verse one, 'The Lord' is translated from Y@hovah {pronounced yeh-ho-vaw'} [strongs number 3068] literally, "the existing One". He is Jehovah-raah "The Lord My Shepherd". Because His name is also Jehovah-jireh "The Lord Will Provide", we know that we shall not, can not lack or suffer need when we are shepherded by Him.

In verse two we see His name Jehovah-shalom "The Lord Is Peace" where He has to actually MAKE us slow down and rest from our labors and enter into His rest. Then He can work in our lives and we can have peace from all the worries that we were trying to work so hard to deal with.

Verse three shows His names Jehovah-rapha "The Lord Who Heals" where he gives us back our lives, restoring us completely and Jehovah-tsidkenu "The Lord Our Righteousness" because He is leading us in the path of justice, rightness and correctness.

In verse four we see El Roi "The God Who Sees" who watches over and guards us. We are comforted because He is also named Jehovah-shammah "The Lord Is There" who will never leave us or forsake us.

In verse five, Jehovah-jireh "The Lord Will Provide" is there for us again, taking care of us in the midst of all that opposes us, seeing to it that our needs are taken care of regardless of who or what is against us. Truely our cup indeed overflows when El Shaddai "The All-Sufficient One" sees to it that we have more than enough because He is more than enough.

So indeed, The Lord My shepherd refreshes our lives and leads us along right paths because He is true to His name. We would do well to think about what our names are. Are you "Backbiter"? "Disobedient Child", "Obstinate self-willed one". Is your name "Mocker", "Liar", "Thief" or worse? If so then it's time to consider a name change to "Good and Faithfull Servant" by turning to God and allowing Him to be The Lord YOUR shepherd.