1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will 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 anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
I covered v. 1, 2 and the first part of Psalm 23 here.
So it’s Saturday evening around 9 p.m., and my dog is chasing many things in his sleep. I have to admit that it’s kind of fun to watch. He has this bizarre ability to know when I click on the “video capture” feature of my computer, because he will instantly stop mumbling, barking, flailing his paws and doing this really bizarre eye fluttering thing as soon as I click the mouse to record. He can somehow differentiate THAT click from the other 1500 clicks I do when I’m writing. Now that my friends...is my “Random Thought For The Day” and one amazing dog.
3He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
HE LEADS ME IN THE PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS...
[SIDE NOTE] Before I even get started, can I just tell you that words like righteousness, justification, and sanctification are words that I have to look up every...single...time...I come across them. This does not bother me, but like several other things, they are hard concepts to wrap my head and heart around. They intimidated me at first, but that stopped when I read the definitions. Now they get me excited for God!!
He leads | To drive forth, to proceed. It’s interesting to note that the word lead in verse 3 is different than the one used in v.2. In v.2 the Hebrew word nahal has a primary definition of to lead or guide. In v.3 the word nahag has the primary definition to drive. Why the difference? I see v.2 as God bringing me to the correct place and position SO THAT in v.3 He can show me how to operate, and be competent, and be the force that enables me to carry out His work.
So let’s look at the other words...He’s driving me where?
In the paths | In, I think, is being used as a preposition - so to be in the paths means that I would be an integral part of an activity. That’s kind of neat...I’m not just walking or cruising, I’m an integral part of this force that’s showing me how to operate and be competent.
Paths | Metaphorically speaking, a direction in life...a way to live. There are two words used for paths...the second is agol (or agowl) which means means to revolve, circular.
[Talking this out here] This path that I am on is to revolve around God. The way that I live is to center around God-like ways. This path always brings me back to God.
Righteousness | A way to live rightly before God. To say and do the right things according to God’s expectations, not the expectations of man.
In v.2 He has “led me beside still waters” - He positions me to be in a place of substance and peace...and NOW in v.3 this “path of righteousness” is taking me from a place where I have been “fed” and “filled” and to a place where He’s driving me to LIVE OUT LOUD, to PARTAKE IN, to BE AN INTEGRAL PART of a life that is good and right, and fulfilling before Him.
[SIDE NOTE] Let me state emphatically in reference to that last statement, that God doesn’t teach you everything, THEN wants you to live. That big ole fat lie that will be explained better in a series in the works that I’m calling “Christianity 101: Ten Really Important Things I Learned The Hard Way”...it’s a somewhat comical and quite honest review of things that no one ever told me about becoming a Christian. All of that to say that life with Christ is a process - it is NOT learning everything then being sent out. And most importantly it’s about developing a relationship with Him.
So He’s driving me to LIVE OUT LOUD, to PARTAKE IN, to BE AN INTEGRAL PART of a life that is good and right, and fulfilling before Him...why?
FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE...
Name’s | Reputation, memory, renown.
Sake | Purpose, in order that. To respond, answer or reply. To testify.
These are two powerhouse words when put together!!
He’s driving me to LIVE OUT LOUD a GOOD and RIGHT way...
Because it’s according to His purpose
Because we CAN do it as a Son or Daughter of the Most High God!
Because it’s His answer to “living in this world, but not being of it”!
Because it’s our testimony to someone who doesn’t know Him!
Because it’s a right response FROM a saved sinner TO a loving and living God!
I live right for His reputation - when I’m living right I produce His fruit...fruit that He and His people are known by...their love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
I live right SO THAT I can bring to memory and speak of the ways in which He has worked in my life - protecting me, guiding me, teaching me, loving me. Talk about a phenomenal exercise for a believer to do...sit down and start recalling what He has done for you! Why? To find a new strength, a new hope, a reason to continually seek Him out and keep moving forward...TO LIVE OUT LOUD!!!
Ok, how excited are you right now??? You’re excited, right? Chew on that for a while cause we’re about to come up to “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...” part. I just found some notes from a Charles Stanley sermon I heard almost 2 years ago and it’s very comforting - and dare I say exciting??? Hopefully I can blend his sermon and my thoughts together and make some sense in my head of v.4 (and without his attorney's coming after me for getting it "that wrong" and misquoting him! HA!) Hang in there!!
Psalm 23 is a fantastic place to rest in scripture for a while - life is a marathon, not a 100 yard dash. Remember that this chapter is a testament to who God is, what He CAN do, what He WILL do, and what our correct response is...it’s God revealing His plan and purpose! WOO HOO!!
Have a phenomenal Sunday...I know mine is off to a great start so far!