Preface: This week, join me as we experience God’s love through His Word. We’ll use Psalm 23 as our text, taking one verse each day and spending a little time considering what it means to be loved by God.
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
(Psalm 23:3 NIV – New International Version)
He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
(Psalm 23:3 AMPC – Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)
That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name.
(Psalm 23:3 TPT – The Passion Translation)
He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most.
(Psalm 23:3 TLB – The Living Bible)
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
(Psalm 23:3 KJV – King James Version)
As we meditate on verse 3 today, we must loop back and look at verse 2, for they are clearly bound together.
Verse 2 gives us the picture of rest and revitalization. Verse 3 gives us the picture of the benefits of that rest – new strength of body and character to do the next right thing which honors God and blesses us.
In our modern culture, we often think that the day begins with work and ends with rest.
In ancient culture, the day began with rest and ended with work.
In fact, God designed it this way from the beginning:
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
(Genesis 1:5 NIV)
Notice the order – evening (rest) first, then morning (work).
What difference would it make in our everyday lives if we adjusted our thinking to God’s design for each day?
First, we start work from a place of strength, not of weakness.
Second, we start from a place of wholeness – not only is our outward body refreshed, but our inward “heart” or “soul” (our emotions, our attitudes, our mind, our ability to focus, our outlook on life) is refreshed as well. We can approach the day from a fresh perspective and full of joy. The weariness, mental exhaustion, sadness, anxiety, and cares from the previous day are left with the previous day – we get a fresh start with rest.
Starting from a place of rest, God also provides purpose and meaning to each day. The psalmist lets us know that there is a “path” that God guides us on. We don’t have to “bushwhack” across the landscape of life – God leads us on the best way forward. If we follow His leading, we don’t have to worry about going astray or getting lost.
And what is the meaning of our lives? When we walk with Him, we bring honor and glory to His name. Our lives have meaning when they are about Him, not about us.
May we experience God’s rest and strength and purpose and joy today, as we learn to live according to His design and calling.
He is holding out His hand, ready to lead us in His path, to walk with us along the way.