Thursday, May 5, 2011

Psalm 23, Verse 3

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

I don't know about anyone else, but I've thought of this verse out of context more often than I have in context.  But it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Because, in fact, my soul is restored because the Lord is my shepherd, because He leads me to a place where I can rest in comfort and gain spiritual food and water.  I therefore don't have unmet needs.  And we really need to see that there is a difference between our wants and our needs.  Many times there's a difference between what we think we really desire and what we really need in order to move forward in God's kingdom.  And the more we are able to make our own decisions, the more that will be true.  God gives us the opportunity to be exposed to those options so that we have a chance to start thinking His way.  That's the part about being led in the paths of righteousness.  God does the leading, but he never forces us to follow.  It's a gentle leading.  And it's what results in my soul being restored.  And that points to the other part of the equation.

Pastor Tom Sliva spoke recently about "Walking on the Water".  When we think about Peter walking toward Christ on the water, that kind of trust has to come from not only understanding God's power, but  especially understanding His heart toward us.  Recognizing how powerful a person or leader is will give us a trust in their capabilities, but not necessarily trusting in them as a person.  And that's the second part of the relationship.  In order for it to be a real relationship, we have to participate, too.  When we pray to God, we share our desires and our heart with Him.  And that's good.  When we meditate on His Word, we get to understand what His heart is toward us.  He gets to talk to us.  That's good, too.  But combine the two and we get a conversation that has heart consequences and eternal consequences.  We come to realize that we not only can rely on God's power to carry us through all our circumstances, but we can rely on a love for us that never wants anything for us except the very best.  If we really want that kind of understanding in our life, then we have to be active participants in the process.  We have to pray and we have to hear from God.  He'll do the rest.

Verse 4 next time.  Don't forget to pray for Libby.

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