“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3)
The first few phrases of this Psalm have reminded us that the Lord is our Good Shepherd. We can trust Him to meet our needs and to give us security and rest. He knows us and He knows what we need…He restores our soul. He has proven this great love for us on the cross.
Walking further into these verses, David tells us that the Good Shepherd also guides us. He is equipped to do this because He is familiar with our personal journey. He knows where you have been and He knows where you are right now. And, most importantly, He knows where you need to go and can give you the direction that you need to get there. We are on a journey that God has designed us to travel.
Another Psalm of David says, “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).
The Apostle Paul said, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared for us in advance to do” (Eph. 2:10).
This is exciting but, in order to experience these things that God has planned for us, we need a good guide. Sometimes we can get distracted. Sometimes we think that we know the best way because we know the situation better than He does. We think that we know more than the guide. It reminds me of how many of us talk to our GPS apps. “No GPS, I have a shortcut!” We argue and roll our eyes only to find out that it was the best route after all. Our Shepherd always knows the best way for us! He has been there…done that. The writer of Hebrews says,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, as we are – yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15)
Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. He knows the way. The Good Shepherd is our guide through the complexities of this life. He can help us maneuver through difficult circumstances and avoid things that will distract us from our purpose. Our Guide, Jesus, knows where the good paths are. He also knows which paths are dangerous. He can guide us around the pitfalls and will help us get back on track when we stray.
Today, in your meditation on this Psalm, ask God to give you guidance in the paths of righteousness that He has for you. He will give you the directions and walk with you. In fact, that’s another characteristic about a great guide…He goes with you.