March 18, 2021
- By Ed Powell
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"He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." Psalm 23:3
Have you ever stopped to consider what it really means to be led in the "paths of righteousness for His name's sake?" First of all, what does God mean by the "paths of righteousness?" Did you notice that we are led in these paths "for His name's sake"? Interesting, isn't it? You might say, "I always thought He led me in these paths for my sake." That's part of it, but we must remember that we bear His virtues, reflect His truth, and seek to uphold His holy name. Our considerations are secondary. First and foremost, HE IS TO BE MAGNIFIED in our lives. Therefore, He primarily leads us in the "paths of righteousness for His name's sake." Look what God said to Israel through Ezekiel: "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name....I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:22,26). It is "His glory" that's at stake, "His honor" that's involved, and "His integrity" that's in view in the preservation of His sheep. Therefore, He never withdraws His lovingkindness from us, nor ceases to watch over and care for us. God cherishes the well-being of His own and seeks to so lead us, that we will be conformed to the image of His Son and reflect His glory.
What are these "paths of righteousness"? Notice that they are "paths," not just a path. If we would think through the many encounters in our life where He has led us, we will find that many paths have been involved as He has led us. We cannot look at a current situation and say, "Well, the Lord led me in this way before, and He will do the same this time." Not necessarily. He chooses the path most suitable for our good, and for His glory. Could we ask for any better path to be led in or a better Shepherd to lead us?
Phillip Keller describes sheep. "Sheep, like us, are notorious creatures of habit. They follow the same trails until they become ruts, graze in the same fields until they are barren, and pollute the same ground until it is corrupt. They are dumb, stubborn, prefer to do what they have always done, and go their own way, regardless of what the consequences may incur. That's why it is so important for the shepherd to lead them in the right paths, to the right pastures, to the quiet pastures, beside the still waters. Their welfare is his priority and his utmost concern. The sheep reflect the integrity, leadership, and care of the shepherd."
We, too, are stubborn, self-willed, proud, self-sufficient, and determined that we know best. Therefore, we go our own way. Isaiah said, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6). Solomon said, "There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). And Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). This is our pivotal point. We either follow the Shepherd in a path that is right, or we continue along our ill-trodden way of fruitlessness, despair, frustration, and failure. HOW BLESSED IT IS TO FOLLOW THE GOOD SHEPHERD, FOR HIS NAME'S SAKE!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2021-03-18
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