“He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness…” (Psalm 23:3)
Failure is one of the most feared and dreaded experiences in life. The fear of failure drives millions of people every day, all day long. There are many ways to fail. We can fail in our work, in our marriage, and as parents. We can fail personally by feeling we’re not living up to our expectations and our potential. We can fail morally.
When we fail what do we do about it?
The third verse of Psalm 23 gives us a prescription for failure. David knew what it was to fail. When he needed restoration he tells us how his Shepherd restored him when he wrote: “He leads me in the paths of righteousness.” David had already written that his Shepherd leads him to still waters. The Hebrew word for ‘lead’ he uses the second time means his Shepherd ‘drives’ him into the paths of righteousness.
David is telling us here that when we need restoration we should not seek a cheap or easy one. Rehabilitation means “to invest again with dignity.” He was implying that his restoration was a matter of being driven into the paths of righteousness for some time – perhaps even for years. His Shepherd used those paths of righteousness to restore David’s soul and give him an opportunity to invest again with dignity.
By application, when you fail and need restoration don’t seek a cheap or an easy one. Let the great Shepherd lead you into the paths of righteousness that will truly restore your soul.
Dick Woodward, 28 March 2009