Two Journeys Ministry
In-Depth Biblical Content by Pastor Andy Davis
headphones book envelop spinner search download close plus play arrow-right arrow-left facebook twitter

He Restores my Soul

Why does Psalm 23 speak so well to our aching hearts?

by Andy Davis on May 02, 2023

abiding in christ our shepherd"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." Psalm 23:1-3

It's a marvelous thing when the indwelling Holy Spirit teaches us things about God through the object lessons of our own personal experience. There can be little doubt that David wrote these words from the memories of his childhood days as the shepherd of his father's sheep. It is quite possible that he was also thinking about his own role as shepherd-king of God's flock, Israel (see 2 Samuel 5:2). Through these experiences as a shepherd, David learned about God's care for him: God's protection, wisdom, guidance, provision, tenderheartedness... all directed toward the benefit of the sheep.

Now this idea of God as shepherd is not original with David. We find it first from the mouth of another shepherd, Jacob, who called God his shepherd in Genesis 48:15. But David's meditation on the theme surpasses all but Christ's own in John 10 (where Jesus identifies himself as the Good Shepherd of all who believe). And Psalm 23 has always captured the hearts of people in every generation. Why? Perhaps it's because life is a harsh, difficult, treacherous, wearying, and sometimes grievous journey. There are times when we adults, who are responsible for all manner of provision and protection for our children, long to be children again ourselves... to be cared for in this same way, as we were long ago in our own childhood. When David's soothing words caress our troubled hearts with the truth that we are provided for and protected in this manner, we receive at last the contentment that we'd been seeking.

"Even when the sickness of our soul is caused by our own willing rebellion against his wise leadership, the Shepherd does what's necessary to restore us."

Our Shepherd's care is comprehensive, meeting all our needs. But perhaps the most welcome to our harassed hearts is His firm but gentle restoration of our souls. We are foolish sheep who don't know when to stop doing, DOING, DOING! “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” We are tossed about by the churning, crashing waves of life! “He leads me beside quiet waters.” Our souls are parched by lack of prayer, hardened by willful sin, annoyed by temporal problems, provoked by incessant temptations... this world is inherently hostile to the serenity and health of our souls. And yet, through all this, our Good Shepherd “restores our souls.” Even when the sickness of our soul is caused by our own willing rebellion against his wise leadership, the Shepherd does what's necessary to restore us. What a tender ministry this is - how selfless, how gracious, how utterly necessary!

On that word “necessary” comes our final point. The fact that David extols the restoring ministry of the Lord shows that our lives as believers are not an ever-increasing experience of Christ, and an ever more perfect imitation of Him day by day. It is not true that every day with Christ is better than the day before! If that were so, why would our souls ever need restoring? No, the struggle with sin, Satan, and the system are so fierce, and our flesh so weak that our advance, though steady, sometimes falters. But thanks be to my faithful Shepherd for this truth: “He restores my soul!”

Tags: abiding in christ