Line Upon Line with Lawrence Yap
25 August 2020 | Psalms 23
“He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”
– “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (NIV)
– “He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” (NKJV)
Here in this verse, it talks about the shepherd’s leading and guidance.
Sheep can easily stumble and lose their way.
Sheep does not have a sense of direction.
Sheep desperately need the shepherd to guide their paths to safeguard them.
The bible says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…” Isiah 53:6.
Now, to say that we too are like sheep and can easily go astray is not a criticism nor is it to undermine the human intelligence.
We just have too many options to choose and too many voices to listen too.
We need guidance as there are hazards that we face in our lives which can cause a lot of diversions.
Ps Ian Bayne identified these hazards being:
Internal – because of the sinful nature in us.
Intrinsic – because of the times we live in and our culture.
Inherent – i.e. present in a fallen world all around us.
As Psalm 23 stresses from start to finish, the Great Shepherd’s gentle leading is always focused, purposeful, and filled with goodness and mercy.
He is intent on bringing His lambs away from evil, out of peril, through the valley of the shadow of death, and into safety and blessing.
All of that is encompassed in the statement, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
The sheep represent fallen creatures who on their own would never be able to find or successfully travel the paths of righteousness. “The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life” (Matt. 7:14).
But the Good Shepherd wants His sheep to live. And His laws, His rules, His precepts, His commandments are given for our good; for our protection; so we can enjoy life.
God does not simply enjoy making rules, or making rules in order to make all of us miserable.
When God talks about righteousness and money, or righteousness and sex, or righteousness and our words, or righteousness in our works, He is trying to protect us from the destructiveness of a wrong path.
Are people really happier when they throw off God’s commandments as restrictive and archaic and boring, and follow their own desires; Are they really happier and more fulfilled when they live according to the world’s standards? They may feel happier for a short time, but in the end, they usually end up suffering under the weight of all kinds of consequences.
Let us also understand something about the path of righteousness.
First of all, the Shepherd’s paths of righteousness is always right, but it doesn’t mean they’re always smooth.
For the early day disciples, the path of righteousness was marked with persecution and sufferings.
It can mean the loss of our comfort; the loss of a relationship or even financial loss….
Secondly the path of righteousness sounds great but it must be followed with obedience and discipline.
Listen to Psalm 119:1-3 – “Blessed are those whose walk are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart – they do no wrong but follow his ways.
And finally, what does it mean, “for his name’s sake?
God is love. God is also righteous.
And because God is righteous – it is His nature to lead His sheep into the path of righteousness and no other.
So today; “Let the Good Shepherd lead you to the path of righteousness” so that you will always be protected and blessed by Him.