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. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my scup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Restoration and Righteousness
I love what Roger Ellsworth says about this verse! “Sheep stray, and so do followers of the Lord Jesus. But his kind shepherdly care covers even that. A straying sheep is still a sheep, and the Lord ever cares for his own. David himself would stray far, but he did not—could not!—stray beyond the long reach of the arm of grace” (2 Sam. 11:1–12:15; Ps. 32:1–11). All of us, as we follow Jesus, can admit that we fall and struggle with sin. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love!” Yet he never casts us down, but restores our souls in forgiveness and grace.
Not only does he forgive us, but he leads us in paths of obedience and righteousness! As we have been taught in Romans 8:13-17: If we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh by the control and power of the Spirit, we are clearly children of God because that is what the Holy Spirit always leads God’s children to do, and the Holy Spirit leads God’s children as family, not in tyranny, and when the Holy Spirit leads God’s children, they find confidence that they belong to God and that there is hope for them.
This restoration of soul and righteousness wrought by God is a gift of his sovereign goodness alone. “Certainly his choosing us to be his sheep, and his performing towards us all the offices of a shepherd, is a blessing which proceeds directly from his free and sovereign goodness.” -John Calvin.