He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:3.
The picture in my mind that comes when I read this verse is Jesus and I walking down a beautiful country road. The sun is shining through the trees and all is safe and peaceful. And sometimes, it is true. He does lead us through peaceful places. However, sometimes the paths of righteousness, while always good, are not always smooth. We must remember he leads us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. The paths we walk in, as surrendered disciples, are of His choosing, for His glory. Sometimes, for His glory and our good, our paths must pass through deserts, wilderness and mountains. We also must endure many weather during our journey, which does not always make for a pleasant trip, but if we are following Him and His ways, it is always for our good.
Take a look at our friend Abraham. We don’t know how God communicated to him, but we do know that he left Ur and journeyed toward a new land. God promised to make him a great nation through which all families on earth will be blessed through him. (Genesis 12: 2) But that path was full of delays, tests and trials. Some he passed, others he had a to rely on God’s mercy and grace. Isn’t it the same for us? Abraham’s journey on his path helps us walk in faith with ours.
As I was meditating on these paths, I saw so many types. Some were tiny trails, some were broad paved highways and everything in between. Some of the paths were obscured and hidden, while others were open for many to see. Each of the people walking on these paths had allowed the Lord to lead them on His paths. What type of path is the Lord leading you on during this season? Are you in public ministry, walking a path for others to follow? Dealing with the pressures of leadership? Or are you following His leading through more quiet walkways? Feeling alone and small in His kingdom? It doesn’t matter. Big or small, it is following Him that matters. Allowing Him to choose the path is best for you and for me.
No matter what, we know that He only leads us in paths of righteousness. Paths that conform to His code of conduct. We must walk them with honesty, justice, love and a sense of uprightness; because only then will we bring glory and honor to His name.
When our path grows difficult, it is often tempting to grumble and complain. “It’s too hard”, or “I can’t make it” can fill our thoughts and we might want to quit. Maybe you are finding yourself fighting those thoughts today. I would encourage you to think like Simon Peter, “who else has the words of eternal life?” John 6:68. What other Shepherd would you be following, if not the Good Shepherd? Remember, it is during the times of suffering that we can fellowship with Him in ways that would or could not happen if we did not endure. During these times He draws near, and our love bond grows even stronger with Him.
Sometimes, when storms come, it may be difficult to find the right path. Swirling thoughts of fear or anxiety can blur our vision from following Him. If you find this happening. Stop, refocus on Him. Call upon Him and wait for His direction. Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy at your right hand more there are pleasures forevermore. . Psalm 31:13 For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead and guide me.Again, it is not necessarily for our comfort He leads us, but for His purposes. Remind yourself that as Psalm 1:6 tells us, the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. He knows the way He is taking you. He has a plan, and we can trust that plan even when it is tough. Hard diagnosis? Financial difficulties? Relationship failures? He knows how to lead you through these things. He is a trustworthy guide, no matter what your own soul or the devil may whisper. He is our only hope and help in trying times. When we remember He is on our path and leading us; it makes it easier!
Father, I thank you for knowing our paths. I thank you that as we walk these paths of righteousness, no matter how rough, tough or easy, it is for Your Name’s sake. We choose to trust you during stormy days. We choose to trust you no matter the path because you are a Good Shepherd and you are leading us to restful places where we will be restored from our journey. In Jesus’ Name, amen.