Often, I don't sleep very well. I have a hard time getting to sleep, and I regularly wake up in the middle of the night and then have a hard time getting back to sleep. One of the things I've found recently that helps me get back to sleep is to meditate on different excerpts from the Bible. I've been rather fixated on the 23rd Psalm for a while (and my success rate of falling asleep after thinking about it has been pretty good), so I thought I'd do a series of posts on my thoughts on it. This is part 3 of my 'meditations' on Psalm 23.
He Restores My Soul
'Restore' is an interesting word. In my mind, the scenario it conjures up is: a store of something, in this case, whatever a soul stores has been depleted, exhausted, and it gets built back up again. Re-stored. Exhausted is another good word. When I'm tired, no just physically, but combined with all the other ways one can be tired, my outlook on life gets very negative. I feel depleted, used up, spent, baked, 'done'!
But God says 'the joy of the Lord is my strength'. He rejoices over me with singing. And He restores my soul. It doesn't often happen in a snap. Actually, a good sleep is what I need a lot of the time. There is a lot of truth in the statement 'His mercies are new every morning.' I can then face another day with a renewed attitude, perspective, and vigour - physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
He Leads Me in Paths of Righteousness...
...For His namesake. Isn't it interesting that God ties his reputation to my direction? The name of God is one of the massive underlying themes of the Bible - its who He is. The Israelites had all kinds of names for God to remind themselves of who He is. A person's name in Biblical times was tied to who they were. God even changed some people's names to give them a new identity (and a new path?) in life: Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel. I get a lot of comfort knowing that my direction in life is ultimately guided by God. If I start to stray, He'll make sure I get back on His path for me.
When I was younger I used to fret about finding God's will and direction for my life. I'd get to a point where I'd almost have analysis paralysis trying to discern what God's 'path' for me was. Now I feel much more secure as I 'commit my way to the Lord..' because '...He will direct my path.' Prov. 16:3. Even if I live up to my human nature and get inadvertently distracted or turned around, I can rest assured that God is still in control. Proverbs also says 'Many are the plans of a person's heart, but its the Lord's purpose that prevails.' God has put His name and reputation on the line as a guarantee.
Another interesting point of note: In the Lord's prayer, Jesus told the disciples to pray '..lead us not into temptation...' I don't think temptation is a place, but more of a perspective/mind-set. God intentionally leads us beside still waters, or into valleys of death, and I'm sure a bunch of other curious places. Because we're human, any of these places has the potential for temptation if we decide to stray away from Him. Its not difficult to get lazy and complacent beside still waters. Its easy to fall into despair and depression in valley's of death. Perhaps Jesus was saying, 'Be aware! Be alert! The enemy is about, prowling for distracted, sheep whom he can devour.'
Other posts in this series: