This is the second in our series on Psalms 23. I pray God will bless you and those you love with this:
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
After we are sufficiently restored, we are led down the paths of righteousness and next comes the important words we want to focus on “…for his name sake.” What has the sake of His name? What is it exactly called by His name and what does that mean here? The answer is twofold.
First of all, we (the sheep) are! If the Lord is our shepherd, then we also by association are HIS sheep. His name is upon us as a sign of belonging. That is important because it is the only thing that qualifies any of us to go down the paths of righteousness. The Amplified Bible says it like this: “…He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake” (emphasis mine). We have no right to be led down paths for those in right standing with Him. We get to walk down those paths simply because His name is on us!
We are not the only thing in the passage that bears His name. The pathway also has His name on it. It is a constant reminder to those on the path that they are ways of His choosing. Why would we need the reminder? We need it because the path is not simply a way of privilege for those with right standing with God. The pathway is itself the way of making us righteous before the Lord. Why else would we need restoring before going down the pathway? It is on this path that God begins to wear away from us all things that are not like Him. This is often painful and may cause us to wonder from time to time if indeed we are still on His path. His name is there to remind us that even painful steps on the pathway have His eternal signature on them, TO MAKE US RIGHT!
Consider where the author says THE path leads: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” Please know that this is the self-same path of righteousness that is mentioned a few moments before. At times it is so close to killing us that we stand in death’s shadow with death’s attention squarely on us! This too has God’s name all over it and is for producing righteousness in us. Whether by His intended or by His permissive will, God autographs our trials, trembles, and tribulations.
Before you get too depressed, David gives us some hope. Having gone through this valley a time or two, David says, “I have nothing to fear…”, why? He knows that this valley is to make him righteous and God adds to His signature HIS PRESENSE! The shepherd is there to protect and keep me from all that is not beneficial to me. If you have been wondering about the path that you have been made to walk, know that if you are indeed His sheep, His presence and His name are on you and the pathway you tread!