Frail and helpless creatures that they are, sheep are an easy prey to the wolves. Attacked by wolves the sheep are filled with terror and tremble. But having a shepherd that makes them lie down in green pastures and leads them be side still waters, the sheep have their souls restored to the calm confidence they had before the attack. Of this, one of our versifications of Psalm 23:3 sings (PRC Psalter):
He tenderly restores my soul
When I am in distress,
And for His name's sake
Guides my feet in paths of righteousness.
But understand that this truth, as applied to us, refers to much more than human wolves that threaten us. It is God's wrath, because we have left the paths of righteousness and earned for ourselves everlasting punishment, that troubles our souls.
However, because Jehovah is our Shepherd, our souls are restored to the assurance of the innocency wherein Adam was created. For our Shepherd, Whose name is Jesus, and means Jehovah saves, suffered fully the wrath of God for our sins and removed all our guilt.
This Good Shepherd not only blotted out our guilt and supplies us with all the things of this present life that we need, but He also supplies all that which our souls need. And this David expresses so beautifully when he states that our Shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness. Thus not only does He take away our fears by dying in our place, but He enables us to walk again in righteousness. What blessed assurance that is for one whose soul is also disturbed because it hates sin.
And remember that we must find this in our lives, if we are going to be freed from the fear of punishment. Even the devil wants to be assured that he will not be cast into the lake of fire. All who will be cast in have that fear, and desire a way out. But walking in the paths of righteousness is the evidence that our Good Shepherd died for our sins. For He died for them in order that we might live in a way that glorifies God's name. He saves us not merely for our good; but His deepest motive is His love for God and the glory of His name.
Read: Psalm 5:1ff.
Psalter versification: #54:2
Song for Meditation: Psalter #309
Why not sing along??
Daily Meditations on the Heidelberg Catechism
Through the Bible in One Year
Genesis 42:18-38; Genesis 43:1-34
Matthew 13:47-58; Matthew 14:1-12
Quote for Reflection:
"… If we dislike our calling, because the labor which we undertake appears to be unproductive, yet, when the Lord exhorts us to steadiness and perseverance, we ought to take courage; in the end we shall obtain a happy result, but it will be at the proper time." – John Calvin