(WRITER’S NOTE: We’re taking our time studying Psalm twenty three. If not just for the beauty of such a “stroll,” the tranquility called to our consciousness by such a serene scene can provide much material for quiet contemplation. Meaningful meditation. You can almost hear the birds chirping in the background and the hear the almost silent, gentle flow of he stream. Perhaps you can recall your own times out in Nature when you felt so close to God and had your spirit refreshed. That, alone, would make this a worthwhile place to sit and study and think a while without hurry or interruptions. Beyond the beauty of the scene, though, you can consider with David the “Shepherd of the Soul.” You will probably also become more newly aware of the role He (the Shepherd) plays in your life. And your role as one of “the sheep of His passture. -dk)
HE RESTORES MY SOUL. . . .
I don’t know if he’s talking about a sheep at this point. The analogy seems to change a bit, at least from my view point. I can’t think about sheep “thinking” like that, having ability to reason, or even if they have a “soul” or if they’ve ever even thought about what one is. I’ll “pass” on that point since I haven’t a clue,
But we do. We have souls, a part of us, which was created in the image of God Himself, and a part of us which will live on eternally. And, to be candid again, there have been times I felt mine was pretty nearly “worn out” and in much need of repair.
Some of the “restoring,” I would suppose, could come from refreshing time spent in “green pastures” or strolling “beside still waters” if we’re still using a “sheep” analogy. I’d think that would have the effect of refreshing and renewing. When the Bible says, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength, in returning and rest” you will be saved, or renewed, it certainly recognizes and emphasizes the value and necessity of meditation, unhurried solitude and quiet rest. It would certainly be worth our while to explore and understand our spiritual resources and discover how our diminishing reserves can be “restored.” Simply by “resting” in the Lord.
One of my favorite hobbies is oil painting. I never carefully studied and applied myself diligently enough to become an “artist,” but it provided a lot of enjoyment through the years. Unfortunately some of the best work I did was among the earliest paintings I completed. Feeding my vanity more than anything, my children would “quarrel” over who got what paintings ‘when daddy dies.’ With my vanity camouflaged as “paternal concern” and wishing to avoid in-fighting over the “art treasures” when I’m gone, I went ahead and gave most of my work away early.
One of the pieces is a picture of a little boy in overalls out in his dad’s garage with several open cans of paint and an old, worn-out, ragged brush painting on an old board. As he holds the board admiringly out front, paint is dripping from his brush, onto his overalls, and the surrounding area. His eyes seem to gleam with pride and pleasure at his creation.
Tim is my only son who ever “took up the brush” or displayed any real talent or interest in painting. As a matter of fact, when he was maybe seven or eight years old I “financed” a limited edition of a drawing he did on paper for me. We went together to the copy shop, and I had several printed at @ 20 cents apiece. The entire first edition was an immediate sellout (I purchased the all the prints, hoping someday he’d be famous and I could get rich. It didn’t work out that way.).
Since he’d exhibited interest, I gave him the painting of the little boy. When first done, it was so colorful and the blues and yellows and reds were brilliant. With the passing of years, though, dust and grime had accumulated and muted the color. The painting seemed dull and darker and dominated by burnt umber. I suggested to Tim that he might want to “restore” it. You know. Clean it up a bit. Take a mild solvent and “see if you can get the color to snap back to life.” Sounded simple enough, like a “do it yourself project” for a rainy or wintry afternoon.
Tim refused. Again, petting my vanity I know, he said he wanted to have an “expert” restore it. As I sat there and strutted, proud that my son would recognize and properly value such a work of art, I wondered if he’d call in someone from, say, the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Louvre.
Here’s my point: If something you value needs to be “restored,” wouldn’t it make sense to have it done by someone who knows what they’re doing? I also have owned and run an upholstery shop. I’ve seen some guys who were absolute artists in upholstery. They’ve taken what looked to be wrecked, irreparable, worthless auto or boat interiors and turned them into something which looked as if it just came off the showroom floor. I’ve seen them take what looked like dilapidated, “bound for the junkyard” old furniture look like priceless antiques. They know what they’re doing. They’re experts.
You can certainly make your own comparisons and draw your own conclusions. But, if you needed someone to “restore your soul,” wouldn’t it make immense sense to go to the one who specializes in that art?
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: ‘Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be like wool (lamb’s wool, incidentally and coincidentally, which traditionally is ‘white as snow.’). “If we (keep on) confess our sins, He is (remains) faithful and just to (continue) forgiving us our sins, and to (keep on) cleansing us from all unrighteousness.”
One of the writers of Scripture prayed: “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.” Anyone who’s in the business of “restoring” anything or anyone knows you first have to get it cleaned up. In “restoring” a house, the first thing you’re probably going to have to do is clean it up. Take out the rotten, termite riddled joists. Don’t even think about replacing them with rotten timber! We’re not talking about a “patch” job or just rigging something. We’re talking about getting it “restored” just like it was when it was new!
You’ll find a lot of places in the Bible which speak of being “cleansed,” “forgiven,” renewed,” or being “born again” or becoming a “new creation” in Christ. One such place was burned deeply into my consciousness almost at the beginning of my walk with Christ. I can quote it from memory now as I’m sure I’ve done hundreds of times when I’ve needed to remind myself: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
If you need to get an old car restored, I know folks who can do that professionally. Need antique furniture “restored?” Need an old house redone. It’ll cost you dearly, but I know some people who can do that. Need a priceless work of art restored? We’d have to work a while on that, and again it’s going to hit you hard in your bank account! But there are such specialists available.
But, is it your Soul, which needs restoring? Has it gotten bruised and battered in life’s battles? Disappointed? Defeated? Are you weary to the bone, almost too tired to continue?
If that’s your dilemma, here’s some good news. There IS someone who can fix that problem! He’s referred to as the “Shepherd” in this song, but elsewhere His real human identity is revealed clearly: Jesus of Nazareth.
donkimrey, His servant, your fellow student