The current sermon series at my church is on Psalm 23. This evening, one of my pastors preached on the following text:
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
The paths of righteousness. What does that mean?
Often we think that this means we do the right thing but in reality, it is the Shepherd who is leading us on the paths of righteousness and other than following Him, it has nothing to do with our behavior.
The Hebrew word in this verse which is translated as "righteousness" is tsedeq (Strong's Hebrew 6664). I find it interesting that in English the word "righteous" is an adjective but tsedeq is a noun. Apparently there is more to this than meets the eye.
Other versions of the Bible, such as the NIV and NLT use the phrase "He leads me along right paths" instead. Look at how this verse is rendered in the New Living Translation.
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
This is synonymous with the definition of Brown-Driver-Briggs for this verse which is: right paths
The shepherd does not necessarily travel from Point A to Point B in a straight line. To the Jew in the Old Testament, this meant that God would lead them on the right paths. He might choose a path that would run through a grassy meadow but then he might lead the sheep on another path that might not be as pleasant. He had a purpose in doing so. Sheep must be moved continually or they will eat the grass down to it's roots and destroy it. The shepherd moves them constantly from one grazing ground to another.
The sheep trust and follow the shepherd wherever he deems fit to lead them and the shepherd leads them on "right paths" or he takes the ways which seem best to him though the sheep may think otherwise. :wink:
We must remember that God also will always lead His sheep on right paths no matter how wrong it may seem to us at the time. Will we trust Him and follow Him as faithfully as the sheep follow their shepherd?
Once again, the richness of your personal experience and relationship with God truly enrich this post.
The path you've walked has been difficult - and great fruit has been produced in your life as a result
"for His name's sake"
He has glorified himself in your life!