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Question & Answer

He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3

Question: Recently in reading Psalm 23, I was impressed by the words, “He restoreth my soul.” How does the Lord restore a soul?

Answer: Just as sheep are prone to wander and like to go their own way, we as Christians can allow things to come into our lives that interrupt our communion with the Great Shepherd. We can say with David: “I have gone astray like a lost sheep” (Psalm 119:176).

Departure from the Shepherd is almost always accompanied by a failure in: 1. Our prayer life, 2. Bible reading and study, and 3. Fellowship with God’s people. At these low times when we lose the joy of our salvation (Psalm 51:12), it is encouraging to be reminded that Christ knows where we will wander before we take the first step, and has our restoration in mind even before we go astray (see Luke 22:31,32).

When we feel our need of the Shepherd’s presence, it is time to recognize and confess the sin that has caused us to put distance between ourselves and Him (1 John 1:9). God may use other Christians to pray for us and lovingly remind us of our need of Him.

He may also allow special trials to come into our lives that will cause us to turn back to Himself. A good shepherd carries a rod, which he can use to redirect a wayward sheep. Our Shepherd will correct us, but always in love: “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6).

As wandering sheep languish apart from their caregiver, we also must be restored to our Shepherd so we can enjoy communion with Him and be refreshed once again by His green pastures and still waters.

—John D. McNeil