“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” ~ Psalm 23:3
Failure is one of the most feared and dreaded experiences in life. The fear of failure drives millions of people all day long, every day. There are many ways to fail. We can fail in our work, in our marriage or as parents. We can fail personally by feeling we’re not living up to our expectations or our potential. We can fail morally. When we fail what do we do about it?
The third verse of this psalm gives us a prescription for failure. David knew what it was to fail. When he needed a restoration he tells us how his Shepherd restored him when he wrote “He leads me in the paths of righteousness.” He had already written that his Shepherd leads him to still waters. When he uses the word “lead” for the second time he uses a Hebrew word that means his Shepherd “drives” him into the paths of righteousness.
Rehabilitation means, “to invest again with dignity.” David is telling us that when we need restoration we should not seek a cheap or an easy path. He implied that his restoration was a matter of being driven into the paths of righteousness for some time—perhaps even for years. David’s Shepherd used those paths of righteousness to restore his soul or to give him an opportunity to invest again with dignity.
By application, when we fail and need restoration, we too must let the great Shepherd lead us into the paths of righteousness that will truly restore our souls.