Series: Psalm 23 for the 21st Century
It abruptly stopped and disappeared beneath our feet. Fortunately we had a map.
Paths are supposed to lead to a destination. This one did; the top of a mountain. But it didn’t continue or circle back. It simply stopped. Paths are paths because people or animals walk them regularly. Grass is worn because of the traffic. I’ve walked root littered paths, rock infested paths, paths leading over mountain balds and paths passing through dense woods. Some popular paths are even denoted on maps.
Walking paths has purpose. I’ve never walked one just to say I did. I was going somewhere, looking at scenery, or taking a shortcut. I’ve walked some paths that disappointed me and others that amazed me.
David was a shepherd and a path walker. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake (Psalm 23:3 KJV).God led David to paths of righteousness and gave him strength to walk them but wouldn’t force him to. Sometimes he walked the right path; at other times he chose the wrong one. God has led me to the same paths, and I’ve followed David’s example-good choices and not so good choices.
What paths we take in life and why is important. A modern translation reads He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths (NLT). Right paths lead to love, kindness, integrity, patience, unselfishness, godly living, joy and peace. God provides the strength to walk these paths, but we must choose them instead of paths leading to the opposite.
When we rebel against the paths our Shepherd leads us to, we throw away the chance to experience life’s best. The next time you’re tempted to take an alternate route, choose the Shepherd’s path instead.
Prayer: Great Shepherd, guide us to the paths leading to life’s best and strengthen us to walk them.