Psalm 23:3b,“He leads me in paths of righteousness”
[I praise you, Lord Jesus, Our great Shepherd, that you carefully and consistently show us the right way, the best way, so we can walk with you well through whatever circumstances you bring or allow. We can be sure that you will always lead us in what is righteous; when we feel led to do something that is less than righteous, we can be sure this is not from you.
So often we are advised by well-meaning people to “just follow your heart!” But our hearts are naturally “deceitful above all and desperately wicked…” (Jer. 17:9). You came to save us from your hearts, so we could follow you instead. I praise you that we can know the way of righteousness because you reveal it to us with your Word, your life and the Spirit’s guidance.
Praise you for the preparation you have done to give us direction–drawing and driving us into the Word, teaching us your thoughts and giving us wisdom (“If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God…” James 1:5) Praise you for your constant presence to lead us step by step as we listen to you. “…run with patience the race set out before you, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). Thank you for your loving, gracious, calming care.]
“He leads me…for his name’s sake.”
[What a wonderful motive you have for guiding us—so we can be absolutely sure that your guidance will be right–for you will never guide us in doing anything that would dishonor your name.
Praise you that your foundational desires are always clear in your Word, that your Spirit prompts us in the right way, and that we can then bring glory to you by obeying you.
Part of your leading us on these righteous paths, is teaching us how to respond to difficulties and persecutions, which are possibilities to share in the sufferings of Christ. May we do this well, offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving at each juncture and rejoicing in the privilege of honoring you.
I think of my lost passport in Charlotte, of our delayed arrival in Dallas so we missed our appointment, of my plane being late coming into Frankfurt and missing my train. These uncomfortable situations were all opportunities to follow you in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake, by rejecting complaining, fear and anger, and instead exalting your name through offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving, trusting you to have a plan and to work it out for the best. And in each case you did.
I praise you that these happenings show how trustable your leading is, how you always help us move away from our natural, selfish responses of complaining, worry and anger, towards doing what is right and righteous, to keep your name clear and clean before all the seen and unseen beings around us.
You, Lord Jesus, are our gracious and good Shepherd, worthy of trust, worthy of worship, worthy of following. May I obey your leading today, following you in paths of righteousness.]