The Soul’s Restoration

Psalm 23:3a

March 9

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul. 
He leads me in the paths of righteousness 
for His name’s sake.


W.A. Criswell said, “ ‘He restoreth my soul, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.’ First the man is accepted. He is restored, “He restoreth my soul.” That’s first, then the works that God we pray will bless. It is so in the tabernacle and in the temple. First is the altar, the sacrifice, the atonement for sins and then the door into the house of God, into the sanctuary of the Lord. First the man is atoned for. First he is accepted. Then he approaches God.”

     The Soul’s Restoration. “He restores my soul” (v. 3a). My soul can be restored! How? What does that mean? Notice what bookends this part of the psalm--Before: “He leads beside the still waters.” After: “He leads me in paths of righteousness.”

     In the middle of the two acts of His beckoning call to follow Him is the very act of God’s restoration within my soul. Twice I am told to follow His leadership because He will be leading me to restore the very essence of my being! 

     The Shepherd’s Leading. Before we get to Lesson 9, let us look at a real-life story about what it means to be led by Christ. 

“He Leadeth Me, He Leadeth Me.” 

     On March 26th, 1862, in the midst of the heaviest fighting of the Civil War, a young man fresh out of theological school, was supply preaching at the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. At the mid-week service, Joseph Gilmore taught on the 23rd Psalm.

     He later wrote, “I did not get further than the words ‘He Leadeth Me.’ Those words took hold of me as they had never done before, and I saw them in a significance and wondrous beauty of which I had never dreamed.”

     Gilmore spoke of how God’s leadership and our submission is the one significant fact in human experience, that it makes no difference how we are led, or where we are led to, as long as we are sure that God is leading us. After the meeting, Pastor Gilmore penciled the following words

He leadeth me, O blessed thought! /
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!

Whatever I do, wherever I be /
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom, /
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,

By waters still, over troubled sea, /
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.

And when my task on earth is done, / 
When by Thy grace the victory’s won,

Even death’s cold wave I will not flee, /
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me, /
By His own hand He leadeth me;

His faithful follower I would be /
For by His hand He leadeth me.

     Unknown to him, his wife took the words he wrote, sent it to a Boston paper and William B. Bradbury set it to music. About three years later, Gilmore went to Rochester, New York, to preach as a candidate before the Second Baptist Church. Going into their chapel, Gilmore casually wondered what the church would be singing. He opened the hymnal and was shocked to see his own words there, written quickly yet identically to how it was printed on the pages before him.

     Is your soul in need of restoration, of healing? Perhaps when you submit to His leading, healing will occur. Tomorrow we will discuss more of the soul's restoration.

Lord, I will place my hand in Thine,
and never murmur nor repine;
I will be content, whatever lot I see, 
Since it is You, my God, Who leadeth me.

All this month we are looking at the most beloved psalm and the most quoted chapter in all of the Bible, the 23rd Psalm. If you would like to subscribe daily, put your email in the upper right box.


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