Thursday, April 10, 2008

Psalm 23 - #5

Psalm 23:3 . . . he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

He Leadeth Me. This is a straightforward clause which declares a straightforward action on God's part. "He" is the subject of this clause, and it declares God as being the one who is the Actor in this event. If it were not for God, and we could exist without him, then we could not be led in the paths of righteousness; because God must do this leading, since he is a righteous God, and there is no righteousness without him.

The object of this clause is "me." The action that God takes in this clause is directed to me. This makes this action personal. God is interested individually in his sheep. He takes a personal and intimate interest in each one of his children. What would I be without God? I would be nothing--I could not exist apart from this Providence.

The action of this clause is "leadeth." This verb is in the present tense, so God's leading is an ongoing action. He does not lead us for a while and then leave us to ourselves. He leads us all the way to eternity and throughout eternity. If we had no leader and could exist aside from him, then we would be going every which way, and there would be chaos on the earth (if there could be an earth). Isn't that what is happening in the world today? People are neglecting God and his word, and the world is becoming more and more chaotic. Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

In The Paths Of Rightousness. When God leads us, he does not lead us into paths of wickedness: Matt 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. God leads us in one direction only, and that direction is toward him. Part of the redemptive purpose of God is to bring us to God, and that is what he is doing in all of his Providence. His immanence is precious to every saved soul. He works directly in our individual lives by leading us in the paths of righteousness where there is light and life: Prov. 12:28 In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

But if we as God's children veer off the righteous pathway, there is death:

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; . . .

1 John 5:16 . . . There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Job 24:19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.
Outside the paths of righteousness is death. God will punish sin with death, yes, in his children. He will bring death upon those who refuse to walk in the paths of righteousness. I do not pretend to know when God does that, but his word says that he will do it.

Within the paths of righteousness is life, and we would all do well to cry out to God even as Job did in Job 23:3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! We should seek the presence of God whatever it takes in our lives to do so. Every Christian should desire to walk in the paths of righteousness and to bring glory to God.

But how can we be led in the paths of righteousness? Notice Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word. We must spend much time in Bible reading and study and in prayer that we may find God and study his attributes, his graces and benefits, and his chastisements.

For His Name's Sake. God does not lead his children into dark places where sin dwells. He does not lead them where danger of temptation lurks. He leads his children in his own path, but not for their sakes but for his own name's sake. Remember we are but the dust of the earth; we are only his creatures. We deserve none of the goodness that God manifests to us. God is the one who deserves all the credit, all the reward, all the praise, all the service, etc.

His name is JESUS (Matt. 1:21). His name is holy (Luke 1:49). His name is to be preached among all nations (Luke 24:47). We have life through is name (John 20:31). We should be willing to suffer shame for his name (Acts 5:41). Our sins are remitted through his name (Acts 10:43). We should give thanks to his name (Heb. 13:15). His name is called The Word of God (Rev. 19:13).