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Psalm Friday

The Path of Obedience
Psalm Friday
Psalm 23, continued

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 23 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Psalm 23:3b, NKJV
Sheep are creatures of habit. If you and I were to follow Dolly, our sweet little sheep who experienced restoration last time we were with her, during her daily routine, you would most likely tread down the same paths she has walked down day after day, stop by the same brook to quench your thirst and feed on the same fields she has fed on for weeks.

Some habits are good for Dolly; this particular one is not. You see, if a she continues to walk down the same path she’s always walked, the path will become a rut and the rut will become a ditch and if Dolly were to stumble in the ditch it would be very difficult for her to regain her footing which could lead to Dolly becoming cast once again. If Dolly continues follow the same path down to the same brook to stand in the same spot to drink of the same water, eventually the sand on the shoreline will become eroded possibly causing Dolly to slip into the water which could lead to her drowning. Another issue arises from this habit of Dolly’s; if she continues to feed in the same field for weeks on end, that field will literally become a poor, ravished field of nothing but dirt and grass roots because she will have pawed her way to the roots of the grass in search of something to eat. Dolly’s only hope is that her shepherd is close beside her leading her down paths that will bring to her the rest, health, and nourishment that her delicate body needs to survive and thrive.

So it is with you and me. We are creatures of habit. Some of our habits are good; some of them, not so much. We are in desperate need of the Good Shepherd to lead us down those paths of righteousness; those paths that will lead to our growth and prosperity in His kingdom and for His glory.

We have all, at one point or another, walked down our own paths, with our own agenda, thinking that our way was best. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). I don’t know about you, but my paths only lead to destruction. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25).

The only hope we have is to follow in the way of the Good Shepherd. He tenderly and with much compassion and love says to us, “I am the way, the Truth, and the life” (John 14:6a); “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b). But, it all comes down to one thing; it all comes down to a matter of obedience. Are you and I ready to follow Him down His paths of righteousness? Are we ready to put aside our selfish desires and take up our cross, daily, and follow the Good Shepherd? Are you and I willing to do His will for our lives, whatever it may be? Are you and I willing to obey no matter what the cost? He is leading, will you follow?

I wonder today: are you stuck in a rut? Are you day after day walking down those same paths that are leading you farther and farther into a pit of sin? Are you trying to quench your thirst with the things of this world: money, drugs and alcohol, dependence upon people, climbing the corporate ladder to get that promotion that will only take you away from your family more often? Are you going back to those same unhealthy habits time and time again because they give you some “relief” for a short time? Do you have some bad habits that need to be broken today?

My friends, God has taken up residence within us through the person of the Holy Spirit. We have the power contained within to live a life of complete obedience to the Good Shepherd and follow in His paths of righteousness.

“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good
Philippians 2:13, ESV

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