He Restores My Soul
He restores my soul. Four simple words to describe the greatest gift ever given.
The forgiven soul is restored to relationship with God.
Restored to righteousness.
Restored to hope.
Restored to life and purpose.
The moment faith is born within the heart, this becomes truth for a follower of Jesus. And every time we stumble, He continues to restore. When King David, a man after God’s own heart, succumbed to temptation and sinned, he lamented,
“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:11
Keller explains in his book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 that sheep provide an exact analogy for this situation. It is even called being “cast” or “cast down”. A sheep that is cast down has made its bed in a soft indentation of earth and gotten too comfortable. Leaning back a little too far, it loses its center of gravity and cannot get back up. In this position, gases build up in the rumen, and the bloating cuts off circulation to their limbs. If the shepherd does not find the helpless sheep in time, it will die, sometimes in a matter of hours.
It is a terrible loss to the shepherd, and even more so if the sheep is a pregnant ewe. This is another reason why a good shepherd keeps close count of his sheep. He needs to know whether he needs to go looking for a stranded sheep. He must gently roll the sheep back over on its side to relieve the gas that has built up. If the sheep has been cast down very long, he must lift the sheep to its feet, hold it up between his legs, and massage the legs to restore circulation. Keller says that when the sheep is released to stand alone on its feet, it is usually wobbly and will fall again. The shepherd will continue to work with the sheep until he or she regains equilibrium.
The first circumstance that leads a sheep to being cast down is a wool coat that has gotten too long and heavy. The shepherd must sheer the sheep, often with difficulty, and the wool is full of dirt, feces, and ticks. It is truly a relief to both sheep and shepherd to be free of its fleece. I am feeling suspicious of Mary and her lamb whose fleece was white as snow. Only the Lord’s sheep have fleece so clean and bright. This heavy, dirty fleece is an analogy for us of how we can be weighed down by sin. Our shepherd waits for us to come willingly to repent and let him relieve us of the weight that we carry. He does this for us out of love, and not exasperation. Never be afraid to go to God when you have made a mistake or chosen the wrong path. He always wants to restore.
The second circumstance that leads sheep to be cast down is simply being overweight. The shepherd has to keep a closer watch over the sheep and limit their diet. We can carry burdens that have nothing to do with sin. We can be overwhelmed by things we have no control over. Sometimes we need to prioritize, opt out of some things, and make sure we are making a routine of sitting with the Lord to allow him to take our burdens and refill our joy.
He restores my soul. He is worthy of my love and adoration, my praise and my worship.
The following video shows sheep who have been cast down.
Picture is curtesy of Pixabay.