So now, let’s move on to Psalm 23:3: David continues by saying, “He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
THE GOD OF RESTORATION
Let’s first look at this word “restores.”
The word that is used here literally means “to return, to cause to return, to restore to a former condition.” And if you know anything about God, you will know that this is one of His favorite hobbies: He loves to restore!
Of course, He did this with each of us when we were born again - when we each came to ourselves like the prodigal son and made the decision to “return” to the Father’s house. It was then that we were restored completely - receiving again the ring, the robe and the sandals. We were restored in our sonship! That was the ultimate “restoration”- restored to our former place that we lost at the time of Adam’s transgression. He restored the glory! He restored the position! He restored the garden in us! However, He also loves to restore other things as well: He restores possessions, relationships, health, etc. In short, if it’s good, He wants to restore it!
You see, He will even restore time! He told His chosen people in Joel 2:25- “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust (Pretty much all kinds of locusts😊)…” So, no matter what kind of “locust” we’re talking about, God will restore what they have stolen!
Now, we need to understand of course that this was the result of their own disobedience and sin. These armies of other nations were given access to consume them because they turned their back on God. However, what we see here is the mercy of God in restoration! He said He would even restore to them what they lost during the bad years that they brought on themselves. Tell me God is not a good God! Amen?
So, let me meddle for a moment: There are some that believe that the reason their children are making poor choices is because they made mistakes in parenting. And while that can be true; it’s not always the reason why our children go A.W.O.L. Did you know the most perfect parent who ever existed had children that blew it (i.e. God with Adam & Eve)? So, no, just because our children make poor choices, don’t let the enemy tell you it is because you must have done something wrong. Everyone has a free-will.
But my point is - even if we did do a poor job of parenting and made mistakes that propelled our children to go crazy, that doesn’t mean there is no hope! God specializes in RESTORATIONS! He can make lemonade out of those lemons, baby!
I can personally attest to this: When I came to the Lord at age 25, the Lord restored my time wasted in the world. He began to teach me and got me up to speed to where I believe I would have been if I had been seeking the Lord from my youth.
So, my point is - even if you have made mistakes that have created setbacks, even if you’ve made poor choices that have created delays, God will still restore the years! Yes, He is that good!
HOW HE RESTORES OUR SOUL
But this verse in the 23rd Psalm specifically says that He restores our soul!
So, let’s flip this example of parenting for a moment. Some of us are not on the parenting end; some of us are the children in this example. And some of us have some serious wounding in our souls because of the circumstances we were dealt when we were younger. But we are promised here that God will restore our souls! Amen!
Now there is a debate as to what the soul of man really is. The most common definition is that our soul is our mind, will and emotions. And while I believe that it certainly includes those things, it is obvious that sometimes that basic, simple definition is not always applicable. Sometimes when the Bible talks about the soul, it seems to be referring to the person themselves - their life, if you would. In fact, if you look at the New Testament word most commonly used for “soul,” it is also translated “life.” It is for this reason that I define the soul as our “inner-life.” Even at other times, when the Bible refers to our soul, it seems to be using our spirit and our soul synonymously. But regardless of what your opinion is on our soul, it is obvious that it is referring to this immaterial part of us that makes up our personality and that involves our mind, will and emotions. So, this is the part of us that we are told that God restores!
But a question that must be raised is - How does He do this? How does He restore our soul? And the reason this is such an important question to ask is because it is obvious that this does not automatically happen for all of the Lord’s children, at least to the same degree.
So, how does one’s soul get restored? Well, I’m glad you asked - because did you know that the Bible tells us exactly how one’s soul is restored!?!
We are given the answer in Psalm 19:7 which says, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”
The word “converting” here is the same word that was used in Psalm 23:3 for “restores.” So, what we see in this verse is how He restores our soul - it’s through the Law of the Lord. No, not just the Mosaic or Levitical laws. When David wrote this, the Law was all they had. So, what we would say today is “the Bible, the Word of God, etc.”- which would certainly include the Law and the prophets, but also includes the Gospels, the Epistles, etc. So, yes, the Word of God is what restores our soul!
David goes on to say that the testimony of the Lord is sure, “making wise the simple.” In other words, the Scriptures restore our souls by taking someone who is simple (i.e. ignorant or idiotic) and making them wise (Compare 2 Timothy 3:15). In other words, it’s not about accumulating knowledge and cramming a bunch of information in our heads. Where the power of restoration lies is in letting His perfect and sure Word impact our hearts with wisdom.
Psalm 119:130 says that His Word gives light (How?); it gives “understanding to the simple.” Again, the Word of God takes someone who is simple and gives them wisdom and understanding.
But the promise of restoration of our souls involves more than just smartening up one whose soul is ignorant; it stands to reason that it also affects the other parts of our soul like our emotions. Yes, the Word can “bring back” our mind, will and emotions to the healing, prosperous position they once had. In other words, there is the healing of our emotions and the restoration of our will that is available through the Word of God. Amen! So, yes, the Word works in helping our mental and emotional state.
A SOUL THAT LIVES AGAIN
God’s Word tells us that just as much as Jesus paid for our sins and sickness, He also paid for our peace (Isaiah 53:5). He has given us not only a spirit of power and love, but also of “sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). These are His promises!
James 1:21 tells us that when we receive with meekness the implanted word, it is able to save our souls! Amen! So here we see how God’s Word is likened to a seed because James calls it the “implanted” Word. The word “implanted” (or, “engrafted” in the KJV - which is poor translation) comes from two Greek words. The first word en describes “in, inner or inside.” The other word phyo literally means “to grow up or spring up in reference to plant growth.” So, I believe “implanted” is a very good translation because this describes the Word of God as something that grows or springs up like a plant inside of us.
So, when you “receive with meekness” (that’s a whole other sermon) the Word of God, it is like you are allowing the Word to be planted inside of you and its job is to grow or spring up in your heart like a seed’s job is to grow after it is planted. Amen!
Then James goes on to describe what this “implanted Word” will do: He says, “which is able to save your souls.”
You see, some of us have damaged, broken and ill souls - depending, not on the circumstances but how we responded to and allowed them to mold and shape or view, mentality, etc.
So, when James says here that the Word of God has the power to “save our soul”, what he is saying is that the Word has the ability to do to our souls what it did to our spirits when we responded to the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation. Amen!
His Word has the power to deliver our mind, to restore our emotions, to preserve our personality, to heal our heart, to change our will. His Word has the power to save our life and even create life! Amen!
Do you remember how the Lord first created man? He formed his body from the dust of the ground. He then breathed into His nostrils the breath of life. And then man became a living soul.
So, what was it that made man a “living soul”? It was when the Lord breathed into him the breath of life - which is obviously when God gave him his spirit.
Well, the Bible teaches us that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16), and this literally means that His Word is God breathed. So, what do you suppose happens when we receive God’s living Word into our hearts? It’s like God breathing into us all over again! Do you see where I am going with this? Likewise, as it was with Adam, the breath of God will create (or you could in this case say, recreate) a living soul within us! Amen!