Sometimes God takes a Scripture I have never noticed before and makes it come alive with new meaning – that’s what happened with Isaiah 61 over the past year. I’m sure I’ve read it before, but suddenly it felt like a promise for me, for this year. It was profound and meaningful.
Sometimes, though, its the familiar passages that you’ve read a thousand times, whose words have become rote and whose meaning has long been archived in the shelves of your mind that suddenly pop and hit you in a new way.
Psalm 23 did that for me this week.
It’s the Psalm we say without thinking, the one passage known well beyond Christian circles. It’s read at funerals, sung in choirs and framed art prints continue to sell in major department stores.
Suddenly, there it was:
He restores my soul.
A promise so profound, so rich, so meaningful. Not a partial restoration, or a one-day future promise. I’m in the midst of teaching English to second language learners, and I have to pay close attention to the verb tense. Restores indicates an ongoing, present reality. It’s not in the past, it’s not in the future, it is happening right now, as we speak. He restores my soul.
I LOVE that.
In the broader context of the Psalm, the phrase doesn’t lose it’s meaning, but rather it becomes sharper, clearer: As I follow the leadings of my Shepherd, He restores my soul. As I walk through dark places, where fear and danger lurk, He is with me. As I stand before my enemies, who once had such power over me, instead of with fear and trembling, I feast with my Saviour. That is the confidence I have in my Shepherd, in the word He does, in the restoration He is doing.