Psalm 23:6, He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake
Also 1 Samuel 12:22; Psalm 106:8; Isaiah 66:5; 1 John 2:12; 3 John 1:7, for more references to “His name’s sake”.
The 23rd Psalm is one of my favorites. I learned it as a young man and it is with me much of the time now. When I have trouble going to sleep, or even just at night after I’ve gone to bed, and my mind is still up and about, sometimes I recite it to myself. It’s a great mind-relaxer, to be reminded that there’s more to life than sometimes meets the eye.
But verse 6 has impressed itself on me recently: He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Sometimes, we Christians get so wrapped up in living, that we forget that God has something at stake, if I can put it like that, in our lives, as well. We are His children, and we are called by His name: Christians. Granted, David, the author of the 23rd Psalm, didn’t know that name, or what God was going to do long after David was dead. He himself had great and precious promises about his lineage, 1 Samuel 7:12-16, but God never told him exactly how He was going to fulfill those promises. David didn’t know anything about “the church.” Still, he knew that God was working in His life. David messed up badly and God told him, “You have given My enemies great occasion to blaspheme,” 2 Samuel 12:14, and so he had, to this day. His dalliance with Bathsheba is the best known part of his whole life, and unbelievers still use it to belittle this “man after God’s own heart”, Acts 13:22.
If we’re not careful, we can do the same thing. I remember a time as a young believer; I had gone to Bible college, only been saved a few months, though I didn’t understand that at the time. I’ve probably told the story of my early life before, but it fits here, as well. I had “gone forward” at a meeting held by an associate of Billy Graham, name of Mordecai Ham, and had then been baptized. I was 9 or so. We’ll skip over the next 13 or so years. A fellow at work kept after me to go to church, something I wasn’t interested in, and finally, just to shut him up! I went with him. It was there in that church, not that first time I went but shortly thereafter, that the Lord brought me to Himself. I never “went forward” or “prayed the prayer,” but God did something in my life and I was never the same afterward. I still have a long ways to go. I am well acquainted with Romans 7. It was while I was at that college that I came to understand that I hadn’t really been saved at the age of 9 at all, but years later. I was baptized again, this time at my own leading, not my grandmother’s, God bless her. She’s been with Him a long time now.
Anyway, I was at work and evidently not doing a very good job at it. The boss told me that I was a poor example of a Christian. I cannot tell you how that struck me. I asked the Lord to forgive me and straighten me out. I worked at that cafeteria for about 3 1/2 years until I graduated. A few years later, I took my wife to that same place and the boss, a different one, but who had been there when I was there before, offered me my old job back.
God had something at stake in my life. He does in all His children’s lives. You see, people judge Him by what they see in us. That is why He leads us in paths of righteousness. It is for His name’s sake.