“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:1-3
Today I’m tasked with writing a post about the most beloved psalm of them all, Psalm 23. What can I say that hasn’t been said before? If the truth’s to be told, there’s probably nothing new that anyone could say. So I won’t worry about saying something new. Instead I’ll just comment on what catches my eye today, and that’s the last portion of the third verse, “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Why does God do all the things he does for us? “For His name’s sake.”
On the surface this might seem a selfish, or prideful, reason for doing all the caring and generous things that David says that God does for him, but that’s not the way we should understand the phrase.
What’s being communicated by the phrase is that God is living up to the meaning of his name.
The name for God most directly referred to in this context is Yahweh-Raah which means, “The Lord, my Shepherd”.
God can’t stop being who he is. He is the Good Shepherd and because of that fact, and that fact alone, we, his sheep, will receive the best care his love and wisdom can give.
Many times we’re tempted to attempt to list all the qualities we might have that might induce God to love us, but God doesn’t need us to be any particular way so that he can love us. He loves us because of who he is; in the apostle John’s first letter to the Christian Church he says that “God is love”.
So we don’t have to be holy, or righteous, or faithful, or beautiful, or talented, or anything else that we might think would give us value to God, or anyone else, in order to get God to love us. He loves us because of who he is.
And because of who he is he will notice when we’ve gone astray and he do whatever he has to do to find us. Because of who he is he understands our needs and takes all the steps necessary to lead us to places where all those needs will be provided for. He’ll be present and equipped to protect us during times of danger. He’ll provide for us even when enemies will try to take everything from us. Because of who he is we can rely on him to do all these things and more.
O God, you have a name above every name. I know I can count on you to be everything your name says you will be. Thank you for being my God.