|Artwork by Tom Kauffman|
relationship (Genesis 37:22; 50:18-21)
health (Exodus 4:7),
fortunes (Psalm 14:7)
cities (Nehemiah 3:8)
the temple (2 Chronicles 24:4,12)
even life itself (2 Kings 8:5)
All of these things were broken, failed as a result of sin, neglect, captivity, destruction, or even death. They all needed to be restored, and each one was.
What about the restoration of the soul, which we read about in Psalm 23:3?
The soul needs restoration. The sin around us and the brokenness within us overtax our souls and use them up. They carries things they weren't meant to carry, and they are crushed under the weight. They are weary, they are withered; they are parched, in need of a "draught from some cool spring." Like sponges, they are all wrung out, and they longs to soak in God's grace and be restored.
We cannot restore our own souls. The soul was made for restoration, but, unlike our organs, it does not regenerate on its own. A scab can grow over a cut on the skin and, when the wound is healed, drop off. It has aided in the body's natural restoration process. But it's not the same with the soul. Its healing -- yea, its very life -- depends on God. He alone can restore the soul.
And how does the Good Shepherd restore our souls? By making us lie down in green pastures and leading us by quiet waters. He gives us rest and He provides us with quiet waters from which to drink. His presence and guidance, his goodness and love, restore our souls.
Do not seek any other source or restoration for your soul. It is not to be had. Our help comes from the Lord; He alone restores our souls.
What is our response to this merciful soul-restoring Shepherd? Like the psalmist, we say, "Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalm 116:7-9, New Century Version).