What does it mean that God 'restores my soul'? How can God restore my soul?

Psalm 23:3 says, "He restores my soul." How can our souls be restored? The focus is on God's work in our lives. We cannot restore ourselves, but must be restored by God.

The context of Psalm 23 is one in which David recognizes God as his shepherd or caretaker. Because God watches over him, he does not find himself in need of anything. All of his needs are met. He can rest in green pastures, beside still waters (v. 2). His paths are righteousness (v. 3), even though he walks through the valley of the shadow of death (v. 4).

The last portion of Psalm 23 shifts to a different scenario, one in which David sits at a table among his enemies, likely at a royal banquet. In this word picture, David has no fear of his enemies, he is anointed (set apart as special), and his cup overflows (meaning he has plenty to drink). He feels blessed with goodness and mercy and will live in God's house forever (v. 6).

A look at the entire Psalm provides three principles for "restoring my soul." These include rest, reflection, and replenishment. David appears to be at rest when he composed this Psalm. This was not a song to prepare for battle or celebrate a holy day, but rather to enjoy a time of relaxation in God's presence.

Second, restoration involved reflection. His soul was restored as he looked at life from God's perspective. He felt protected, safe, and secure under the leadership of God.

Third, his restoration included replenishment. Both rest and reflection led to a renewed vigor to live for God. This replenishment also included an anticipation to be with God forever in the future (v. 6).

With this perspective on life, David could live with a restored soul, prepared for the problems of the day. He knew God was with him, cared for him, and would never leave his side. There was no battle too big for him to face with God in his life.

The same is true in our own lives. If we wish to see God restore our soul, we need to make time to rest, reflect, and replenish. We cannot expect to live with a fresh sense of God's presence in our lives if we constantly rush from one issue to the next. To be restored takes time, focused on God and His greatness, to renew us with hope and joy regarding this life and anticipation for eternity.

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