He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
I. THAT EVEN CONVERTED PERSONS NEED A GOD TO LEAD THEM. O Lord, saith the Prophet (Jeremiah 10:23), I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. And therefore David prays, (Psalm 143:10) Teach me to do Thy will. What the leading of God is which is here meant.
1. There is a double leading. One is general in a way of common providence. Another is special and proper to the state and acts, and ways of grace and salvation, whereto a more singular aid and influence is necessary.
2. This efficacious guidance or leading consists of these particulars.
(1) Of a clearer illumination. They have eyes given them to see their Leader, and ears given them to know their Leader and His voice: This is the way, walk in it (Isaiah 30:21). Show me Thy ways, O Lord, teach me Thy paths (Psalm 25:4).
(2) Of a peculiar inclination of the will or heart to obey and follow the direction of God, which some do call exciting grace.
(3) Of a special cooperation, wherein Divine assistance concurs with the will renewed and excited, enabling it both to will and to do those things which are pleasing unto God, for it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do.
(4) Lastly, of a singular confirmation, which some call sustaining grace.
II. THIS FOR THE NATURE OF THIS GUIDANCE, NOW FOR THE MANNER OF IT. It is delightful as well as gentle. It is a safe leading. It is a faithful leading. Such a leading as will not mislead us. Such a leading as will not fail us.
III. BUT WHY SHOULD CONVERTED PERSONS NEED THE LEADING OF GOD?
1. In respect of the imbecility that is in their graces. Grace (considered in this life) though it be a sweet plant, yet it is but a plant very tender; and though it be a pleasing child, yet but a child very weak.
2. In respect of the difficulties which are in the way. Though righteous paths be heavenly and holy, yet many times are they made stormy and uneasy.
3. In respect of that erroneous aptness in us, even the best of us; error is manifold, and truth simple; many ways to miss the mark, one only to hit it.
4. Christians must make progress in grace, as well as find an entrance of grace.
5. Lastly, in respect of that backwardness that is in our spirits: The flesh is weak, saith Christ. The journey to heaven is up the hill, we fail against wind and tide. The first use shall be to inform us of the great love of God towards His people, whom He is pleased not to leave, but to guide and lead, to make and keep, to raise up and lead. It may likewise inform us, that we have no cause to glory in our own strength.
IV. IT WILL PROVE OUR BEST COMFORT, HAVING SUCH A LEADER TO FOLLOW HIM.
(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.