He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3, HCSB
I settled into the saddle, took up the reigns and held my breath. My mule was about to step into the Grand Canyon, and the first bend we rounded caused me to cry out, “How beautiful!” I couldn’t help myself. The morning sun turned the red rock to fire, the depth was dizzying, the patterns amazing. That canyon deserved praise. To see it and not verbalize its beauty was unthinkable.
How much more does the creator of the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains and Victoria Falls deserve our praise? His name is worthy of anthems and orchestras and poetry. And, just as I’d love to show you the splendor of the earthly places I’ve seen, God wants to display his own splendor to the people He created. He wants them to revel in His beauty and lift up His name.
And so, He does something that perhaps we don’t think about much when we read the 23rd Psalm. He guides His sheep along paths that will glorify His name.
But sometimes, the sheep don’t like it much. We’d rather pick the paths that glorify our own names, or at least give us some comfort and luxury. I mean, won’t a good shepherd want the best for fluffy little ‘ole bleating me? He’ll guide me in the path of a nice, air-conditioned home, a lucrative job and excellent schools for my children, right?
Not necessarily. Those aren’t His goals when he picks out my paths. His goal is to bring glory to His own name. That means He may send this sheep to dirty, hot, hungry places to tell others about His love. That means he may allow me to suffer in the short term so that my trust in His redemption so impresses those around me that they, too, glorify His name.
And, in the future, we will see that those sojourns on the difficult paths not only glorified God’s name, but also made us into stronger sheep. And when we step into heaven, our reward awaits us – the reward of the Good Shepherd to his faithful flock.
So, choose my path, Faithful Father. And guard me from complaining when it doesn’t suit my fancy. Keep my eyes on You, not myself. May Your name be glorified on every road my hooves walk.