Restoring Your Heart

Josh Wanner40DOW

He restores my soul [Hebrew: nephesh].

Psalm 23:3

What do sheep need? Life for sheep can be a challenge. They can go hungry. They can go thirsty. They can get lost or sick. They can get weary from being moved from one place to another. They need protection from predators and enemies. No wonder they need a shepherd!

The Lord is my Shepherd. That makes me His sheep.

How do I translate the words of Psalm 23 to my own life and experience? After all, the only sheep I usually encounter have been at a petting zoo or at the sheep barn of the State Fair.

I can almost envision David, the former shepherd boy, thinking in sheep language when he wrote Psalm 63:1 – “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul [nephesh] thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Does that sound like you (and me) at times? Life can leave us lacking – lacking strength (physical, emotional, and spiritual), lack-ing confidence, lacking assurance, lacking joy. We face danger from our spiritual enemies: the devil, the world, and our sinful self. Sometimes our existence feels like living in a “dry and weary land where there is no water.”

We need someone or something that can renew us, revive us, restore us. That Someone is Jesus, the Good Shepherd. What we lack, He possesses in full. What we need, He provides.

To do that, He uses means – Word and Sacrament, the “green pastures and still waters” of the previous verses. It’s all Him. “He makes . . . He leads . . . He restores . . . He leads” (vs. 2-3). When we put our faith in Him, we “shall not want.” We have everything we need for this life and the life to come – God’s love, forgiveness, goodness, peace, purpose. As Jesus said of Himself: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).


Good Shepherd, lead us, feed us, guide us, guard us. Restore our soul, revive our spirits, refresh our lives.

Daily Reading: Proverbs 24

– Contributed by Rev. Paul Peckman