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Can We Be Restored? | When The Good Shepherd Holds Your Hand #2

Even God’s people are prone to wander away from Him. How can we come back to the Lord after we’ve gone off the path, doctrinally or even morally? Pastor Lutzer reflects on song lyrics for two kinds of people God can restore. Whatever habits, hurts, or hang-ups you have, let the Good Shepherd restore you to Himself. 

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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” This is #2 in our study, entitled, “When the Good Shepherd Takes You by the Hand.” Last time I emphasized that Psalm 23, this famous Psalm, is one that I quote virtually every evening. As I lie down, I begin to quote Psalm 23. I encourage you to do the same and if all of the thoughts of the world begin to creep upon your soul keep quoting it, concentrate on it and it will bring you to peace.

Well today we come to verse three. Where the text says, “He restores my soul.” Let me ask you a question today. Who is it that needs to be restored? Well, the sheep that needs to be restored is the sheep that has wandered away. Now shepherds tell us that sheep sometimes find one clump of grass after another, and they keep going away from the flock, or they follow a false path. And that’s why the Bible says, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” We are all like sheep who want to do our own thing with a sense of independence and a sense of getting away from the Shepherd. When the Bible says that He restores our soul, that is the responsibility of the Shepherd to do that, and later on David is going to say, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”

You’ve perhaps heard of the man by the name of Robert Robinson. He wrote a song, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and the reason I mention it here is one of the stanzas says, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel It. Prone to leave the God I Love.” Now if you know anything about the author you discover that he actually did wander. He wrote the song, he wandered morally, he even wandered doctrinally, but in the end God brought that sheep back. “Prone to wander”—we’ve all experienced it, and the Good Shepherd restores our souls but there’s another sheep that needs to be taken care of and that is the cast down sheep.

Now, I wouldn’t know this unless I had read a book that is actually written by shepherds; here’s what the text is talking about. There are times when a sheep will lie down and perhaps there’s an incline and in so doing the sheep will actually end up on its back. And a sheep that is on its back cannot right itself. All that it can do is to claw and to paw into the air. It cannot right itself. It needs the shepherd. Maybe that’s you today. You’ve discovered that in life you’ve made some wrong decisions. You have lain down, so to speak, and there is an incline; you look back and you say to yourself there’s no hope for me because I’m on my back. That, by the way, is the image in Psalm 42 where David makes the statement, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me?” David felt as if he was on his back. He needed the Good Shepherd to right him.

Well a moment ago, I referred to a hymn. I want to refer to another song. Back in 1949, a man by the name of Stuart Hamblen was gloriously converted in the great 1949 Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles. And he became a song writer. And he wrote this song: “The chimes of time ring out the news, another day is through. Someone slipped and fell. Oh was that someone you? You may have longed for added strength, your spirit to renew…” And he goes on to say that, “I have some good news for you.” The good news is this: After we slip and fall, the Good Shepherd is there to pick us up. So when you read the words, “He restores my soul,” it means that He brings us back to the flock, back to Himself.

And then it says, “He leads us in the paths of righteousness.” Why do we need to be led in the path of righteousness? Well sheep have a habit of overgrazing, if I can use that word. They’re in the same area and they run out of grass but they continue to try to live there. So the shepherd has to lead them to a different pasture. Are you being led to a different pasture? Maybe the vocation that you have been involved in, maybe you were fired from a job. Maybe something happened that you are in a period of transition. It’s the Good Shepherd bringing us to some fresh grass. Now we might not see that at the time but remember we don’t have the whole map of Judea in our head as the shepherd did in ancient times. The sheep don’t see very far. But the Good Shepherd does.

Can I encourage you to trust that Good Shepherd? If you’re one whose soul needs to be restored, let him restore you. If you are someone who needs to be led to a new pasture, let him lead you. There’s no reluctance on his part. Shepherds love their sheep and today we honor and we worship the Good Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep.

Be sure to join us again next time. I hope that you share these episodes because we want to bless you and today, well you’ve heard me say it before, you just go with God. 

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