God’s Ministry of Soul Restoration
“He restoreth my soul” (Ps. 23:3).
By Fred O. Blakely
The soul restoration of reference here pertains not only to the overall refashioning of man’s general nature into the Divine image which God, through Christ, is set to accomplish. It is also applicable to that recurrent rebuilding of the saint’s soul which is necessitated by its erosion through exposure to the friction occasioned by the faith life. Without that ministry of the gracious Father, the spirit or soul of His dear child would fail within him, and he would faint under the demands of the rugged course which he must pursue.
The experience of ancient Israel is spiritually repeated in the life of every person who has passed from death to life in Christ and is living and walking in Him. “They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way,” says the psalmist; “they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses” (Ps. 107:4-6).
Life in the earthly body, for those who have spiritually moved out of it into the Spirit to company with the exalted Christ (Rom. 7:4- 6; 8:5-10), occasions depletive wear upon the soul. Its fibers are worn away by constant opposition from the seen and the fleshly realm. They simply must be rebuilt, by the same necessity that requires the rebuilding of bodily tissue, if physical life is to be maintained. That essentiality is consistently recognized by Scripture.
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer!” exclaimed David. “From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Ps. 61:1-2). “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then Thou knewest my path,” was his acknowledgement to God (Ps. 142:3).
So may we appeal to the Father of mercies in our times of soul-faintness. The same Jesus, who, from His mountain vantage point, saw the disciples “toiling in rowing” against the “contrary” wind “in the midst of the sea” (Mk. 6:47-48), beholds us in the straits of this life, from His throne on Mount Zion. That is, indeed, a heartening reality --- one that encourages us to cry to Him for help, as the saints have done to God since the world began.
That such calling upon God will bring assistance is the emphasized representation of Scripture. “He delivered them out of their distresses,” it is declared. “Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby Thou didst confirm Thine inheritance when it was weary,” witnesses David (Ps. 68:9). Thus, he prayed, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me by Thy free Spirit” (Ps. 51:12).
As our text of Psalm 23:3 asserts, God is in the soul-restoring business, so to speak. “He restoreth my soul.” Indeed, the very “law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul,” as David proclaims in another place (Ps. 19:7, ASV). One of the outstanding portrayals of that blessed fact is Isaiah 40:29-30. Out of His divine plenitude, “the everlasting God” stands ready and anxious to minister of His infinite sufficiency to all who call upon Him in truth (v. 25).
“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary: and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Let us, by all means, continually avail ourselves of this Divine source for the renewal of our souls, lest we become weary under the stress of our earthly course, and faint in our minds (Heb. 12:3). God is faithful, and will supply all our need, “according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).