This psalm is without doubt, one of, if not the most recognized, memorized and eulogized psalm of all. It has been the source of comfort and consolation to countless suffering hearts and encouragement to the discouraged.
It COMMENDS us to the Care of the Shepherd of our Souls, Who not only PROVIDES and PROTECTS, but leads us along PREFERRED PATHS. Note that these are 'paths of righteousness', indicating that our Shepherd will not lead us along unrighteous paths, nor in the wrong direction.
To be rightly led, we must hear His voice. I am reminded of an incident in the prophet Jeremiah's life when the remnant residents of a destroyed city came to Jeremiah seeking guidance from the Lord (Jere. 42). They commit themselves to obey the Lord's direction (vs 5-6), and yet, when the Word came from the Lord that was contrary to what they desired, they insisted on having their own way (43:1-7).
How often have we prayed for the Lord's will, asking for His guidance, but had already determined in our own hearts what we were going to do?
Again, to be rightly led, we must hear His voice and heed His advice. In John 10, we read of the Good Shepherd and are told that His sheep hear His voice and that His sheep follow Him. What causes us to follow? He does not force our following, He CALLS, but does not COMPEL us against our wills. John 10 indicates that those who are His sheep follow Him because they KNOW THEIR SHEPHERD'S VOICE and respond.
Knowing the shepherd by experience gives CONFIDENCE in His leading and COMFORT in His CARE.
Paths lead to destinies...where are you going? What path are you following? To whose voice are you listening?
George Young and his wife returned to their modest home after holding revival meeting, to find it burned to the ground. The deed was later determined to be that of an arsonist. As they stood by the ashes, the words began to come to mind. The song was first published in 1903. Take a few minutes to locate it, most hymnals contain it and think on the words to GOD LEADS US ALONG.