Religion of the world often says things like this: “Christianity seems to have flourished under the poetic sentiments of Psalm 23 that highlight God’s grace and unbounded generosity.”
There is a message revealed in the original text that Christians must know and understand about their lifestyle that has been muddied by poor Bible translation and worldly teaching. Find out about about the Father’s [YHWH] track of righteousness and what it means for you.
by John Greene
“Psalm 23 stands as a poetic monument of unusual and poignant beauty to behold,” says the wisdom of the sages. Psalm 23 is much more than poetry. The ‘scholarly appraisal’ of Christianity is summed up by much of Christianity in the words of ‘Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible’.
“From three very comfortable premises David, in this psalm, draws three very comfortable conclusions, and teaches us to do so too. We are saved by hope, and that hope will not make us ashamed, because it is well grounded. It is the duty of Christians to encourage themselves in the Lord their God; and we are here directed to take that encouragement both from the relation wherein he stands to us and from the experience we have had of his goodness according to that relation.”
Spirituality is all about comfort and hope advertise some Christians and their leaders. The world says the same thing. Christians have pretended to flourish under sentiments of the Father’s grace and unbounded generosity, while failing to take to heart the real meaning of original words and live them. The desires of carnal Christians see the 23rd Psalm as all about encouragement and comfort without condition. However, the original language reveals truth beyond the sweet sounding words. (“Which Shepherd Do You Believe?“; “The False Shepherd and the True Shepherd“; “Consenting to Fables of Men“)
Any researcher or seeker of knowledge understands that words have meaning and how much more do words have meaning than in the original Hebrew text, clouded by eager translation and tradition of the past. Through the poetry lies a cutting edge that has and continues to be ignored through the centuries of time until now. As English-speaking scholars and Christians, the religious have come to revere the poetry and romance of Psalm 23 while failing to fully take into account the reality of what is being said behind the beautiful sentiments that have been eloquently translated. Your Heavenly Father has a word for you and I behind the romance and beauty of presentation that we must hear and fully understand today.
The original Hebrew presents the truth as follows: “YHWH, Elohim of Hosts tends His flock, not in lack or need, (but) reclining in sprouted pastures, sustained by still waters.” This is the utter essence of the first two verses, and generally, Christianity get the divine message up to this point. The sheep, His people that He cares for, feed on tender nutritious shoots (deshe’) that goats covetously long to eagerly eat. Normally sheep and goats compete for tender shoots, but not in YHWH’s pasture. The Elohim of Hosts provides a pasture of plenty to dwell in with only the finest provision if only His flock will accept what He provides. YHWH’s true flock feed on His Word as delicate food for the soul and apply that Word to their personal lifestyle out of love and respect. This differs from ripe grass (chatsyr) ready to be chopped down, mowed or consumed with fire. YHWH’s flock rest in the calmness and peace of Elohim [YHWH], fully satisfied with every real need supplied. The still waters are the everlasting love of YHWH, the refreshing waterspring of His love for His flock. He is the oasis of His disciples. There is nothing new here except, perhaps, our appreciation of His provision and the grand provision of the Messiah. (“YHWH: The Choice to Stay Loyal“; “Are You One of the Walking Dead?“)
Elohim [YHWH] restores souls and guides in “paths of righteousness”. This is where most of us have completely been disconnected from what David is actually saying about the Father. We assume that we must be restored because we claim to be Christians and that the Heavenly Father must certainly lead us in paths of righteousness. After all, isn’t this what the Bible says? (“Pursue Righteousness“)
Restoring our soul and life is conditional to following His leading. Most of us see “paths of righteousness” in a very generic sense. After all, aren’t there many paths to righteousness? Don’t we follow what seems to be good in our own eyes? That is what the world says. Yet, the original language of scripture says something else entirely. (“Becoming Your Own God Through General Goodness?“; “Knowing Where You Stand on YHWH’s Threshing Floor“)
YHWH ‘guides’ (nachah) His flock in ‘paths’ (magalah). The word magalah is not a multitude of paths or simply a path of choice. There are not many ways to YHWH, nor are there many paths of righteousness leading to Him. In fact, magalah is a firmly established track, a rampart, entrenchment or circular trench in battle. This word comes from the root ‘agal’ which means round or encircling. Ma’gal literally means the trench made from the wheels of carts that are pulled by oxen to tread grain, thus making trenches or ruts. Ultimately, this is the Way of expressing our Father’s protective love through His established hedge of protection. (“A Matter of Grace“)
Magalah is very much a way of life, determined not by you or I, but by YHWH. The Elohim of Hosts [YHWH] has set the track of righteousness that His flock is to walk or follow with His guidance. This track is a battlement in which we are partners with the Most High in a spiritual war. Through your commitment and partnership you receive His protection and favor. This is a dramatic departure from the typical perception of most Christians through tradition and philosophies. YHWH has established a predetermined lifestyle or track that He has set out for his people as opposed to the lifestyle of mammon presented by the world. Living in the track of YHWH’s righteousness involves cooperation, obedience and partnership in spiritual warfare, setting oneself apart from the world that encourages a lifestyle of mammon. (“Being Set Apart Makes You Aware of Sin“)
Magalah appears in scripture a mere 16 times. After reviewing each of the scriptures and how magalah is used beyond military and warfare references in 1 Samuel and Psalms, the track or rampart is referring to none other than lifestyle, the way of life or how a disciple of YHWH conducts himself or herself. Without question, the disciple is involved in spiritual warfare. Beyond that reality, YHWH’s track of righteousness demands a measure of answerability on the part of the disciple. Disciples must be willing to cooperate and work in harmony with their Heavely Father. Even if you find that through rebellion or backsliding that YHWH chastens you by making you lie down in His green pastures, you must be willing to love and obey. Because of personal distorted views, you could view His chastening as a wilderness or a wilderness condition in your life as His chastening. (Isaiah 40:3, 51:3, 64:10; Ezekiel 20:13) However, your Heavenly Father has greater purposes in mind for you for His righteousness and larger purpose for His flock, even the preaching of the Good News in the last days. (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13; Romans 8:28) He has set in place an established track of righteousness for all His people to walk on. This is the predestination that so many clamor about, as if people don’t have choice. That track is a battlement of righteousness at the front of spiritual warfare. Ultimately, you have free will to make the lifestyle choice that you will, even if you stray from His pasture. Your Father will seek you even though He will let you do exactly what you please as you reap the fruit of that choice. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Why does He guide His flock? Why has He provided His Word for you to read, understand and love? All this is done freely from His unconditional love, His protective love, “for his name’s sake.” It is to the honor of our great Shepherd that we should be a dedicated people, set apart to Elohim and walking in the narrow track of His righteousness where our protection truly resides.
“Enter in through the narrow gate. Because wide is the gate and spacious the road, put to death through destruction, and many, by their reason, agree to enter. For narrow is the gate and troublesome is the road, the one that leads to life, and few agree to obtain it.“ – Matthew 7:13-14, direct translation
What is the resulting favor of the genuine disciple? Whenever we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we need have no fear because YHWH is with us. Whether danger is real or imagined, YHWH is there. He is with you whether you walk the earth or reside with Him. Even through the chastening of His rod and support of His staff, He seeks to strengthen the members of His flock through the truth of His Word and your set apart relationship/partnership with Him.
The enemy can be at the door in a battle of spiritual warfare and yet the Elohim of Hosts prepares a table where there is no confusion or lack of peace. YHWH is sufficient for your every need, even in the wilderness of life. (2 Corinthians 6:2) When a disciple lives in the daily pleasure of the Father’s favor, there is a fresh anointing for each day. (Psalm 90:17; Philippians 1:7) Each member of YHWH’s flock is also a priest that must present himself to the Counsel of the Holy Spirit [Sanctified, Set Apart Spirit]. (Revelation 1:6; 5:10; John 14:26; 1 Thessalonians 4:8) In this way, the disciple is anointed with the oil of joy and is able to continue in purity and fitness for service one day at a time. (Isaiah 61:3; Hebrews 1:9) As long as you and I choose to dwell in the House of YHWH, goodness and mercy will follow always, through the best of times and the worst of times. (Zephaniah 3:17) The love of the Father is new each morning and continues all day long, even forever. That is your promise with a condition. (“How to Receive the Holy Spirit“)