Episode 037 – Psalm 23 Pt 4: Paths of Righteousness

Key Passage(s): Psalm 23:3

When navigating a disorienting landscape, paths are essential. Sheep know this. Shepherds know this. And it’s why David highlights God leading on “paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” But what did David imply by this? What does righteousness even mean? Why is God’s name at stake? And what happens if we stray from the path? All of this and more are discussed in this next episode on Psalm 23.

Discussion Questions

  • What’s your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • How have you traditionally understood the “paths of righteousness?” How did this teaching confirm, change, or deepen your understanding, particularly with respect to defining “righteousness” as “the standard of right relationship we have between God and other people?”
  • When you’ve been off the path, how has God intentionally pursued you like a good shepherd pursuing a lost sheep? What did that teach you about God in those moments?
  • Do you find yourself off the path in any way today? If so, how are you allowing God (and perhaps someone close to you) to help bring you back?
  • How are you allowing God to lead you well on the “paths of righteousness?”
  • Is there anything God is prodding at your heart?
  • How will you begin implementing your desired changes this week?

For Further Study

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  1. Do you find yourself off the path in any way today? If so, how are you allowing God (and perhaps someone close to you) to help bring you back?
    I’m learning how to let others help me. Swallowing my pride. Thanks for this series. It has given me a lot to think about.

  2. Exactly what I needed at this moment. Each message from you Brad fills a question or void I have and this message was spot on for me. I am not alone. Ever. He walks with me. Thank you Brad. God bless you.

  3. WOW! 613 paths of righteousness plus 10 introductory ones!
    Gen: And YEHOVAH called it/them good should be -in righteousness-thus meeting the exact requirements as spoken by YEHOVAH? A tree of today was planted with directions in Gen 1.
    Restores from a state to a better state in righteousness by adhering to the 613 plus 10?
    He brings me back to lead me in the 613 plus 10 paths of righteousness because I am attached to His Name by covenant via Jesus now!?
    Oh to find someone to go to Genesis to Revelation and place the Hebraic teaching and minds set over the denominational teachings of the 30,000 plus different denomination pictures of YEHOVAH and YASHUA! Man that would be something!
    The gospel correctly taught in the Hebraic mindset of the 23 rd Psalm, thanks Brad and helpers!

  4. Pastor Brad,
    Love your material, Doug and Jackie Perseghetti who are good friends of mine pointed me to your material and I have enjoyed many of your teachings.

    I do have a question, in the quote of Jer 50:6-7 Nogah translates the passage “the hills led them astray”. In following along in my own translation and about 12 other translations I looked at, none of them translate that way. The only thing I did find was comments from John Gill’s comments on the passage that it can read “turning them away to the mountains” where idols where worshiped. Which seems to fit the context of the things leading them away.

    I understand where you take Psalm 23 and the paths of righteousness, but I am curios if you could shed a little light the translation used by Nogah?

    • Robert! I was going to answer this in the final episode and realized it was going to be challenging to do so and keep everyone else’s attention 🙂 So I’ll tackle it here. First of all, I’m thrilled you took the time to look this up in other translations. Such a great practice to have. Secondly, it doesn’t surprise me that other translations wouldn’t have the same translation as Nogah. It’s a bit challenging to translate from the Hebrew. For context, here is the NASB translation and Nogah’s …

      [NASB] “My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains; They have gone along from mountain to hill And have forgotten their resting place.”

      [Nogah] “My people were lost sheep: their shepherds misled them, the hills led them astray; they roamed from mount to hill, they forgot their own resting place.”

      Most translations see the part of Jeremiah 50:6 in question to be a continuation of what the shepherds we’re doing – hence, the NASB (and others) have “they have made them turn aside on the mountains.” But in the Hebrew what turns them aside or misleads them is actually the word “mountains.” Hence, why Nogah translates it the way he does. Now, that may seem frustrating if “mountains” is sitting in the Hebrew in plain site, and translators don’t see it that way, but that isn’t uncommon. Translators are fantastic scholars, but some of them haven’t been to the land of Israel, so at times, they miss the context. Nogah (of blessed memory) was the foremost authority on flora and fauna of the Bible and lived in Israel. He knew these hills well. So he had more of a context for understanding what these passages (like Jeremiah 50:6-7) were likely talking about. So for him, the mountains do lead people astray, and when he saw this in the Hebrew, he translated it this way.

      It’s also good reminder that very translations is an interpretation. I like Nogah’s because of his context, and it does make sense when you’ve rammed this hills and have experienced their disorienting nature 🙂

  5. Hi Brad! Yes, your teachings are definitely helpful and it is always fun to hang out with you. It has been amazing how you have unpacked this well-known psalm and to see the richness of God’s word. So many great aspects. What a shepherd God is!
    Among many things on this series, one that has stood out is the meaning of righteousness. I didn’t know that “relationship” was at its foundation. Wow. Thank you so much for digging deeper and unpacking the meaning of this important word. Moreover, it has given me a new perspective on Matthew 6:33. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
    May God continue empowering you to be such a great guide in our journey through the Text.

  6. As I studied Part 4 this week I was struck by your knack for ‘making thinking visible.’

    While teaching, you model the strategies you’re using to make sense of the text by saying them out loud …

    … so others can learn how to do the same type of 11th-century-B.C. contextualizing you’re doing.

    For those of us focused on learning to “understand the Bible in its original context,”

    you’re a good and savvy teaching shepherd,

    leading us along the paths of right ways to relate to the text …

    so there’ll be no need to bring us back from stray interpretations …

    because we’ve represented the Lord’s word with honor.

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