Stuck in a Rut

stuck-in-a-rut

If you’ve anything like me, you’ve probably experienced argument amnesia before.  This is what happens when you get into an argument (often times with your spouse) and after a few minutes, you can’t even remember what you’re fighting about.  It almost doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, you somehow continually find yourself back in the same place.  In short, you’re stuck in a rut.

One of my favorites lines in Psalm 23 is in verse 3 where David writes, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  The Hebrew can also be translated, “He leads me in the ruts of righteousness.”  As the Shepherd of Psalm 23 leads the flock from one pasture to the next, he would follow a path that many sheep had trodden before.  The result of all this travel was that the path would become well worn and eventually turn into a rut in the ground that the sheep would follow as they were lead by the Good Shepherd.  What makes the imagery of Psalm 23 so powerful is that these are the “ruts of righteousness.”  As you follow the Good Shepherd, these are the natural paths that you take.

Just as there are “ruts of righteousness”, there are also “ruts of unrighteousness.”  A “rut of unrighteousness” is a pattern of sin that is so intuitive that we periodically fall into it without even realizing where we are or how we got there. If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I can’t believe that I did that again!” when you fought with your spouse, or yelled at your children, or said something hurtful to a co-worker, then it may very well be that you’re stuck in a rut of unrighteousness.

The thing about a rut is that you have to be intentional about stepping out of it, otherwise it will lead you to the same place every time.  A large part of the process of redemption is stepping out of these “ruts of unrighteousness” and following the Good Shepherd in new paths that may at first seem unnatural, but which eventually lead you to green pastures and quiet waters (Psalm 23:2) where you can find rest.

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March 15 2010 05:00 am | Devotional

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