1 Ponder The Path Of Thy Feet
"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." Proverbs 4:26 & 27
We just finished a week of Youth Jubilee and it was wonderful. Churches from many different areas brought groups of young people to meet with us and we all prayed and worshipped together. God blessed in the singing and preaching and many accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Preacher Mike Soop preached at each evening service and used these verses as his theme for the week. He challenged the youth and parents alike to ponder the path of their feet. The Bible gives us many examples of people who chose the right path and also some, like Jonah, who chose the wrong path. As we begin to look at some of these great Bible characters, pray that you will follow God's leading in the straight and narrow path of His will.
2 The Path Of Life
"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:11
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:1-3) Nicodemus looked for the path of life. Many of us know John 3:16 which Jesus told Nicodemus, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Did Nicodemus choose the path of everlasting life? If we turn a few pages to John 19:39 & 40 we see Nicodemus at the death of Jesus. "And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." Nicodemus was a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews. He may have depended on his religion to give him life, but Jesus told him, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:7) Nicodemus learned that religion couldn't give him eternal life. There is only one way to have everlasting life in heaven above. You must be born again. It is as easy as A, B, C. Admit that you are a sinner. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) Believe in your heart that Jesus died to save you from your sin. Confess with your mouth. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him for the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9 & 10) You may go to church, but that won't get you to heaven. You may give tithes to the Lord, but you can't buy your way to heaven. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) Won't you follow this path of life?
3 A Light Unto My Path
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105
When my son moved away for his first year at college I started emailing him a short devotional every day. I was reading through the book of Psalms at the time and each day I prayed that God would give me a new verse to encourage him. When my next son moved away to college I felt led to start this devotional web site so that all of my children could read these thoughts from God's Word each day. This verse was my theme and God's Word was my source of inspiration. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." I have walked outside many times with a flashlight at night. I noticed that if I held the light down at my feet I could see just where to step. If I held the light so that it shone ahead of me, I could see my path, and what was ahead of me. God's Word can fill both of these needs. When we read God's Word and pray for guidance He can show us what to do today. God can lead our heart and mind to take a certain road, or say just the right thing at just the right time. He is a lamp to our feet leading us with each step. The Bible is also a light to our path. We can read and pray and God can show us what lies ahead, up the road. After his first year at college my son felt God leading him to Bible school to prepare him for the ministry. He could see God leading him on a day by day basis, and also pointing him in a different direction for the next three years. If you don't know where God wants you, get in the Word and pray for guidance. I remember hearing a preacher say, "When you walk in the light that God gives you, He will give you more light." You don't have to walk around in the dark. Read God's Word and He will give you light.
4 Paths Of Righteousness Are Sometimes Hard
"He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." Psalm 23:3
It is a great thing for us to follow the paths of righteousness, but sometimes we still go through difficult times. We can find many examples of people in the Bible who followed the paths of righteousness. Do you remember the story of Joseph? He did the right thing and still ended up in slavery and prison. Jeremiah was a prophet who followed God in the paths of righteousness and was thrown into a miry pit. Take a look in Job 1:1, "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil." Again, in Ezekiel 14:14 we read of the righteousness of Job. Satan took everything Job had, his wealth and his health. Even his wife told him to "...curse God and die." (Job 2:9) "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." (Job 1:22) Many times in our lives troubles come, even when we are following the Lord. Sometimes people question God, "Why me, oh Lord?" A preacher once answered, "Because, it's your turn." Others turn away from God in anger. When troubles and trials come we need to keep the faith and keep our trust in God. These problems might make us stronger. These problems might draw us closer to God. These problems may let us be a help to someone else. Look at John 9:1-3, "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." We are prone to look at problems and say, "Life isn't fair." God sees the whole picture. Don't let anyone tell you that Christians don't have any problems. Sometimes it is very hard to follow the paths of righteousness.
5 The Pathway Of Service
"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle." Numbers 3:5-7
God chose the Levites to do the service of the tabernacle. I Chronicles 9:26-34 tells us that some were appointed as porters, and were over the chambers and treasuries. Some were in charge of the vessels and offerings. Some made the ointment. Some made the shewbread every sabbath. "And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night." (I Chronicles 9:33) Some of them were born to sing, and they sang day and night. The Levites were born to serve the Lord. Bud Chamber wrote a song, "My hands were made to help my neighbor, my eyes were made to read God's word. My feet were made to walk in His footsteps, my body is the temple of the Lord. I was made in His likeness, created in His image for I was born to serve the Lord..." Psalm 100:2 exhorts us to "Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing." During our Youth Jubilee many of the men and women of our church served with gladness. They planned, prepared, and served meals to all our guests. They also cleaned up after each meal. It was such a blessing to be a part of these Christians who served the Lord with gladness. After the meals we all worshipped the Lord together. Are you serving the Lord with gladness? Do you remember this story? "Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about with much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42) Serve the Lord with gladness and worship Him.
6 Going The Wrong Way
"And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee? And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out. And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed." Numbers 22:9-12
When my son was taking driver's ed the instructor told him to go the wrong way on a one-way street, and he did. The teacher then fussed at him for going the wrong way, telling him that he should have been more observant. Balak sent messengers to Balaam to ask him to curse the children of Israel, and God told him not to go with them. The king sent more honorable men and promised to promote him with a very great honor, so Balaam asked God again if he could go. God told him that he could go, but only say what God told him to say. "And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him..." (Numbers 22:22) The donkey he was riding saw the angel of the LORD with his sword drawn in his hand and the donkey turned out of the way and went into a field. Balaam hit the donkey and sent him on, but when he saw the angel of the LORD again, he crushed Balaam's foot against the wall, and Balaam hit her again. When they came to a narrow place the donkey fell down under Balaam and Balaam got mad and hit the donkey with his staff. Then God opened the donkey's mouth and the donkey said, "What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?" (Numbers 22:28) Then God opened the eyes of Balaam and he saw the angel of the LORD. "And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again. And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak." (Numbers 22:34-35) How many times have we been like Balaam? We ask God if we should go to a certain place, and God tells us "no". But we see all the gold and silver, or popularity we might gain if we go, so we ask God again if we should go. God wants us to follow Him, but He allows us to choose our own way, even though He knows it is the wrong direction. We take our eyes off God and can't see danger in our path. Peter tells of those who follow in the paths of unrighteousness in II Peter 2:15-16, "Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet." Don't go the wrong way down the paths of unrighteousness. Follow the Lord in the paths of righteousness.
7 Follow In The Right Path
"And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over." II Kings 2:8-14
I have known many men and women who walked a godly life, and now they have been called home to be with the Lord. I heard preaching from many old-fashioned men of God who lived their life in God's service. We need young men and women to follow in the paths that these men and women walked. It was such a blessing to see the young boys and girls and teens at our Youth Jubilee last week get excited about serving the Lord. It was wonderful to see them bow at an old-fashioned altar and ask the Lord to save them by His marvelous grace. We need to pray that God will call young people to follow Him and that they will go where God leads them to go. Elisha asked, "Where is the LORD God of Elijah?" I once heard a preacher ask, "Where are the Elijahs of the Lord God?" Our young people today face so many more temptations than we did when we were growing up. Pray that God will be with them and that they will seek out the right paths and follow in the footsteps of the godly men and women going home to glory.
8 Paths Of Captivity
"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?" Psalms 137:1-4
God promised the children of Israel that He would pour out His blessings on them if they obeyed His law. He also told them that if they served other Gods and neglected His commandments that He would lead them into captivity. The children of Israel sinned against God and in this Psalm we see their sad estate. They were taken into captivity and the Babylonians demanded that they sing one of the songs of Zion. Many things in our life can lead us into captivity. We can start doing something just for fun, to have a good time with our friends. I wonder how many people are smoking today because they started smoking with their friends, and now they can't quit. They have become addicted to the habit and now it is taking their money and ruining their health. They started out just for fun, and now it has taken them captive. What about "hanging with the wrong crowd"? Who are you keeping company with on Saturday nights? Did you go somewhere with the "in" crowd for fun, and now you are captive because you don't want them to think you are too religious? What will you say if your "wild" friends ask you to sing one of your "church songs" this Saturday night? Will you have to ask like the Psalmist, "How can I sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" You don't have be using drugs or alcohol to be in the land of captivity. There are many things that can lead us away from God. We start out just trying to have fun, and soon we can't do without it. We are looking for popularity, or prosperity and our desires soon control our lives. Don't let anyone lead you into the paths of captivity. Be strong in your Christian beliefs and stand on the solid foundation of God's Word. That way you can keep a smile on your face and a song in your heart.
9 Back To Bethel
"And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went." Genesis 35:1-3
Do you remember the story of Jacob's dream of the ladder reaching to heaven and the angels of God ascending and descending on it? He had tricked his brother Esau and was running away to save his life. "And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on. So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." (Genesis 28:19-22) Many times people get into trouble and they make promises to God. They pray, "God, if you will help me out of this situation, I will go back to church, I will live right, I will tithe, etc." God does deliver them, and they soon forget their vows. Through the years I have seen many church members who only come when someone in their family dies, or they have a special prayer request. They seem to only remember God when they need something from Him. We should be faithful to God all the time, and not just when we are in trouble. God called Jacob back to Bethel. Is He calling you back to His house? Think back over your life and remember the vows you made to God. Have you kept your promises to God? It's time to go back to Bethel. Go back to the house of God and make good on your promises to Him.
10 The Road To Sodom
"And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." Genesis 13:10-13
Abram and Lot had great riches and much cattle and their herdmen argued over the land, so Abram let Lot choose which way he would go, and Abram said he would go in the other direction. Lot chose the grassy plains of Jordan. He went toward Sodom, the wicked city. Let's compare the move of Lot with Psalm 1:1, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." Lot went toward Sodom, and then he pitched his tent toward Sodom. He walked, he stood, and in Genesis 19:1 we see him sitting. "And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;" Lot went to Sodom because it looked good. When we start walking in the way of the world, we will soon be standing in the wrong places, and we will eventually sit in the wrong places. Lot thought he could prosper, but he ended up losing everything he had, except for two unmarried daughters. Look at Genesis 19:14-17. "And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place: for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." Lot lost his testimony. When he tried to get his sons in law to come with them "he seemed as one that mocked". They just laughed at him. When we pitch our tents too close to the sin of the world, we lose our testimony. We are no longer a witness to the world. Lot's wife looked back at all she was losing; her home, her family, her friends, her worldly possessions, and she turned into a pillar of salt. God was merciful to Lot, but what a price he paid!
11 They Followed The Cloud
"And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents." Numbers 9:15-18
When I have had big decisions to make I have often said that I wish God would guide me like He led the children of Israel in the wilderness. It would be easy if God showed us a big cloud that would lead us to the college He wanted us to attend. And when we are ready to go to work, how great it would seem if we could follow the cloud to just the right place and they would have just the right job opening at just the right time. I often thought the children of Israel had it so easy, because the Bible says, "So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night." All they had to do was look out and know when to travel and when to rest. They never had to worry that they were going in the wrong direction. But I am reminded of the words of my Lord in Matthew 28:20, "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Also in John 14:26-27, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to lead us and guide us. And God gives us faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) We don't have a cloud leading us in the way we should go, but we have the Holy Ghost and we have the Word of the Lord, and God gives us faith.
12 Looking For A City
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Hebrews 11:8-10
We have been looking at Proverbs 4:26, "Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established" to examine the paths we are taking. Today I want to ask the question, "Are you looking for a city whose builder and maker is God?" Look at the life of Abraham. "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:" (Genesis 12:1-2) Our verse in Hebrews tells us that Abraham went out, "not knowing whither he went." God told him to go, and he left his country, his home, and his people (except for Lot). Sometimes we have to leave some things behind to follow the Lord. Let's look in Luke 18:28-31, "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first." Jesus called to the disciples, "Follow me." He also calls to us, "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour." (John 12:26) Make up your mind to follow the Lord and look for that blessed city, the New Jerusalem. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4)
13 Wandering In The Wilderness
"And the LORD's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed." Numbers 32:13
What kind of path are you taking? Are you on a snail trail, working hard, but making no progress? Or, you could be in the fast lane, but if you aren't headed in the right direction you are going farther away from where you are supposed to be. I sometimes feel like I am on a merry-go-round, going up and down, but around in circles, and getting nowhere. This sort of describes the children of Israel. Because of their sin and unbelief God would not lead them into the Promised Land. Instead, He made them wander around in the wilderness for forty years. Are you fulfilling your purpose? I believe we all have a work to do for the Lord. After we are saved our lives should glorify God. Paul told the Corinthian church, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (I Corinthians 10:31) If we have sin in our lives we may spend years "going round in circles" and wandering in the wilderness. Pride may also keep us from entering the land of God's promises. "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8) Does God require us to be rich and successful? No. This verse tells us three things that God requires. If we are saved we should be able to do justly and love mercy. Many non-Christians can even follow that. But pride can keep us from walking humbly with our God. When we walk humbly with God we won't be wandering in the wilderness. God will lead us in the direction that He wants us to go.
14 Enoch Walked With God
"And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Genesis 5:24
Enoch walked with God. What a wonderful testimony! "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:5-6) Enoch pleased God. I can think of many times in my life that I have not pleased God. Unkind words have slipped from my tongue and I couldn't recall them. I have passed some who needed help and I was too busy to lend a helping hand. I have let pride hinder my work for the Lord. How can I walk with God and have a life that is pleasing to Him? "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." (Ephesians 5:1-2) We can please God when we walk in love; love for our God and love for our neighbor. "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)
15 The Walls Of Jericho
"By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days." Hebrews 11:30
What did Joshua do to win the battle against Jericho? He had faith and he obeyed God. "Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat..." (Joshua 6:1-5) I can imagine the people inside the city of Jericho on that first day when Joshua and the people started marching around the city. The soldiers all took their posts on the wall, ready for the attack, but the people just marched around the city and went back into the wilderness. Then on the second day I am sure the people of Jericho were asking, "What are they doing?" as they waited in fear. Do you remember the words of Rahab to the two spies? "And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you... for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath." (Joshua 2:10-11) The people of Jericho were afraid of the God of the children of Israel. It is not what we do in the battle that is important, but who we serve in the battle. The men of Israel just followed the instructions of the Lord and marched around the city, blew the trumpets and shouted, and God gave them victory. When we have battles in our lives we need to pray and seek God for answers. We need to read His Word and believe in faith that He is able to give us victory. Follow His path to victory.
16 When Dreams Die
"And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies; That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee. And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?" II Samuel 7:1-5
During our youth jubilee Preacher Mike Soop brought a message on these verses and asked the question, "What do you do when dreams die?" King David had a dream to build the temple. He wanted to do something for God. This was a good dream, but God told him "no". There have been many times in my life that I wanted to do something special for the Lord, but it didn't work out the way I wanted it to. I always dreamed of being with my grandchildren in church. My daughter-in-law is expecting her first baby in another month, but they have moved 1,200 miles away. Sometimes our dreams die, even our good dreams. Maybe you have had dreams of your own that you know will never come true. What path do we take when our dreams die? God told David that he could not build the temple, but that his son would build the house of God. "Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?" (II Samuel 7:18) David said, "Who am I?" God reminded David where He had brought him from. "...I took thee from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be ruler over my people Israel: And I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth." (I Chronicles 17:7-8) He saw where God had brought him from and this humbled his heart. He did not get mad and quit on God. He still trusted in the Lord God to lead him.
17 When We Fail
"And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." Luke 22:60-62
Today I want us to think about what path we take after we fall. We all fail at one time or another. Peter denied the Lord. King David, a man after God's own heart, had an affair and then had Bathsheba's husband killed in battle. But David was able to say, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand." (Psalm 37:23-24) He also said, "The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down." (Psalm 145:14) Proverbs 24:16 tells us, "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief." We all fall. We all fail our Lord at times. What do we do after we fall? I remember learning to ride a bicycle. I fell many times while I was trying to learn to keep my balance. If I decided that I would quit trying because I fell, I would have never learned to ride a bike. Even after I learned to ride quite well, there were still times that I fell. But that didn't keep me from riding. I just got back up, and tried again. We need to remember that when we fail at things in life. We need to get up, and try again. Peter was afraid and failed the Lord. We sometimes criticize Peter, but how many times are we afraid to take a stand for what we believe. Do we take a stand for the Lord when our friends take His name in vain? Peter denied Jesus, but look in the first few chapters of Acts. In Acts 2:41 3,000 people were saved. God gave him boldness and he was filled with the Holy Ghost and preached, "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:10-13) Yes, there are times in our lives when we fail our Lord. But we must repent and let Him lift us back up. We should live our lives so that those around us will take knowledge that we have been with Jesus.
18 At The Feet Of Jesus
"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away form her." Luke 10:38-42
When we start thinking about the path we need to take, here is a good place to start. Mary sat at Jesus' feet and heard His Word. There is a time to serve, as Martha did, and there is a time to sit and hear His Word. We can listen to the Word of God through the preaching of His Word and also in reading our Bible. We need to hear the Word of the Lord. We read of Mary at the feet of Jesus again in John 11:32, "Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." She is laying her petition at his feet, just as we do when we bow in prayer to Him. We need to pray. As you ponder the path of your feet, pray for guidance and direction from God. He can lead you in the right way. Once more we see Mary at the feet of Jesus in the next chapter, John 12:1-3, "Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment." Mary gave. She took a very expensive ointment and wiped his feet. In the same way, we need to give unto the Lord. One way we give is through our tithes and offerings. We give a portion of the Lord's blessings back to His work. Another thing we can give is our talent. We need to use the special gifts and talents that God has given us for His glory and honor. Maybe you don't have much money to give and maybe you don't feel like you have a special talent for the Lord. You can give some time. I praise the Lord for the members of our youth group who went to the Nursing Home tonight. These young people gave some of their time to sing and pray with these precious people. As you think about the paths you will take today, remember to start at the feet of Jesus.
19 Andrew Brought Peter To Jesus
"Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus, And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone." John 1:40-42
Andrew heard the preaching of John the Baptist and met Jesus. And Andrew went to find his brother to bring him to Jesus. After we are saved we should be like Andrew and tell others about our wonderful Lord. There are many stories about Peter in the Bible. Peter walked on the water to go to the Lord. (Matthew 14:29) Peter caught a fish with a coin in its mouth to pay tribute. (Matthew 17:27) Peter went on the mount of transfiguration with James and John. (Mark 9:2) Peter drew his sword to defend Jesus and cut off the high priest's servant's ear. (John 18:10) And in the book of Acts Peter preached and thousands were saved. We don't read many stories about Andrew. But Andrew took Peter to Jesus and God used him. You may feel like you aren't doing much for the Lord. You may think that you are too small and insignificant to be used by God. But if you bring someone else to the Lord and God uses them, you can rejoice with them. You don't have to preach to thousands like Peter, but you can bring someone to the Lord like Andrew.
20 The Road Less Traveled By
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:13-14
When I think about pondering your path, my mind goes back to a poem we read in school. Robert Frost wrote the poem in 1920 titled, "The Road Not Taken". I remember the last three lines...
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
Let's read these words of Jesus again, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Think about the road you are taking. Don't follow the crowd down the road to destruction. There is only one way to eternal life with God. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Are you on the straight and narrow way? Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and that will truly make all the difference in your life here on earth and throughout eternity.
21 The Right Path But The Wrong Way
"And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us: And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul. And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people... And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the card. And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God." I Chronicles 13:1-4, 7-10
To understand this story we need to look in I Samuel 4:2-3, "And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies." The Philistines killed thirty thousand men in that battle and stole the ark of the covenant. The Philistines put the ark of the covenant in the house of Dagon, their god. And their idol fell on its face. The next morning the idol had once again fallen on its face and the head and hands of Dagon had been cut off. God also plagued the Philistines so they decided to send the ark of the covenant back to the land of the Israelites. They put the ark of the Lord on a new cart and tied two milk cows to the cart and the cows "went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left..." (I Samuel 6:12) When the ark got to Bethshemesh they looked in the ark and over 50,000 men died. The ark never made it past the house of Abinadab so after many years David decided to bring the ark back home. He asked all the leaders and they all agreed to bring it back. God had commanded Aaron to cover the ark and the Kohathites of the Levites were to carry it with staves and never touch it. David wanted to bring the ark back, and that was a good thing, but instead of doing it God's way, he consulted with the people and did it the way of the Philistines. We want the power of God on our lives and in our churches. But we must not try to accomplish this according to the way of the world. A dear friend told me you have to do whatever it takes to get young people to church because they won't be saved until you get them to church. But I don't agree with that philosophy. We can't lower our standards to match the ways of the world. Paul warned Timothy of men described as "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (II Timothy 3:5) If we want the power of God on our homes, and our churches and in our land, we must live holy, separated lives and follow the right path in the right way.
"Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see. And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son? And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken. And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years. And his daughter in law, Phinehas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her. And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband. And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken." I Samuel 4:15-22
This woman said, "The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken." But if you read in the previous chapter you can see that there was sin in the house of Eli. "And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not." (I Samuel 3:11-13) I think the glory of God departed long before the Philistines took the ark of the covenant. They just didn't realize it. This reminds me of the story of Samson when he broke his vows to God. We know how Delilah kept pressing him to tell the secret of his strength until he finally told her that his hair had never been cut because he was a Nazarite unto God. "And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him." (Judges 16:19-20) What a sad statement. "And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him." Stay in the right path with God. Pray with David, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)
23 When You Just Don't Understand
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
We are looking at Proverbs 4:26 this month, "Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established." Sometimes when we stop and ponder our path we just don't understand how we got to the place we are at. Sometimes we want to just ask God, "Why?" Sometimes we do what is right and others misinterpret our words or actions. Let's just face it. We don't always understand what is going on. But, thank the Lord, we don't have to. Our verse above tells us to "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." God knows all about our fears and heartaches, our troubles and sorrows, and He cares for us. We can't see what lies up ahead, but He knows our whole future. The disciples on the road to Emmaus didn't understand the crucifixion of our Lord. "And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel..." (Luke 24:13-21) These disciples did not understand. Jesus let them pour out their hearts to him and after their eyes were opened they said to each other, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way...?" (Luke 24:32) Keep trusting in the Lord even when you don't know what is going on, or why things are happening the way they are. Have some serious conversations with God and let Him direct your paths.
24 Small Things
"And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." Judges 6:11-15
I like the story of Gideon. Pastor Jeff Woods is preaching a series on his life and it has been really good. There are many things we could say about the path of Gideon, but I want us to look at the words of Gideon, "Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." Gideon felt that he was too poor and too small to follow the path God had laid out for him. I think that the reason God used Gideon is because he was small enough to let God use him. When we have the attitude that we can do things on our own and we don't need God, then God lets us do those things but we often fall on our faces. When we humble ourselves and realize that we can accomplish nothing without God, then He can use us to glorify His name. Gideon went out against the host of the Midianites with an army of 32,000 and God reduced his army to 300 men so that they would know that God won the battle and not man. After hearing about Gideon Sunday morning,
Preacher Melo Lumibao, from the Philippines, preached from Zechariah 4:10 Sunday night, "For who hath despised the day of small things?..." He spoke of Christians and the "small things" they do. The world looks at Christians today and thinks that all the things we do are small things. Reading the Bible, praying, going to church, these are all small things in the eyes of the world. Christians are also considered small people. But in the eyes of God these are great things. God can accomplish great works through small people. God fed the multitudes with a small lunch. When we are small in our own eyes, God can lift us up and use us. As you continue on your Christian path, don't get discouraged because you think that the things you do are so small and insignificant. God can use those little things when we do them for His honor and glory.
25 A Path Of Deceit
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:7-9
There are many scriptures in the Bible about sowing and reaping. Jesus told a parable about a sower that sowed seed and some fell on stony ground and some fell on good ground. He told another about an enemy who sowed tares among the wheat. We also remember how the ravens don't sow or reap but our heavenly Father feeds them. Our verse above is a strong warning, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Satan will try everything in his power to deceive you and me. He makes sin look enticing. He will try to lead us down the path of deceit just as he tempted Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree in the garden of Eden. Don't ever feel that you have reached a level above temptation. Satan even tempted our Lord Jesus Christ, but praise His holy name He is without sin. Don't let Satan lead you down the path of deceit. Don't let your friends tell you that you need to sow your wild oats while you are young and turn to Jesus when you are old. "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Live for God and sow good seed. If you want to reap corn, you have to plant corn. You can't plant pumpkins and reap watermelons. If you want to reap Spiritual things, you must plant Spiritual things. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." (Psalms 126:5)
26 Running From God
"Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD." Jonah 1:1-3
God will never try to trick us and tell us to go the wrong way. He wants to lead us in the road of righteousness. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh. But Jonah thought that was the wrong way, so he went in the opposite direction. Notice the phrase, "so he paid the fare thereof". You can be sure that when you go in the opposite direction than God is leading you, you will pay the fare thereof. You may end up paying for several years for something that happens when you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then we see that he "went down into it". When you run from God you also go down. If you want to stay on the upward trail, keep following God. And the last phrase of verse 3, "from the presence of the LORD." Jonah thought he could hide from God. But before we criticize Jonah too much, do we think that God doesn't see the things that we try to hide from others. You may be able to hide things from your parents, but God is all-seeing and all-knowing. Don't follow the example of Jonah and go in the wrong direction.
27 The Wise Men Went To Worship
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." Matthew 2:1-3
The Wise Men followed the star and travelled all that great distance to worship baby Jesus. We often hear stories from missionaries how people in other countries travel great distances to go to church each Sunday. Many have no air-conditioning in the summer and some have little heat in the winter. Their means of travel may be more difficult than ours, yet they go faithfully to the house of God to worship. God has blessed America. Preacher Melo Lumibao is a native of the Phillipines and has come to the United States to ask for support for his home church. He said he was amazed at the beauty of the churches across America. While he is working to build a larger building to make room for all the children, many of our churches fall short of full capacity. We need to attend church faithfully and worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Verse 11 tells us that the wise men "fell down, and worshipped him:" You may be getting ready to go away to college, or your path may be leading you in new directions. Wherever your path leads, make sure you take time to worship the Lord. Don't wait until Christmas to worship the Baby in the manger. Seek Jesus today. "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." (Isaiah 55:6)
28 Who Do You Listen To?
"And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins... And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him; And spake to them after the counsel of the young men..." I Kings 12:6-14
Many times when we ponder our paths, it helps to ask others for advice. King Rehoboam asked for advice when the people of Jerusalem went to him and asked that he ease the burden King Solomon had placed on them. Rehoboam consulted with the elders and they gave him good advice. Then he consulted with his peers and they advised him to answer the people harshly. They wanted him to be strong and controlling as he began his reign as king. "Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day." (I Kings 12:18-19) King Rehoboam listened to the wrong people. If you are having trouble knowing which path to take, it may help to talk with some older Christian people who have walked the same road. They may have better advice than your friends who grew up with you. I am also reminded of the verse in Nehemiah 5:7 which begins, "Then I consulted with myself..." I know that people laugh when you talk to yourself, but sometimes it helps just to hear a plan out loud. If I have a problem it seems to help me see a solution when I talk about different ways to solve it. So we see we can talk to our elders, we can talk to our friends, we can even talk to ourselves, but the best one to talk to about our path is God. For the past four weeks we have looked at various scriptures about seeking God's direction for our paths. Go to God in prayer about all decisions, large and small, and read His Word to find help for your soul.
29 O Lord, Teach Me Thy Paths
"Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day." Psalms 25:4-5
When I was a small child I would get so excited about going on vacation I couldn't sleep. The night before we were to leave Mom and Dad would get out a big map and spread it out on the table to plan the course they would take. Now when I need to find a place I will go online to one of the map programs and I can print out directions to lead me each road and turn of the way. Then I just follow the signs on the roads. Some of the cars are now equipped with a navigation system built in. It is getting easier all the time, to find your way. When we need to find direction in life, we can find answers in God's Word. We won't find the name of the person we are supposed to marry, or the name of the college we should attend, but we will find help from the Lord. Whether you are taking a big step in life, or just needing daily directions, you can pray like David, "Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day." Pray about every decision. Read your Bible and follow the light God gives you. And when you don't feel any leading from God, it may be time to just wait on the Lord.