I hope you’ll join us and leave your thoughts in the Comments.
Now……. I hope you’ll excuse me if we back up just a bit. This week I want to look at only two verses, 23 & 24, (and we discussed 23 last week); there is a LOT packed into these two verses!
Let’s look at vv. 23 & 24 this week in the King James. Why? Two reasons:
1) I just found my father-in-law’s pocket Bible and I’m pretty stoked about that. He died two years ago at the age of 96 and we are still going through all of his things.
2) When I first became a believer I read the King James ’cause I was an English Major and I loved Shakespeare.
3) (oops!) I learned these verses as a song in the King James.
23. “Oh, the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
and He delighteth in his way,
24. Tho’ he fall, (tho’ he fall) he shall not be utterly cast down
for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”
And from the Amplified Bible, which I shared last week,
“The steps of a good man are directed and established of the LORD
when he delights in His way (and He busies himself with every step.”)
This is the way Eugene Peterson interprets v. 23 in The Message Bible:
“Stalwart walks in step with God,
his path blazed by GOD,
(Oh, I want my path ‘blazed by God’….don’t you?)
No matter which version you read, the steps of a good man are ‘established’, ‘firm’ and ‘ordered’ by the Lord.
The word in the original is ‘ordered’ and it is the Hebrew word ‘kuwn’ (koon). It is a primary root “to be erect, to stand perpendicular, hence, causing to set up to establish, fix, prepare. Or, figuratively, to render sure, proper or prosperous.”
It is a strong word. Don’t you love it? “to render sure, proper or prosperous.” What a powerful promise!
Another favorite pathway Psalm of mine is Psalm 25, about following in the way.
Look at these verses and see how many times you see the phrase ‘the way’ or ‘his way’
“Good and upright is the LORD
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
(Aren’t you glad he instructs sinners, not people who are perfect!)
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
(Oh, Father, protect my heart and keep it humble.)
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
(All the paths. A L L, no matter where they lead.)
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
For your name’s sake,
(not my name but for YOUR name’s sake,
God, to bring you all the glory)
O Lord,pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who is the man who fears the LORD?
him he will instruct in the way that he should choose.
His soul shall dwell at ease;
(Father I want to dwell where you are)
and his seed shall inherit the earth.”
(There’s that inheritance promise again…)
Okay, we’re walking, we see the path ahead, God is with us.
And then we fall. Maybe it’s a little trip, a stumble, maybe we crash headlong.
“Tho’ he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down,
for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”
I love the way this reads in the Amplified, “for the LORD grasps his hand (grasps his hand!) in support and upholds him.”
REAL LIFEI felt like that today…I was walking across the playground at recess, eyes ahead on some kids making mischief, not paying attention to where I was going. Squiiiiiish, slide, oops! My Skechers were a mess–I neglected to see the mud that had settled in the cracked asphalt and it almost did me in.By God’s grace I recovered and did not fall headlong, tho’ I could have easily. (I have weak ankles….I’ve fallen before. Actually, I’ve crashed before–slam, bang, cut lip, crash–roller skating, but that’s another story.)
The Holy Spirit showed me why I was able to keep my balance and not fall even tho’ I easily could have–because I was in shape. I’ve been pretty regular about walking, stretching and exercising 2-3 times a week since Christmas break. Maybe I’m more agile on my feet–ahhh, stronger, more easily flexed muscles. More quick to recover.
I saw spiritual parallel there–when I’ve had a spiritual fall–and it’s always with my mouth (more about that in a minute), speaking out of turn, losing my temper, spewing words in anger, I fall and fail miserably.I’m so grateful to God for picking me up every time (after I repent and we talk it over. Again. And again.)When I think about those kinds of circumstances, they’ve always resulted from me being ‘out of shape’ spiritually–walking in my flesh, trying to be important, get my own way…whatever. I’ve neglected to feed on the Word, spend time in prayer, running on my own steam. Spiritually flabby. A high risk hazard.
BUT GOD…..(don’t you love those ‘but Gods’?)
“If he stumbles, he’s not down for long;
God has a grip on his hand.”
We will fall. That’s a given. And we have a Father who will pick us up.
SOME WORK FOR YOU
Look up these other encouraging verses about stumbling, falling and failing:
- Psalm 145:14,15
- Proverbs 24:16a, 3:23 and 10:9
- Micah 7:7 & 8
There’s plenty in the New Testament as well about our propensity to stumbling.
James 3:2 says:
“For we all stumble in many ways.
And if anyone does not stumble in what he says,
he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”
(Yeah, here’s the ‘getting into trouble with your mouth’ part)
Now, I realize James is addressing the subject of those who want to be teachers and how careful one needs to be in that role. But I like the fact that it says, “If he does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man.”
Well, we ALL stumble in what we say–so we’re all NOT PERFECT. And God’s okay with that. He’ll use us anyway. In spite of ourselves.
Don’t you just love that? We have a God who is committed to us–his dumb sheep…who are learning to hear his voice as we walk in The Way.
See you next week on the Path!