The Baptist Testimony – Volume 53 Number 3 – March 2007

The Word Has It

Ken Floyd MARBC State Representative

“Strengthen me according to Your word,” Psalm 119:28

March’s Word: “Path”

A new family in the neighborhood overslept, and their six-year-old daughter missed her school bus. The father, though late for work, agreed to drive her if she’d direct him to the school. They rode several blocks before she told him to turn the first time, then several more before she indicated another turn. This went on for 20 minutes. When they finally reached the school, it proved to be only a short distance from their home. The father asked his daughter why she’d led him in such a circle. The child explained, “That’s the way the school bus goes, Daddy. It’s the only way I know.”

For those of us who grew up riding a school bus we can certainly appreciate the little girl’s dilemma. During junior high school, I was the second student to be picked up on the morning bus route and the second to last to be dropped off in the afternoon. What a long day it was. In high school, when I could finally drive a car to school, the trip that normally took one hour ten minutes by bus was changed to fifteen minutes (yes, I went the speed limit!)

Have you considered lately how much of your daily routine is determined by the path you choose to take? Rush hour can be a tactical race in getting to the front of the line, beating the changing traffic signal, finding the best lane, and listening to radio traffic reports to navigate around the latest gridlock. Lost is the joy that could be experienced in the journey itself because of the desire to merely make it to the destination the quickest.

The scriptures are full of illustrations regarding directions and the right path. The history of Israel is illustrated by her propensity for taking the long route (i.e. the exodus, wilderness wanderings, Jonah’s unplanned 3-day submarine tour, captivities, and exiles.) At least nine times the Book of Job refers to the necessity of being sure of the path one is taking. Job 31:6-7 shares, “Let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless–if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led hy my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled.”

David prayed, “Teach me your way, 0 LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors” (Psalm 27:11). He prayed in Psalm 119:32, 35 “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free . . . Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.” Later in the same passage, he prays, “I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (119:104-5) The prophet Isaiah acknowledges, “The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.” (26:7)

Sometimes it is God Who designs our detours. Yet, it is important for us to evaluate the reason for the length of our journeys and the detours that may arise. We must insure that they are of God’s design, rather than His intervention as a result of our poor and disobedient choices. God declared to the wayward prophet Balaam, “I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.” (Numbers 22:32) Nehemiah would later reflect back upon God’s involvement in directing the sometimes reckless path of the children of Israel: “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.” (Nehemiah 9:19)

Do you understand the best route to travel in your life’s journey? Is your life focused on the goals and directives of God? Or, could your life be better described as a meandering stream that has no clear direction and seeks the path of least resistance? Take to heart God’s design to direct your life and look to Him for proper spiritual guidance. As Proverbs 3:5-6 counsels, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” The end of verse six could be translated, “He will make your paths straight.”

This doesn’t mean that if we follow God’s directions that we will merely glide through life carefree with the convertible top down, the cruise control set, and our favorite music playing from the stereo. What it means is that when we acknowledge God’s presence and submit to His guidance, we have access to His wise resources. He will help you navigate through the hills and valleys of life. And although the road presents challenging bends and curves, the path seems smooth because of His control. Like the Psalmist, we can with assurance proclaim, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).

You have His Word on it! (KEF)

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