I am so glad that God’s Word lasts forever and is truth. It is dynamic and sharper than a two-edged sword. Life is hard and we often do not know what to do, but Scripture in Psalms 25:15 says to keep our eyes on the Lord. Why? To release our feet from the snare. What is a snare? It is any trial, trouble or place where we should not be or a stuck because of sin or someone else’s sin.
God leads us away and out of trouble if we keep our eyes on Him. Perhaps the most quoted scripture on this subject is Proverbs 3:4-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths.” Another translation says that He will make our paths straight. Proverbs 16:9 tell us “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” The desires of our hearts should be the desires of God’s heart. These are the best desires, plans to prosper and not hurt us, giving us a hope and future as Jeremiah tells the Israelites finally coming out of exile in Babylon.
Have you been in exile in Babylon or a place away from God? Return to your first love God tells us in Revelation. I don’t know what your snare or exile is, but God does and He will lead you out or through this valley Psalm 23 tells us. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation (trial) comes to us that is not common to man, but God is faithful. When you are tempted He will also provide a way out (through) so that you can stand up under it.” In other words, we all have trials and temptations, but if we seek him and keep our eyes on him and follow him with our feet he will provide the way. The admonition is that if we don’t look to God we will not see the way and we will be overcome or overwhelmed.
These trials and temptations are common it says. James, the brother of Jesus said in the book of his name, “Consider it pure joy my brothers (sisters) when we fall into trials (temptations) of diverse kinds, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). This seems hard, but God is developing maturing and persevering faith in us during hard times. He does not leave us without a paddle up the creek. He tells us in the next verse to seek Him for wisdom if we don’t know what to do in our trial. He tells us that if we ask for wisdom and do not doubt God’s generosity and goodness, He will give it to us and show how to proceed.
The title of this book is the verse that God spoke to me as I went through great trials some years ago. I had caused many of them by following my own sinful desires, not God’s righteousness. While I sat with a Christian counselor, God spoke audibly to me saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” This was some 25 years ago when I was not a Christian and born-again believer and I did not know what this was. My counselor heard the voice too, but not the words, similarly to the Damascus Road experience of the Apostle Paul when the Lord Jesus confronted his wayward ways and redirected him. This was my Pauline conversion. I saw the Lord in my mind's eye and heard Him audibly saying, “Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying “This is the way; walk in it”(Isaiah 30:21). God was speaking to the chosen people of Zion who were way off course, disobedient to God. He was telling them to get rid of their idols or sins and that he would guide and rain plenty on them. He told them that as they obeyed, streams of water would flow and the sun would shine on them. He told them that he would bind up their bruises and heal the wounds that He inflicted.
The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9). The Israelites through David and his son Solomon built the temple as they recommited their lives to God. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). This was God’s response at the consecration of the temple. It was the theme verse of a Sacred Assembly held in Washington D.C. on October 4, 1997 on the Mall. This gathering to pray for our nation brought an estimated 1.3 million men, the largest grouping by far to come together in our nation’s capitol. We prayed for our nation and ourselves. It was another time of consecration like that for the ancient temple. I know that my heart was infused with a new sense of God’s holiness and awesome willingness to guide me as I sought, obeyed and submitted to Him and His word.
I am walking in His way a moment at a time as He calls me. He has made clear my path to serve as a hospital chaplain and to proclaim His Word to the world in writing books and blogs. It is very reassuring to have God’s Word clearly tell me what He desires. God’s Holy Spirit illuminates what my heart’s desire must be. I no longer look for my own desire, only His, for He will guide me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.