The Right Path

It’s easy to go the wrong way. When we read the open verse of the songbook known as Psalms, we are reminded just how easy it is.

How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers! Psalm 1:1 (CSB)

The psalmist tells us that blessedness (or happiness) is found by avoiding the wrong img_4800paths in life. The person who is truly happy avoids the advice of the wicked. He avoids the direction of the sinner and does not engage in the company of mockers. To be blessed is to listen to the right counsel. It’s to journey in the right direction and connect with the communities that encourage one towards godliness.

 

Furthermore, note the progression of the verbs used for the journey. A person wrapped in godly happiness does not walk in wicked advice. She does not stand along the paths of the sinful nor does she take a seat in a group of those who reject God and His ways. When we pursue sin, we walk towards it. Then, we pause, linger, and stand in its presence. Then, we pull up a chair and sit. We go from just passing through to taking up residence.

So, let’s seek the happiness only God can give. Let us turn a deaf hear to the counsel of the wicked. Let us travel along the narrow path of the righteous and avoid the pathway of the sinner. And, let us not join in and become part of the company of mockers. If by God’s grace, we refuse to walk the wrong direction, then we won’t linger there. And, if we don’t linger, we won’t take up residency. No walking. No standing. No sitting. That’s our mantra when it comes to going the wrong directions in life. Rather, let us embrace the joy that comes with walking, standing, and dwelling with God. Let us relish His ways and His Word.

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Through the Valley

Middleburg Heights, OH: Satuday In The Park- walking path at Lake Isaac Waterfowl SanctuaryMost evenings, my wife and I like to take a walk around our neighborhood. We have a variety of routes we take depending on how long we want our walk to last. Some nights our walks are quick ten minute jaunts around the block. Other nights they’re two or three mile excursions. Our route depends on any number of circumstances. Some nights we don’t have as much time as others. Some nights the weather impacts our choice. Some nights we may not feel particularly well or perhaps we ate too much for dinner that night. The circumstances may vary, but we keep walking. And, some walks are longer than others.

Life is the same way. Every season of our lives…every walk is touched by different circumstances. Some are short and over very quickly. Others drag on and on and seem without end. Some walks are longer than others.

One of the more familiar passages of Scripture is the twenty-third Psalm. In it, the song-writer (Psalms are ancient songs) David talks about walking through the valley of the shadow of death. We often connect this verse to the grief and pain associated with death, and that’s a fair application. Many commentators, however, suggest that the valley could describe any of life’s more difficult circumstances. So, it would be fair to say that some of the more difficult seasons of life could be described as such a valley. And, as we all can attest, many times these walks through the valley last much longer than we’d like.

As we reflect on this verse, notice that the we are not alone in this journey. The good shepherd guides us. He is with us. He comforts us. Despite the duration of the season and the depth of the valley, we don’t face it by ourselves. We don’t have to rely on our own strength to get through it.

Notice too that we are to keep walking. We don’t stop. We don’t quit. We keep moving forward. When the shadows are dark and the journey seems unending, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep trusting the One who guides and comforts us. Know that Jesus is with us and He will bring us through. Just take one more step.. Yes, some walks are longer than others, but with every step we take know that we’re one step closer to emerging from the shadows.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 ESV)