Saturday, January 14, 2012
I have once again come face to face with a verse I prefer to remember in the KJV version. In the NIV, and other newer translations, Proverbs 3:5-6 reads “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” In the King James it finishes this declaration with “and he shall direct thy paths.”
In my own heart, “make your paths straight” brings up pictures of God moving obstacles out of the way so that we can continue moving straight ahead on the trail we are following. I gave a testimony once based on the Pacific Crest Trail that runs from somewhere near San Diego, up to the Sierra Nevadas and follows on up the mountain ranges of CA, Or, and WA all the way to Canada.. Though it goes straight from Mexico to Canada, it is anything but straight. It swings from the coast range across to the Sierras before even looking straight, and then it goes up and down, around, and even does switch backs as it follows the “straight” terrain up to the north. It is going somewhere specific, but there are a lot of directional changes that occur over the many miles of trail. Therefore, I see not a straight path to Canada, but one with many signs and indications that decisions must be made and “turning away” moves must be taken as the trail is traveled.
What brings me here today is the concept paraphrased by a character in the book I am reading. She used this personal interpretation to realize that she had just been directed away from what was right in front of her and she had obeyed the voice of God in the move she made. Going straight ahead would have been blatantly sinful. She saw Proverbs 3:5-6 this way:
I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, and will not lean on my own understanding (that the desire she had should be followed.) In everything I do or say, I will acknowledge that I am following God, and He will show me the path to take.
In everything I do or say... acknowledge God. Now there’s a big order. Do we realize just how intimate our relationship is with our God? He knows when we rise up and sit down. Actually he knows how many times a day we do that. He also knows what we are thinking even before we finish thinking it. He knows exactly what choices we are about to make. If you think your spouse knows you well, that doesn’t even begin to compare with how well God knows us.
In the story, the woman decides not to ask her friend and lawyer in for coffee after they came back from a dinner celebration over her getting legal custody of her children. She is still married, and she is a Christian trying to “understand” what is going on and feeling very lonely. But she clearly hears God saying “choose this, not that.” She realizes that it is not for her to decide how to ease her loneliness. It is her responsibility to give that loneliness to God, and watch for His direction as He leads her through this difficult time.
We seldom realize how many decisions we make everyday. We seldom invite God to help us make them. After all, we are all grownups here and we can handle the day to day choices we make. We can’t bother God with EVERYTHING. Well, surprise, yes we can. And, yes we should. When He says He wants to direct our paths, He means it. We need to give Him a chance to do that. We need to listen for His voice, which we are getting to know through the reading and studying we do in His Word.
Also from the book: It is not enough to believe IN God, we have to BELIEVE God. We need to abide in Him - that is “hang out” with Him - soaking in His Word.
The book is one of the Yada Yada series by Neta Jackson. I like them a lot because they hold me accountable for what I am thinking and doing in my own life. Try them. You might like them, too.