First Off….read Psalm 5!
I don’t know about you, but I am not very good at listening to people moan, whine, and complain. I just don’t want to hear it. I am a “do something about it” type of person. You have a problem…then respond! Take some action. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. That’s easier said than done sometimes – and we know that. What do you do when you’ve taken action and the results have not changed? What do you do when things are simply outside your control? What do you do when you’ve simply banged your head against the wall in frustration because things simply are not changing? You go to God in prayer. Not only do you go to God in prayer but you ask him to lead and take over. Not only do you ask God to lead but you ask him to lead YOU in what steps HE would have you take. It’s the “make YOUR steps my steps, Lord” type of request and need.
I remember having a co-worker years and years ago (when I was outside of ministry) and that coworker and myself simply did not get along and it seemed like every interaction we had with each other made my feelings for her become worse. Every conversation, every email, I just felt anger brewing up. She simply was not a nice person and it seemed like she was consistently trying to get people to “bite” and respond in a negative way that she could use against them. And I remember finally taking the bait and responding to something she had done by doing exactly what I despised ABOUT her. Instead of taking the right path of response, as I had for so long, I took the incorrect one. It did not turn out well.
The Psalmist, in the midst of all this chaos that is happening around them, all the lies being told, all the deceit being had, the arrogance being poured out …in the midst of all of this the psalmist responds by asking God to lead them. She knows that God will deal with things the way God will deal with them…but she is neither God nor able to do what he does. So she cries out for help and asks for 1 thing: to be led in righteousness. Set the right path before her so she can walk it and not fall trap to the destructive wicked ways of those that surround her. Yes, she asks for protection and refuge within God’s arms – but that can only happen when one walks that right path and falls in line with living a Godly life.
I find it interesting that this request to have the Lord set the path “straight” before them (vs 8) actually has nothing to do with an “easy” path or a “flat” path – it’s simply straight…which means it could also be really really difficult. I knew the straight and right path before responding to my coworker…I had been walking along it for quite some time but it was getting hard so I took an “easier” path and then I learned that the easy path doesn’t mean it’s the right path. And ultimately, I found out that getting BACK on that right path (the way of righteousness) was much harder. The apologies, the conversations, the humility – none of that was easy.
We all, throughout life, will interact with many different people and often times our gut-response isn’t necessarily the right one. And we will make that gut-response and regret it later on more than once (if you haven’t yet…trust me in that you will). But we believe in a God of love, grace, and forgiveness. We believe in a God who allows us to wander off that path in order that we may learn his ways and know what the right path was and is and why it’s better. Making mistakes may be hard but it’s through that process that we learn. And ultimately, we must declare that a God who actually GIVES US THE RIGHT PATH is one who is not only deeply in love with us and wants us to make the right decisions but one who also is intimately involved with our every-day affairs and watching out for us.