Posts Tagged lead

Selah

Psalm 32: 7 – 8       Amp

You are my hiding place; You, Lord, protect me from trouble;
You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance.
    Selah.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you.

This is a good time to learn about the word “Selah” because it impacts the understanding of this psalm. One of the primary ideas about this word is that it indicates a pause. We find this word mostly in the Psalms so one might ask if it represents a musical interlude or just a pause in the lyric or instrumentation. It turns out that it has more to do with ideas represented in the lyric than it does to the lyric or melody specifically. It calls the listener, or in our case, the reader, to pause and consider the immediately preceding lyric. Today’s psalm was written by David. When we hear or read “Selah” in the above passage, he wants us to stop and consider the meaning. He has just said something very important and he wants us to stop and be sure that we have taken in that important thought.

There is a second use of Selah. It is used as a bridge or a connector. It alerts the listener that the stanza which is about to follow is thematically tied to that which has just preceded. In other words, the psalmist wants us to hear the next passage with the former still in mind. So stop and hear what has been said with a mind to integrate it with what comes next.

In today’s scripture selection, David confesses his confidence to God. He is able to hide himself in God, receiving protection and deliverance from trouble. He says, also, God surrounds him with joyous songs and exuberant shouts. That isn’t the end though, because in the next stanza, God answers him.

In the combination of these two verses we see a great deal of their relationship. Not only does God protect David but you hear David’s confidence in that protection. David is the one who proclaims that he is protected from trouble. His trust in God is the unspoken refrain. Yahweh answers his confidence and trust with, “I will lead you. I will counsel you. I will be your mentor and will guard your way and keep my eye on you at all times.”

There is a relationship between these two verses and these two people. That is what we are supposed to see in this psalm and that is what the word Selah reveals to us. These are not two independent ideas but rather a revealing of the intermingling of their lives. This is a model of how our lives are meant to be. We also have a hiding place, we are hidden in Christ. We should have the same confidence is the three persons of the trinity as David sang of here. I am hidden in Christ and thus protected from the danger and trouble of the world. God is my helper, my right hand and my deliverer. God, for his part, will lead me and guide me in the way that I should go because I have hidden myself in Him. Selah!

Land Mines

Matthew 9: 13                  KJV

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

This is part of the Lord’s prayer; you probably recognize it. Many people can quote this passage and many of us learned it in the poetic King James Version. For myself, learning it as a child, it took years for me to untangle the meaning from the pretty prose. The Lord’s prayer was a saying, almost a slogan but it didn’t have a lot of meaning for me for many years.

This, the Lord’s Prayer has been taught on extensively. Knowledgeable preachers break it down into its constituent parts and teach us how the individual parts combine to outline a form of prayer. Today I would like for us to think about this one little section and consider what it means and also what it means to our lives individually.

There are some passages of scripture that are hard to read in any version other the King James when you were brought up with it. I still hear this passage in King James language though I have used the New American Standard Bible for forty years. Let’s explore a couple of other versions though. The Names of God version reads, “Don’t allow us to be tempted. Instead, rescue us from the evil one.” The New American Standard says, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Can you see a difference from our traditional understanding.

Here is the question which frames comprehension of this verse, “Would Jesus pray asking God, the Father, not to lead us into temptation as if sometimes He does lead people into temptation?” “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone” (James 1: 13). Father God never leads people into the way of temptation, so, what was Jesus asking the Father?

Jesus taught that upon his exit from the earth, the Father would give us another helper and that helper, the Holy Spirit, would guide us. So, it is perfectly correct to think in terms of allowing ourselves to be led by God. This is how I would phrase today’s verse in modern English as I think about the Holy Spirit guiding my steps, “Father, lead me away from temptation.” I may, under my own power, be headed right for trouble but we can enable the Godhead to intervene and lead us away from the path of destruction.

I want you to notice also the second part of the verse. Here is the Names of God version again, “Don’t allow us to be tempted. Instead, rescue us from the evil one.” Jesus recognized from where temptation comes, the evil one. So he petitioned the Father to lead us away from the evil one, so as to rescue us from his temptations. Remember who tempted Jesus in the wilderness. It was the devil. Jesus’ prayer asks the Father to steer us away from the traps the devil has laid so that we will not be tripped up.
When you see this passage of scripture in modern language and in context with other scriptures, it takes on entirely new meaning. Sometimes it seems like the world has been sown with land mines. Jesus constantly intercedes for us asking the Father to navigate the mine field for us. That is good news, isn’t it?

Delightful

Psalm 37: 23           (GW)

A person’s steps are directed by the LORD, and the LORD delights in his way.

The good news of this verse may not jump out at you right away. Read it again. Now what do you see? I think we read verses about the Lord leading us but don’t really see them. Imagine yourself a small (or large) business owner. Now imagine that every day the Lord directs your steps, your actions and all of your decisions. Doesn’t that give you a sense of peace? Now here is the really good news. God’s direction and assistance does not end when you close the shop door for the day. Every part of your day, and indeed your life, can receive the benefit of the Father’s guidance. One benefit of receiving God’s insights and advice is success. I like the benefit this verse points out. The person who allows God to speak into their life also receives the delight of the Lord. You’ve gotta love that. How would you like going to bed every night knowing that the Lord is delighted in you? Do you think it would affect the quality of your sleep? Would your heart bask in peace?

It should be obvious that the Lord wants to guide your day. Why else would He take delight in the ways of people who allow His directions? Life always runs more smoothly when we listen to the directions of the Lord. In these perilous times, there is another important reason to hearken to the voice of the Lord. He leads us in the paths of safety and protection. He will actually direct your footsteps so that you do not go in the way of danger.

Our relationship with God can be as active or passive as we choose. I personally feel that the time has come for us to enter into a relationship with Him such that He is in every minute of our day. There is too much to gain and too much to lose by having a Sunday relationship with Him. If you agree, ask Him to speak His wisdom into every facet of your day and every minute of your life. Allow Him to direct your steps and be the delight of His heart.

Parked Car

John 16: 13

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.

There used to be an expression, “God can’t steer a parked car.” The point of it was that the Holy Spirit has been sent here to steer and direct you but you have to get the car off of the curb first. You must start the car and put it in gear and then the Holy Spirit can direct you. What does this mean in practical terms? It means that you cannot just sit around and wait for God to drop something in your lap and have great success. The reason is that He directs your steps not jump starts you. You’ve got to get involved in your own success. Talk to the Lord about the things you want. You can still tell Him that it is most important to you that you follow His directions. You’ve got to start heading somewhere, then He can tell you which turns to make and which paths to take. But don’t just sit in your car waiting for him to start the car and drive too. It is not going to happen. Start doing something. Head in some direction and He will let you know if a course correction is called for. But first, get out of park.

Humbly Led

Psalm 25: 9

He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way.
You can hang out in the twenty-fifth psalm for a long time. There is much nourishment for the soul here. So how did I choose verse nine? I am often attracted to the verses that promise God will lead me in His paths. I want to know His ways and walk according to His instruction. One of my very favorite verses, in fact, is in this psalm. Verse 4 is a prayer, “Make me know Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths.” This is a psalm of David. By the time, he reaches verse 9 he has switched into teaching mode. He has gone from request to assurance. David knew that prayer to our benevolent Father results in answers. Therefore, he confidently assures us that our God and Father will lead us onto the divine pathway.

There is a stumbling block here, though, and that is what caused me to stop on this verse. There is a humility requirement. Perhaps, Father does not lead me as much as He might because I am so impressed with my own wisdom. Maybe, just maybe, my arrogance and independence prevents me from walking in His ways as well as I could. I wonder.

As you continue through this psalm, you discover that God’s instruction and guidance is for those who revere Him. Perhaps some of us get so caught up in trying to come up with answers that we never actually humble ourselves before the Lord and ask for His wisdom. And you know something else? Sometimes you don’t even have to ask. I find that if I will quiet myself down, He will offer His guidance free of charge. Maybe it doesn’t seem like arrogance for me to work so hard searching for answers but if we are truly humble and we revere the Lord won’t we allow Him to speak to our needs and questions? What is it, if not pride, when we are so caught up in our thinking that we do not appeal to His wisdom? Is this not putting our own intellect and problem solving skills on the throne?

We have a promise from the Lord that He will lead us and teach us His way. Let’s make ourselves available for Him to fulfil that promise in us.

On Track

Psalm 32: 8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

I am always attracted to the many scriptures that tell us that God will lead us and teach us. It seems to me that as long as we have his counsel, that he is guiding our steps and instructing us, that there is really no need left in our lives. He can always lead us into what we need and also give us wisdom and knowledge for each situation. With God leading us, we can never go too far astray. Perhaps we do not always listen as well as we might but he is right there to help us get back on the right path. His eye is on us, looking over us and watching out for us. We are certainly blessed. Incline your ear towards him so that you will better hear the instruction of the Lord.

For His Name’s Sake

Psalm 31: 3

For Thou art my rock and my fortress; for Thy name’s sake Thou wilt lead me and guide me.

God has a vested interest in leading you. He wants you successful because your life is a testimony to others. He wants his kids to find their way and to live peaceful, successful lives. He directs your steps so that you can find your way. If he did not lead and guide us, we would easily get lost. There is safety in Him and He leads you into that safe place for His name’s sake. In that place, in Him, is all of the substance you need. He has promised to lead you so He must do it or otherwise damage His reputation. He cannot lie so if He has said it, He must do it. Do not ask yourself if God will lead you and guide you. You are not the expert on what God will do. He has already established, by His own word, that he will direct you. Just relax and let Him