Psalm 32: 8

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

Do you listen to audio books? I am listening to At Home in Mitford: A Novel by Jan Karon. It’s the story of an Episcopal priest set in a fictional town in North Carolina. Some believe it to be a reflection of a town I frequent in the mountains of NC, Blowing Rock. There is even a character or two in this series of novels with the last name of Ivey. How about that? So, I was listening to it last night, using the melodious tones of narrator John McDonough to help me fall asleep, when Timothy, the rector, quoted the above scripture. I enjoy the passages where Timothy thinks about or discusses scripture, especially as it interplays in the course of his life. Unfortunately, it has the effect of disturbing my attempts at sleep. Scripture is just too stimulating. This one had me awake for a while and I was still thinking of it when I awoke this morning.

When we talk about the good news the Bible shares, there are different degrees and effects. Some people think mostly about the good news that the savior has come and redeemed us. Surely, there is not news greater than that. And, some people do not think this verse will have Jesus in it because it pre-dates Jesus’ walk in the earth. For me, though, I see Jesus all over this and it not only gives me comfort but also gives me the sense of both his and our Father’s presence with me. I know it can creep some people out that God is watching them all the time, but I like knowing He is watching me right this minute. If I type a wrong word, He is right here to steer me.

Moreover, we can rely on the dynamic duo to lead us step by step every single day in every single way. I need the constant supervision. It takes so little for me to go off the rails. They help me prioritize what is most important. I don’t always listen perfectly, but I would have more difficulty if I had to steer my own car all the time.

Now, add the Holy Spirit who is our teacher because this scripture promises me that the Triumphant Trio will teach me. We have a navigator pointing out the way to go. He is obligated to instruct and teach us. He, too, must keep an eye on us to make sure we don’t walk off any cliffs.

How does this play out in life, you ask? Well, what decision do you need to make today? Perhaps it is as simple as a Christmas gift you are considering for someone. Sometimes I think that is where our walk is most challenging. It’s common to pray for the big things but I think we gain an entirely different relationship with the Father when we begin looking to Him for all the little things in a day. What should I wear? Which workout should I go to? Shall I bake chicken for dinner?

It’s God’s job to watch us and then guide our steps. I like that. Help us, Father, in every step we take today, to go in the right direction for us. Lead us, teach us. Thank you!


Psalm 73: 23 – 24

Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.

When Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah, he said the savior would be called Immanuel. Immanuel means God is with us. That is one of the most important pieces of prophecy in the entire Bible. It is a key piece of theology. God is with us.

Jesus’ coming to earth, his sacrifice and subsequent resurrection change the entire dynamic between God and people. The temple moved. Instead of being an edifice made of stone and mortar, the new temple is you. God has come to live in us and to be with us continually. He is now intertwined with us and us with Him. There is no separation other than that which we create. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him,” (John 14: 23). Jesus and the Father intend to make their abode with us. Jesus also promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit who would come and be with us forever (John 14: 16). So there you have it, all three persons of the Trinity coming to earth to live in and with you always.

This is the dream and hope of the psalmist. He recognized God with him. He also hints at an important aspect. As long as we are with God, He is with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us, but it is important that we are “continually” with Him also, as the psalmist wrote. He made a decision to be continually with God and then acknowledged that God had taken hold of his right hand to lead and counsel him all the days of his earthly life. Then, at the end of his days, he knew and expected that God would receive him into glory. In other words, their partnership will never end. God was with him all the days of his earthly existence and then the Lord received him into the heavenly abode of God. That is the promise we have, God with us. Grab hold of His right hand and enjoy life with Immanuel.


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.
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!


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.

Follow the Leader

2 Chronicles 31: 21

And every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered.

This verse is about a fellow named Hezekiah. Hezekiah taught me how to follow the Lord. I remember clearly the day in 2005 when the Lord gave me this verse. It radically transformed my life and I hope it will have the same effect for you. I saw in this verse my way through the maze of all of the things I thought I should do. I gained an understanding of how I would make important decisions in my life. This verse was part of an epoch journey that has led, and is leading me, into a deep, abiding trust in the Lord; a trust that is freeing and optimistic.

The Lord showed me that if I would seek Him, He would show me the way to go. Even if, or when, the path looks danger fraught or even just silly, He taught me that I could trust Him. He taught me to throw my whole heart into whatever He has shown me. It has been difficult putting aside my reservations but therein lies the freedom.

Whatever God is telling you to do, throw your whole heart into it and trust Him to work out the details. It is His job to prosper you, not yours. Your job is to follow His leading and trust Him. Your job is to seek Him. The rest is on Him. Once you are sure of the way the Lord is leading you, toss your worry aside and put your whole heart into that which He is leading you, even if it makes no sense. He knows what he is doing. Really! Trust Him with all your heart.

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.