Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mapped out and ready to go!

Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! 
   Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot. 
   Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way. 
(Psalm 119: 35-37 The Message)

We began to explore the idea of learning life lessons vs. learning lessons from life in our study yesterday.  The difference between the two is really reflective of a proactive vs. reactive way of learning.  David was working on being a proactive learner - learning directly from God how life should be lived vs. learning from his own disobedience how life should not be lived.  I hope we are all on the path of becoming proactive learners!  

The idea of learning in a proactive manner is sometimes quite foreign to us.  Sometimes we cannot really "grasp" a concept until we have experienced it.  The idea of learning how to face circumstances, responding in obedience when we do, is not easy to grasp because there is no "experience" attached to that learning.  I think that is why David prays, "Give me a bent for your words...."  He did not "naturally" go to the Word for learning how to live life - it was something he had to have developed in his life.

What David is saying is that he wants to have a determination to seek God's direction even before he takes the first step.  He wants his course "set" before he takes the steps.  He likens this to traveling down a freeway (not literally, but in a figurative sense).  Think about that for just a moment - freeway vs. two-lane, no passing zone road.  Which is more enjoyable to traverse?  If you have ever been stuck behind a slow moving rig on a two-lane road in a no passing zone, you know what I mean!

This is the picture of a life that is reactive - we get "stuck" on the two-lane because we did not have the plans in place to avoid this back road path.  Why do you think we get stuck on the two-lane?  Sometimes it was just a wrong turn - once you are on that road, it can be a long way till there is an exit!  At others, it may be because we were "diverted" there by following the person in front of us.  We just "went along" where others were going - not realizing where it was going to get us in the end!

What we see in this passage is that we don't "naturally" have a "bent" (the resolve) to choose the right paths on our own.  We need God's help to do this consistently.  This is why David is speaking to us about some "prior planning" to the steps we take - making it far more likely that we are on the road we are traveling ON PURPOSE rather than by accident or misguidance.  David started this psalm with words like, "Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you."  Throughout the entire course of this lengthy psalm, he gives us "snippits" of what life lived in the Word can produce.

What do our eyes naturally gravitate toward?  Things that glitter!  We want the "good life" - complete with all its "glitter".  For some, that may be a shiny new car, luxurious house, and fine clothes.  For others, that may be a committed relationship with the captain of the football team, powerful executive, or successful entrepreneur.  For still others, that may be a house full of children, cupboards full of food, and room enough to spare just in case there is an unplanned visitor.  

"Glitter" is anything that takes our eyes off of God and places them on something else as that which gives meaning to our lives.  This is why David wanted to "pre-plan" life.  He wanted to know HOW to take steps of obedience BEFORE he would be asked to take any steps at all!  He knew that his own eyes would divert him from the course he should be taking.  Sure, God gives us  others to relate to, nice surroundings, and reliable transportation...but these should not be our focus.  We don't "live life" to obtain these - they are a blessing we received in "living life" by keeping God first!

In our daily walk, diversions are all around.  It is God who has the power to "direct" our vision to his purposes and plans.  We need to become proficient at being "proactive" in seeking his path BEFORE we take the first step.  So, dig deep into his Word - the "pre-planning" is worth the trip!

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