PSALM 37, the long song continued...
"The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand...
The law of his God is in his heart;
His steps do not slip."
(verses 23-24, 31)
I got a call from a teacher this week who said that our son had told her that he had been "hit" by a car.
He had not said a word to us Evidently, Sunday night crossing the street in the dark, a car had come quickly around the corner, and he barely got out of the way, knocked down though but not really hurt.
He was nearly "hurled headlong." It's a dangerous world out there, especially in the dark.
"He delights in his way."
Matthew Henry says, "The blessing of God is the spring, sweetness, and security of all earthy enjoyments...By His grace and Holy Spirit, He directs the thoughts, affections, and designs of good men. By providence He overrules events so as to make their way plain. He does not always show them His way from a distance, but leads them step by step, as children are led. God will keep them from being ruined by their falls, either into sin or into troubles."
"Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand."
This is as a Father holds his child's hand. To be childlike is to trust, to put one's hand into the greater hand of God, not merely holding on ourselves to one finger from which we might let go and slip, but to have our hand encased in His. That is how we are held. How very scary to be hurled headlong.
"I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or his descendants begging bread.
All day long he is gracious and lends,
And his descendants are a blessing...
For the Lord loves justice
And does not forsake His godly ones;
They are preserved forever."
(verses 25-26, 28)
I resemble that remark! I have a different perspective from which to view things now in my grey days. It is as if we can step back a little from the spinning, whirling, twirling ride we were on, and take a moment. It is as if I had climbed the mountain and looked back upon the beautiful view. What do we look upon? Our descendants, our blessings. Just as we desire our descendants to walk in the ways of God, so does our heavenly Father who promises not to forsake His godly ones. After all, we won't be here forever. It is our prayer and hope that what we have done for the Lord will last, be preserved, used so that we all, our descendants included, will be together again forever in Paradise. This is truly why I blog. I want to leave breadcrumbs along the way to heaven they can follow.
Barnes Commentary says, "There is a sad kind of feeling which a man has when he is constrained to say, 'I have been young;' for it suggests the memory of joys, hopes, and friends, that are now gone forever. But a man may have some claim to respect for his opinions when he is constrained to say it, for he can bring to the coming generation such results of his own experience and observation as may be of great value to those who are young."
Oh, that the young would observe! May they not beg for bread for their stomachs, but for manna, for the bread of life. God is gracious to give. In this way they are preserved.
"Depart from evil and do good,
So you will abide forever...
(His saints, His holy ones, His favorites)
will inherit the land
And dwell in it forever."
(verse 27, 29)
The commentary, The Treasury of David, says, "As Lot left Sodom without casting a look behind, so we must leave sin. No truce or parley is to be held with sin, we must turn away from it without hesitation, and set ourselves practically to work in the opposite direction."
Oh how far the majority of Christendom has fallen from this truth. So often the teaching is that we can't help but look back with longing, that we can't be free from sin, that we are forever bound under its spell until heaven. But Christ came to defeat sin, to end its dominion over us, not just in the pie in the sky, but here on earth through the power of the Holy Spirit with cleansing, sanctification (being set apart for holy use) and empowerment.
Look at verse 35, "I have seen a wicked, violent man spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil." Gil's commentary says that Aben Ezra explains it as "a wicked man's openly committing iniquity, declaring his sin as Sodom, and glorifying in his shame." This is what we run from, from its tentacles, its tempting shade. Depart.
"The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
And his tongue speaks justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
He does not slip."
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."
"The mouth betrays the heart."
(The Treasury of David)
This is how we are judged, how our slip is showing, the slip of the tongue. As James says, the tongue cannot be controlled. There is no outward halter for it. "The tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity." (James 3:6) Yet we are not hopeless for there is something greater than the tongue, the heart. The tongue can be controlled by the heart. I know for a fact, when the Spirit says, "Curb thy tongue!" Then, I must listen. "He does not slip." "The Lord is the One who holds his hand." We have come back full circle to where we began here talking about the steps of a man."