David was a shepherd-singer who became a warrior king. He had big successes (uniting Israel, defeating dangerous enemies, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital) and big failures (adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband). How did this larger-than-life man choose what pursuits in life were worthy of his efforts? To what authority and direction was such an influential and powerful man willing to subject himself?
Psalm 25 was written by King David. It begins with the words, “Lord, I appeal to you. My God I trust in you” (CSB). David knew where to go for answers, for help, and for encouragement. David knew where to go for direction in life. He went to the Lord.
In Psalm 25 verse 4, David writes, “Make your ways known to me, Lord; teach me your paths.” He asks God to make his ways known. In other words, David wants to know what lifestyle choices are pleasing to God and will be blessed by God.
David implores God to make known his ways, to teach his paths. David knows that we do not naturally know or understand the ways of God. This broken world is filled with darkness and deception. Our own hearts are confused by sin and they often lead us astray. God must reveal his ways to us. We cannot find them on our own. God must teach us his paths. We cannot understand them without his instruction.
The Bible often contrasts the ways of the Lord with the ways of the wicked and foolish. In this world, we are tempted to turn away from God’s ways and follow selfish desires, popular opinion, peer pressure, or one of many other destructive pathways. The first step toward God’s blessings is to turn away from the world’s empty promises.
“Teach me your paths,” David writes. God’s ways are like paths. We must walk in them. We must decide to follow the direction of the path, trusting it will lead us to the right place. God’s paths always lead us to him and to his blessings.
The other pathways in life lead to destruction. Yes, they may offer pleasure or excitement for a short time, they may be popular, they may even be easier, but they always end in disaster. They don’t lead to God. They pull us away from God.
David asks to know God’s ways, not for God to bless his ways. David is choosing God’s ways over his own ways, knowing that he is a sinner, knowing that he is prone to wander away from God, not toward him.
Heaven’s blessings don’t come to those who walk on hell’s highway. We cannot pursue the lies of sin and expect the joys that come from God. The peace of God comes to those who walk the paths of God.
When we follow the Lord’s paths, he promises to walk with us and strengthen us along the way. He promises to be by our side and correct us if we begin to stray.
Jesus pictures this truth with memorable words. He says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
In another place, Jesus says that he is the Gate. He also says, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). In fact, in the New Testament, following Jesus is called The Way! Jesus is the way that pleases God. He is the way that leads to God and to his eternal blessings. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is the way to peace with God.
Seek the Lord’s way and walk in it!
May God bless us with a desire to walk his pathway,
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