The dry weather this time of year usually means I can mow all of the deer trails now…and they won’t be grown in by October-November. I try to get out on the mower early, before it gets hot, and the cooler air usually causes my mind to drift. I start to think about the deer trails…I start to imagine deer moving in from different directions…glimpses of a tan hide through the trees…the sound of a footfall from that partially rotted log…the trails serve as corridors to funnel deer into different shooting situations. The trails are mowed and maintained by me…and frankly…I’m not interested in the deer casually strolling through the woods enjoying their day. Oh no…I’m interested in the deer walking by, and gathering, in certain tactically planned ambush points. The deer like to walk along trails because they are quieter and take less energy, however, deer are notorious for doing the unexpected (kind of like people). It’s funny, I can provide deer a path, to a location desired by me, and they will walk along that path…for the most part…kind of…for a while.
We are just like that…
We will sometimes take 5 steps to travel 1…even though there is a path prepared in front of us. The big difference between deer and people is the vision. Deer don’t see in color like people but they do see about 300 degrees around them. People see color but are limited to about 120 degrees in peripheral vision and only 6 degrees in focused vision. People can only focus on about 5 words at a time on a typed page, everything else is blurry and considered peripheral. Now…I understand that deer don’t read, however, if they could…they could see every word in focus on an entire page. My point is this, deer see differently than we do and recognize they are on a path. They can turn there head and still keep the path in focus. People, on the other hand, turn their head and completely lose track of the path (and this assumes they knew they were on a path). By now…I believe we have all reached the conclusion that I’m not talking about any old path. I’m talking about the path to righteousness.
You know…the proverbial path we all allude too…and often enough, completely waste time trying to find. This is the “I know God has a plan for me…”, or the “I’m waiting for God to reveal the right path to me.” We need to change our mindset on this, the best way to do that is to sharpen our sword a bit and dive into Scripture. Lets start in Psalm 32: 8-11, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, But he who trusts in the Lord, loving kindness shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.”
And again in Psalms 37: 23-24, “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.”
As long as we are digging into the inspired words written by King David, a man after God’s own heart…lets digest this little nugget from 1 Chronicles 28:9, “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”
King David understood that the key to finding the path was in NOT looking for it. The key to walking the path…is to seek Him. Our steps, according to the words of King David, are established by the Lord, only after He is “found” by us because we sought Him out willingly and with pure intent. This “finding” will result in a surrounding of loving kindness as long as we continue to trust, which means ‘walk the path’. Once we veer off the path, we will not fall to our ruin because the Lord still holds our hand…unless…we decide willingly to forsake Him. Why someone would choose to forsake the Lord (forsake means to give up something formerly held dear) is beyond my ability to explain, but nevertheless it happens.
“So…because of our narrow vision, our inability to see the path clearly, we only need to focus on the Lord and He will insure our steps are true?”
“Wait…that sounds too easy?”
OK…King David was passing this lesson down to Solomon in the 1 Chronicles passage above, we know he was regarded as the wisest man in the world, lets see what King Solomon has too say on the subject. In Proverbs 3: 5-6 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”
I know…this is the famous verse, we use this verse to explain everything, BUT…to trust Him is to acknowledge Him in all your ways…this trust results in a straight path. A straight path is what we want…? Right…? I mean, this is what we tell people we are seeking…? To find it…we must stop looking for it…and start looking for the Lord in all our ways. This means to stop focusing on some proverbial path…we must focus on Him…focus on Christ…the path does not save, Jesus saves. With our focus attuned to Christ, His direction is made known through the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit…thus…we walk the path prepared for us. However, just like those deer, we can step off that path at will…and I mean by our will.
“Wait…aren’t our paths predestined?”
Wow…that’s a great question, a theological rabbit hole for sure…lets continue that line of thinking into the next week. Blessings to all, sharpen up, find your knees, and let the loving kindness of the God rain down on you and yours.