Godly Focus and Intention
“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”
- Psalm 25:4-5
We are quite easily distracted in this world; at least, I am. We see a vision or feel a strong calling of the Lord to change our ways, to begin something new, to step out in faith; then, something or someone needs our attention. There are new bills to pay or unexpected challenges that arise, and we forget. We forget the conviction, the vision, and the calling. As we heard in the service on Ash Wednesday, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (BCP, p. 265). We are frail people who forget who we are, whose we are, and what we are meant to do during our time here on earth.
Even though he was a great leader, King David must have struggled with these same issues. Knowing himself, David asked the Lord to make his ways known, to teach David how to faithfully walk on his paths, and to guide David into his truth. King David longed for God to provide his divine guidance for him and for the nation of Israel. God’s ways were the best ways; King David trusted that the Lord would guide him and that nation of Israel into blessing and abundant life within the land he had given to them.
To know God’s ways requires that one know God. When David prayed for the Lord to make him know his ways, David was asking that God reveal himself and his plans. Thankfully, the Lord has made himself known through the teachings and writings of Moses and the prophets. King David became part of that divine revelation as he penned these psalms. The ways of God are to love him, to love one another, to show mercy, to love justice, and to seek faithfulness. God’s way is the way of obedience.
God’s paths are also lined with obedience and obedient action. It is one thing to know God and to know his revealed plans; it is another thing to act on that truth and guidance of the Lord. David wanted to know God’s ways, to know God’s paths so that he could do what God was calling him to do. There was the mental assent to God’s ways and truth that must be followed by an obedient follow-through on those ways.
When David asked that God would lead him in his truth and to continue to teach him, he longed for God’s word to dwell richly in his heart, to be the center of who he was, and to be the foundation for how he lived his life. Again, there was a full acknowledgement that God’s ways were good and right, trustworthy, and true; they were worthy of David’s full submission and adherence. David knew that salvation was found in none other than the Lord and that though he may have to wait, God would lead him in this way of faithfulness.
In this first week of Lent, it is the opportune time to make David’s prayer our prayer. It is the time to ask the Lord to search our lives and to reveal the ways that we have forgotten him, forgotten his convictions, forgotten what he has called us to do. Then it is time to recommit our hearts, minds, and lives to him, to seek the Lord and to fully surrender to his ways, his paths, and his truths. Reflection:
Do you struggle with whole-heartedly trusting in God’s ways, paths, and truth? If so, can you spend some time asking the Lord to create in you this faith of David?