By Brooke Holt
“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
How do I know that this is the man/woman I am supposed to marry? How do I know if this is the college that God has chosen for me, the career, the church, the house? Questions abound as people seek to know God’s will for their lives. And far too many believers become paralyzed by fear. What if I make a mistake or misunderstand the Lord?
Our psalmist today doesn’t seem to be asking the “How do I know?” questions but rather asking for God’s guidance. Yesterday, we read how the psalm began: “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul” (Psalm 25:1). He began his prayer with a surrender of his whole being to the Lord. From that place of surrender, he then sought the Lord’s plans and purposes for his life. And let’s consider the ways in which he sought God’s plans: make me to know, teach me, and lead me, Lord.
“Make me to know your ways.” What are God’s ways, and how can we discern them? God’s Word is the revelation of who he is, what he has done, and what constitutes a life of obedience to him. When the psalmist asked the Lord to make him know, we can assume that he had learned about God through the words spoken in the synagogue and likely in his home on a daily basis. Remember, the Israelites were commanded to keep God’s word ever before them and to teach their children this word in all things: “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19). Knowing God and his commandments would certainly help a person to know his ways.
“Teach me your paths.” Where do you want me to go, Lord, and what do you want me to do? Beyond knowing God and his Word, there is a sense in which one must keep their eyes on the Lord. What is he doing around you? Where do you sense that he is at work? Where do you see needs or opportunities for God’s kingdom work? God often leads his people through paying attention to where God is and what he is already doing or wanting to do. Then, he invites his people to join him in the work and ministry.
“Lead me in your truth and teach me.” This part of the prayer closely resembles the first statement. Is the psalmist using repetition to make his heart known to the Lord? Sometimes I repeat things in prayer to remind myself as well. Lord, I want your will; Lord, I want to want what you want; Lord, make your desires my desires. That is a daily prayer for me. While it seems repetitious, it makes my heart known not only to the Lord but also to myself.
Is this prayer of the psalmist your daily prayer? Are you seeking wholeheartedly to know the Lord and his purposes and plans for your life? Maybe this Advent season, God is calling you to a new way of seeking him. Instead of asking the “How do I know?” questions, maybe it is time to start imploring the Lord to make you know his way, to teach you his paths, and to lead you in his truth. How the Lord loves to meet his children in this posture, to take them by the hand, and to lead them on his path of life!
How could you implement the psalmist’s prayer into your daily prayer? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
Comments will be approved before showing up.