Psalm 143. Humility. The Road Less Traveled.

Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 143. (MsgB)

A David Psalm.

Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before You.
Save me from my enemies, God—You’re my only hope!
Teach me how to live to please You, because You’re my God.
Lead me by Your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland.

And why? Because I’m Your servant.

Life offers many differing roads for us to choose from.

When we’re really young; babies and toddlers; we are crawling on paths in life that have primarily been chosen by our parents. That’s kinda scary at times because, looking back at our lives as adults, a lot of our inner securities and viewpoints on life are determined in those first few years we live here on planet earth. If our parents are making wise choices with their decisions and the roads they are choosing are healthy, chances are, we are going to benefit from those choices as well. But sadly, when unhealthy parents are picking poor roads to walk on, we too, as children, suffer from those unwise choices our parents make in walking treacherous paths in life.

By the time we get into school, we’re beginning to make choices ourselves. If we’re hanging with healthy kids who are making wise choices, chances are, we will choose healthy paths for our lives as well. But who of us hasn’t experienced over the years the sadness and pain that eventually hits us when we consistently choose for ourselves roads that are dead-ends or paths to destruction.

Many come to saving grace in Christ only after exhausting journeys down long and winding roads. Roads chosen out of our fleshly drive to be our own man or woman. Paths that look inviting and quite hopeful at first, but over time, prove to be quite deadly to those who continue on. In most cases, these roads are often marked with warning signs placed there by God. Many of these paths are littered with rotting bodies and broken skulls, but still, in our drive to be in charge, we press on, believing we can overcome odds others couldn’t.

Which now brings us to Psalm 143.

King David, like most of us earth-dwellers, has had his share of walking down self-chosen paths of destruction. He knew full well what could happen if and when he decided to take his life into his own hands. Indeed, bad things do happen to people who make bad choices.

But here’s the rub.

In this lifetime, bad things can still happen to those who make the right choices. King David had apparently been making all the right choices on which path he would take in life, but still the bad guys caught up with him and began to make his journey difficult indeed. At the time of this psalm being written, David had, once again, been ravaged by his enemies. One unique point worthy of discussion here is the fact that when David finds himself in trouble, here he is again, just as we saw in Psalm 142, calling out to His God, asking for the Lord to once again come and point him in the right direction.

Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before You.

As I see it, this may be one of the best prayers I’ve run across in some time. Just think of it. So many times you and I, as independent adults, rarely ask for directions. The running joke about guys is that we never ask for directions when lost. As a matter of fact, just the idea that we’d admit to being lost is a big no-no in our culture. Real men never get lost, right?

But sadly, this kind of thinking, so prevalent in our society, is the kind of stuff true disasters are made of.

Thank goodness, in the real world of God’s Kingdom, real men and women who love Jesus can stop serving up the bull… and quickly admit to themselves, to others, and to their God that they are lost and need to be pointed in the right direction once again.

Just think how refreshing it would be in our churches today to run across some big-name leaders who are quick to admit that they’ve strayed off path and are asking God to point the way back to the right road. Isn’t it sad that this path of humility is such a road less traveled in our world where macho men and aggressive women who never show a sign of weakness are seen as the real leaders in our organizations?

Gosh, maybe it’s time to start looking for leaders who limp. Guys and gals like King David. Men and women who are quick to admit that they get lost from time to time and need a new kick-start from God to get them walking in the right direction again. Leaders who are not afraid to say…

Teach me how to live to please You, because You’re my God.
Lead me by Your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland.

And why? Because I’m Your servant.

My prayer: Father, point-blank, it’s my pride and arrogance that keeps me from asking You for directions in life. Forgive me, Lord, when I become so wrapped up in myself that I can’t humble myself like King David did here in Psalm 143. Holy Spirit, transform me from the inside out so, when I reach points in my life when nothing much is clear, I will quickly take the road less traveled, asking You, once again to be my God while I, oh Lord, are content to be your simple servant. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: Where am I allowing stubbornness and pride to keep me from asking for directions? Have I taken a road marked with arrogance and self-centeredness? If so, can I be strong enough to become weak, allowing God to lead me where He wants me to go? Can I humble myself in these situations, taking the road less traveled with Jesus, or will I still fight to stay in control of my destiny?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?

Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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