Make Me Know

Ask most people when they pray, and they will probably say that it is when they have a specific request. Even people who pray regularly often spend a considerable amount of time listing the things that they want or need. This isn’t hard to explain. It is easy to recognize when things aren’t as we wished they were. It is more difficult to recognize how God wants things to be.

Perhaps it is because of this that so often I hear people praying that “God would reveal His will.” Usually this petition comes because the individual has a decision to make and wants to know which path they should choose. When we don’t know where God is leading, we hope that He will provide some sign or inclination that will tell us where we should go.

The interesting thing about this request is that there is no implied commitment on behalf of the petitioner to follow God’s path once it is revealed. People reveal things all the time which don’t prompt us to act. A commercial may reveal a great deal; a friend may reveal her future ambition. In either of these instances, and many more, we may listen and then do nothing. Similarly, when we ask God to reveal His will it may be that we are asking for clarity, but without it, we are unwilling to commit to obey.

Maybe this is why David put the request a little differently. He wrote:

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

Do you see the difference? David asks God to:

  • “Make me know your ways” – He doesn’t just want God to reveal His path; David wants it to deeply resonate within him.
  • “Teach me your paths” – David humbly acknowledges that it is his place to learn what God desires; he could no more demand God’s revelation than he could insist that God make him king
  • “Lead me in your truth” – David expectantly commits to follow where God directs.

And then concludes by stating:

  • “For you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” – David recognizes that his own timetable is not what’s important; it is God’s timetable that matters. David resolves to wait for God – not asserting his preferences regarding when things will happen, but dedicated to patience as God plans unfold.

The differences may seem subtle, but they are important. Asking God to reveal His will seems to place the focus on how doing so might benefit me. Asking God to “make me know your ways” places the emphasis on God, where it rightly should be.

So the next time we are inclined to ask God to reveal His plans for our life, perhaps instead we should follow the pattern of David and ask God that would make us know His way. In doing so may we recognize that it should be our ambition to know what is important to Him, to pursue wholeheartedly after it, and to commit to follow Him as He, in His good timing, teaches us His path and leads us in His ways.

 

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Even When Trouble Surrounds

We live in a circumstantial world. Most people practice, even if they don’t espouse, situational ethics, and it is difficult to get anyone to agree to universal principles. It can be difficult to find someone who acts with integrity; it can be even more difficult to find someone who consistently does so.

If the above is true in normal times, it is even more so when times are difficult. There is a reason that concepts like “mob mentality” of taken root in our culture. When hard times abound, people are often tempted to act against their better nature. When some people are doing this, others are likely to join them.

However, in the Psalms David shows us the folly of this line of thinking. Here was a man who at various times in his life faced a giant that caused trained soldiers to fear, was ruthlessly hunted down by the king who wanted him killed, and who, later in life, even had his own son turn against him. Yet in Psalm 26:11, he wrote these words:

But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me.

In the preceding verses David makes it clear that this is a commitment that is not contingent on how others behave. Perhaps describing those around him, he writes of “men of falsehood” and “hypocrites” (v 4); “evildoers” and “wicked” (v. 5); “sinners” and “bloodthirsty men” (v. 9). Yet, his dedication to following God’s Word is clear. He is determined to live as God would have him live, regardless of what trouble he encounters.

This should be our commitment too. And it should be a resolve we make long before we face the next time of hard circumstances. Like David, we won’t be perfect in keeping it, but also like David, we are more likely to act in integrity if in our hearts we have predetermined to do so. As we resolve our hearts to this path, we can trust that God will also “redeem [us], and be gracious to [us],” just as He was to David.

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