4 Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
I am by nature a teacher. I give information, I ask questions to make people think, I help people make connections that they might not see themselves, and I just generally try to guide people into thinking for themselves with God’s Word as the bedrock of their everyday lives. I don’t make any money doing it, but it is something the Lord has not only called me to do but also gifted me to do. It’s just what I do, and I enjoy doing it. Every now and then, I return to the Psalms to remind myself WHY I teach, and why others should want to receive the teaching I share. As I was reading this morning and came across these verses above, I saw why.
I come back to the Bible every day for one big reason: to allow God to teach me. If I am open to God’s teaching, then I will be able to teach others. But it amazes me how many Christians are not really open to God’s teaching. They want to be taught by men and women rather than by God. They want simple ideas, the milk of the Word rather than the meat and bread. They want to keep traveling their own paths, learning the many “truths” of the world instead of seeking the real truth of the Lord. And being very impatient–“I want what I want, and I want it now!”–many people want the Readers Digest version of the gospel. They prefer platitudes over statutes, pithy phrases over testimonies, and cherry-picked verses over the commandments of God. Never mind that Jesus reminded us, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by EVERY word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3) Not just a few words, not just a word now and then to fill in between other things, and certainly not MAN’S words in place of God’s. No, we are to find our spiritual sustenance in the WHOLE Word of God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
As we see in today’s verses, we are to seek God’s teaching and His Word for several reasons:
•”Show me Your ways, O LORD”–Solomon taught us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 16:25) If we are to follow our own way–literally a course of action, a road–then we will invariably lead ourselves to sin and death, for we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) But if we seek the Lord’s ways, the roads that He would have us travel, then we will find life.
•”Teach me Your paths”–When finding our way through the wilderness, it is best to know the good way to travel–literally the well-trodden road, like a caravan road. It is a narrow way, but it keeps us on course to the destination God has chosen for us.
•”Lead me in Your truth”–God’s ways are truth and light. “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) Justice, righteousness, and truth will be ours if we allow ourselves to be guided by the Lord. If I allow Him to be my Shepherd, then “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” (Psalms 23:6)
•”And teach me”–We are stubborn and always trying to show how independent we are, always forgetting that someone showed us the ways we travel now. Someone taught us our jobs, someone showed us how to drive and to cook and to play music. Someone wrote out directions on how to build things, how to put things together, and even how to find other things to do. We are constantly being taught. And yet we shun the teaching of the Lord! David has already said this once in these verses and now he says it again: “Teach me.” We should all be so desiring of God’s tutelage.
•”For You are the God of my salvation”–This is the greatest reason to seek God’s teaching. Jesus is not just a wise Teacher, not just another Prophet, not just a Man whose life and death are inspiring and tragic. Jesus is the very Son of God sent into this world to defeat Satan and bring men to righteousness. Jesus is God (John 1:1), and He shall always be the God of our salvation. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14), and it is His resurrection that guides us into life everlasting. If we love God for our salvation, then we should seek His teaching, seek His ways and paths, seek His truth, and then we shall never die.
6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
“On You I wait all the day,” David says in today’s verses. We are to wait upon the Lord, to seek Him and His truth all the day. As Moses told the Israelites:
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
God’s Word is to be on the tip of our tongues when we lie down and when we rise up, taught to our children, written on our homes and our hearts. It is not enough to simply have God’s Word spoon-fed to us once a week at a church service, not enough to get a little catch-phrase of the day from a morning devotional.
1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!
3 They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.
As the Psalmist said, blessed is the man whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalms 1:1-2) When we seek God’s Word day and night, when we seek God’s teaching every day in our lives, then we will be blessed.
And so I learn and I teach, because I desire God’s blessing and His salvation for all people. I desire to know His ways, to tread the paths of righteousness, to follow the way of truth. I desire to love the God of my salvation even more, and I shall do this by knowing Him more, by being nourished daily by His Word. God alone is worthy to be praised, He alone is wisdom and truth and life. Therefore, let us allow ourselves to be taught every day by the only one who is good, the great Teacher, our Father, the Lord God Himself.
Heavenly Father, teach me. Yes, as Your Word says, lead me beside still waters, guide me into all truth, show me Your ways and paths. But mostly, O Lord, make me teachable. Break my heart and make it fertile ground for Your gospel. Open my mind to Your truth. Open my ears to Your voice. Teach me, Father, to be more like Your Son every day of my life. Amen.