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Please take a few minutes to read Psalm 5. Notice the contrasts between the paths of the world and God’s path.
Let’s list the ways (paths) of the world:
Now let’s list what’s found along God’s path for life:
The best path to take seems clear, doesn’t it? BUT, if the world flatters and lies and deceives, how can we always know the right path to take? Satan may have horrible “gifts,” but he certainly has terrific gift wrapping!
How does one gain access to the right path?
“In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].” (v. 3)
Starting your day with prayer gives access to God’s guidance and direction. Gaining access to His path for life involves taking time to present yourself – needs, sins, wants – to Him, and then taking time to wait and listen for Him to answer.
So often, we miss God’s guidance because we don’t take time to ask. Sometimes we miss it because we don’t take time to listen for His answers after we do ask.
A regular habit of morning prayer sets your day and your life up to follow the path that doesn’t have a destructive chasm (v. 9) but that instead has a straight, right and level path to follow (v. 8).
Take a few minutes to read the following 3 different versions of Psalm 4:
Upon one read-through of each, the Psalms may seem to be making some very different points.
Psalm 4 (NLT) emphasizes innocence and a removal of distress in the face of rumors and lies others are spreading. It also encourages patience and waiting when emotions take control.
Psalm 4 (Message) speaks to being hand-picked by God and having Him at-the-ready when in distress. It talks about a focus on gaining material things but missing out on real joy and peace.
Psalm 4 (AMP) focuses on a God of righteousness that saves and frees and enlarges. It encourages a self-examination of personal focus and of the status of one’s heart. Having joy above any happiness the world can offer stands out as well.
Upon a 2nd or even a 3rd or 4th read-through, the theme of the Psalm begins to emerge. Go ahead, I dare you to read through Psalm 4 in each of the versions listed again. Hopefully, you begin to see that different perspectives of the same focus are being presented in each of the versions. When combined together, these perspectives seem to provide tremendous depth into the heart of what David, the Psalm’s author, wanted to portray.
Freedom no matter what circumstances say. Unending mercy. Focus on God brings unending joy while focus on the world’s offerings only brings temporary and limited happiness. Temporary happiness vs. Eternal joy. Immediate expression of anger vs. Patience that cultivates depth of honesty with self and God. Trust and confidence in God brings amazing peace that allows for true rest.
The beauty is that each of the versions speak truth about God in their own because they are each God’s word. Together, they amplify that truth and add depth to our understanding. God gives so many tools for hearing His voice. Yet, we must refuse to have so many ways to hear Him that we miss hearing Him.
Spend time in His Word. Let it speak to you. Don’t force it. Grab onto one word of a text you understand and thank Him for that. Thank Him for what the text says about God. Be okay with not fully understanding because you know God fully understands.
ADDITIONAL STUDY: Go back and read Psalm 1, 2 & 3 in two or three different versions. Let God’s Words speak to you.
Remember that our goal for studying the Proverbs 31 Woman was to have goals and standards that we can work toward to increasingly become godly women. This description should not be a heavy burden. Please never forget that.
September 2013 Application
This is a gentle reminder to always pursue deliberate application of God’s Word.
For September… Know someone who sets an inspiring example of a Proverbs 31 Woman? Do something this month to encourage her.
May these monthly suggestions be gentle reminders of the potential we all have as Christian women.