Daily D – Proverbs 20:24

by | Aug 19, 2020 | Daily D | 0 comments

The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? PROVERBS 20:24 (NLT)

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A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?
ESV

The very steps we take come from GOD; otherwise how would we know where we’re going?
The Message

I remember the first time I heard Doris Day sing Que Sera Sera. As I called her image to mind and pondered what she said, I had to disagree. It is a beautiful song beautifully performed. It is, however, terrible theology. Whatever will be will be? The future is not ours to see? Pardon moi, but that sounds a wee bit fatalistic. This sentiment goes right up there with “Whatever happens, happens,” and “It is what it is.” 

When bad things happen, well-meaning people often say, “It was the Lord’s will.” Really? Then why did he bother saying to us things like Micah 6:8?

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Why bother with the Ten Commandments? Why waste seventeen minutes on the Sermon on the Mount? Why did Peter, James, John, and Paul write all those letters about what to do and what not to do? 

The New Living Translation of Proverbs 20:24 at first reading sounds almost fatalistic when it ends by saying, “so why try to understand everything along the way?” Why bother indeed? If God has laid out our every step, all I can do is dance, right?

The English Standard Version asks, “how then can man understand his way?” If God is in charge and has everything planned just the way it is going to go, then I can not only sing Que Sera Sera, I can add Drift Away to my Predestination Playlist. God’s in charge, after all. All I have to do is nothing.

Eugene Peterson in his wonderful paraphrase called The Message helps us when he asks, “otherwise how would we know where we’re going?” How is this helpful? Like the two translations previously mentioned, he focuses on who God is and what God knows and what God wants for us. How can we know where we’re going? We go to God and ask. We seek him. We seek his will. We seek his way. We seek his strength. 

Our Father in heaven is not a God of disorder, disunity, or of disobedience. My sin is not God’s fault. Whatever will be will be is not an excuse for overindulgence or hatefulness. I will never drift away into the good life God has prepared for me and for others through the work he has given me to accomplish.

He is good all the time. He wants only good things. He sees what is good from a different perspective than we do oftentimes. However, he has not left us unaware of what is good. Go to the Ten Commandments. Go to the Sermon on the Mount. Go to Peter, James, John, and Paul along with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Go to the Old Testament prophets with their words of correction in a world gone wrong.

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.

The closer we walk with God, the more we love what he loves. The more we value what he values. The more we see what he sees and seek what he seeks. 

Go back to the proverb and ponder it afresh. The LORD directs our steps. We do not have to worry about our direction when we are walking with him. He knows the way. He takes us along the right way. He can never lead us any other way. He takes us where we need to go when we need to go there. I may not understand where he is leading, but I understand his heart. I understand his guidance. I understand his provision. I understand that ultimately we will end up at his house. This is what David tells us so beautifully in Psalm 23. 

Far from fatalism, this is a choice. I choose to walk with God. I choose to hear his voice, follow his steps, go on great adventures with him, learn from my mistakes, allow him to redirect me, and experience what I could not on my own. This verse is all about God, not all about me. His plan is better than any I could conjure. His path is more scenic than any I could map out. His desires are perfectly pure and wholesome. They build me up where my own plans often lead to unnecessary harm.

The LORD directs our steps. We can choose our own steps, but we will never get where God wants us to go down our own paths. The LORD directs our steps about as much as we allow him. He tells us what is good. He tells us his requirements. He tells us to do what is right, just, fair, kind, and compassionate. He tells us to walk with him. Walking with God is a choice. It is a good choice. Far from fatalism, it is instead fantastic.

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I will walk with God.

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Our Father, direct my steps. Show me the way I should go. Lead me. Shepherd me. Keep me on the right path. I want to join you on your path and in your work. Use me as you see fit to build a better world. The only way I can know the way is to know you, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Amen. 

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