Today’s bible study is Psalm 37:23-24: The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.
What does it mean when it says that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord? Does it mean that we have little or no choice in the steps we take along the pathways of our lives? Does it mean that our steps are preordained by a divine power? Or does it simply reassure us that the Lord will be with us to guide us and direct us every step of the way if we trust in him?
If the Lord delights in his way, most surely he would want us to follow it. He would want us to walk in the steps that our dear Savior trod. He would want us to walk in peace, in gladness, through turmoil and pain. Most of all, he would want is to take steps to do good works and to reach the sick, the hungry, the downtrodden and the lonely.
Now it becomes far more difficult to interpret. It seems to tell us that even if we should fall, the Lord will not cast us down but will uphold us if we walk in his steps. Yet is may become more clear with a bit more exposition.
Psalm 37, an irregular acrostic, is a wisdom poem addressed to man, not God. Verses 12-24 sound very much like the maxims of Proverbs. The covenant promises of the land for Israel are prominent in many of its verses. Its basic theme deals with the age-old question: Why do the ungodly prosper, while the godly painfully struggle through life?
An intricate arrangement puts forth David’s answer. In Psalm 37, David mixes and matches six thoughts in order to advance his major message on the eventual arrival of divine justice.
These six thoughts are: an introductory overview, an initial expansion, some proverbial perspectives, an initial testimony, a final expansion, and a final testimony.
Verse 24 directly corroborates divine comfort. It is, therefore, a song of comfort, a reassurance that the Lord will be with us through all the difficult steps of our lives. And that he will hold us up with his hand if we are faithful followers of our Lord and Savior.
O gracious Lord, let us follow in the steps that you would have us tread. Help us to always trust in your power and grace to guide our pathways and to strengthen our hearts and our bodies when we become weary or fall. Give us new awareness of your presence, that we may always walk in your work and, as the psalmists of old, let us sing songs of praise to you, O mighty Lord.
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