“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” (Psa 32:8)
It was a new venture for us. We had no outside source of income, no congregation to speak of. What we had was a stewardship from the Lord. That by itself did not cure-all the battles of my mind. I needed help from the Lord.
I don’t recall for certain which of the Psalms my attention was fixed on, but it may well have been Psalm 32. That Psalm certainly fit my need of the moment.
Here is the story of …
What Am I Doing Here?
Here we were on our own. We had just begun our pioneer work of bringing Christian Challenge into existence. It was 1976.
What a venture. Our rented house was not much to look at. We had no outside source of income, no denomination to back us up, and, a tiny little congregation, mostly my family.
Anyway, I’m in bed and my mind is being filled with troublesome thoughts. “What am I doing here?” “How will I take care of my family?” “How will we make it?” “How will we live?” “Are we going to make it?”
That is when I had this nudging in my spirit to get up, that the Lord wanted to have a word with me. (Yes, God does speak to His people.)
I went to our kitchen table with my Bible. When I sat down my Bible opened to the book of Psalms. As I looked at the pages before me, I began to hear in my spirit some instructions from the Lord. He spoke to my heart about this book, that the book of Psalms was placed in the sacred Scriptures for a reason.
The Psalms teach us how to think, how to pray, what to believe, how to prosper in the Lord, how to worship, and on and on and on.
As the Lord was speaking to my heart I felt this wonderful refreshing. I got up from the table thoroughly reinvigorated. All doubt had disappeared.
And from that moment on I’ve held a deeper love for the book of Psalms.
So, what’s so special about Psalm 32? This Psalm has a unique place in God’s book. It is known as….
A Psalm of Enlightenment
Actually Psalm 32 is quoted from by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans. That certainly speaks to its relevance.
As to relevance, in the book of Psalms you will find certain Psalms designated as a ‘miskil’. A miskil is the Lord’s call to contemplate deeply on how He works in our lives. These Psalms are also known as, ‘Psalms of Enlightenment.’
Let’s take a closer look at Psalm 32 -
[David speaks] “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!
“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
“Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
“You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
[The Lord’s response.] “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.
[David again.] “Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.
Sins Forgiven – Divine Guidance
In Psalm 32, we find ourselves moving from the joy of having our sins forgiven, to the promise of divine guidance. As I shared earlier, what gives this particular Psalm extra credence is that Paul quotes from Psalm 32 in Romans 4:7,8:
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”
What makes this so special for new covenant believers is that our sins were atoned for at the cross.
While believers do sin, it is enough to say that sin is contrary to our new-found nature in Christ Jesus. Whereas a sinner sins by nature and takes no thought to it. When a child of God sins he hurts in the deep of his heart. A child of God is painfully aware of sin in his life.
What sorrow and pain we could escape by simply being honest about our failings. John said that if we will confess our sin, the Lord is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When forgiveness is in place, the Lord then appoints us to a walk of righteousness. For a walk to be righteous, it has to be under His guidance. David said,
“He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3)
And so in Psalm 32, we also hear the Lord say,
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
“Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you.” (Psalm 32:8,9)
Living with the Peace of God
A major problem some believers have is with bull headedness along with an uncontrolled thought life. This is why Peter tells us to gird up the loins of our mind in keeping our thoughts under control.
Where do we begin? God said through Isaiah,
“Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts.”
We were all wicked at one time. God forgave us. Now it is time to forsake our past way of doing and thinking. Now we must learn to follow the Lord in paths of righteousness.
And this brings us to the mainstay of guidance. Guidance is not a one-time affair. Just as repentance and making spiritual adjustments is not a one-time affair. It is daily business.
When a person truly meets Jesus, something wonderful happens to the human spirit. This happening is so powerful that Paul simply uses the term ‘the peace of God’ to describe it. He says,
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This supernatural peace is God’s governing kingdom peace. It is His grace at work.
It is this peace that keeps us flowing in the path of righteousness. In one place the prophet said,
“He makes peace your borders.”
In another place we are told to let peace be the umpire in our hearts. (Cf. Psalm 147:14; Col 3:16)
God’s Training in Righteousness – Covenant Consciousness
Listen carefully to the apostle:
“You [Timothy] … from childhood have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2Ti 3:14-17)
When the apostle Paul spoke of our training in righteousness, he was addressing a makeover of both our spiritual and our thought life. We learn to apply God’s Word to all situations. We learn to think God’s thoughts, and speak God’s Word, and walk in God’s ways.
In all this is where we learn the flow of peace. In this walk of righteousness we begin to have formed in us, ‘covenant consciousness.’
What did the Lord say in Psalm 32? He said,
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.”
A true covenant walk, works around a relationship. Jesus said,
“I am the door of the sheep…if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Going In and Out
To go in and out speaks of a covenant walk. It speaks of the leading of the Shepherd. The paths of righteousness includes ‘doors and opportunities of faith.’
In the new covenant, Jesus personally leads each believer, each marriage, each family, and each flock in paths of righteousness that is according to His will. This is what the Lord was teaching David in his Psalm of contemplation.
Some believers struggle because they’ve not yet learned to trust the Lord completely to lead their life. Others struggle because they fear that following after the Lord will mean suffering. Certainly to walk with the Lord can include suffering, but sufferings are usually trying situations.
Yet even in the trying circumstances the promise remains. Isaiah said,
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.”
Well, there is much more that can be said, but let’s stop for now. Are you ready to take the trappings off? Think about it. Guidance from the Lord is only a breath away.
Here is a song for your meditation. As you listen to this song, let me become your prayer. ‘Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow’ by Les Baker.