Do you talk to God? And does He talk to you? Do you hear what He’s saying?
Sometimes, when Sue and I are out walking together, we’ll wonder which way to go. “I’d like to go this way”, I say. But she thinks of the really muddy bit down by the farm, and the nice dry fields if we keep higher up, and says, “It’ll be dryer up here”. I agree. Neither of us likes mud.
David ‘declared his ways’ to God. He said, “God, this is the route I’m taking. This is what I plan to do”. And God answered. David doesn’t say what the answer was. It could have been, “That’s fine, David, my son. Just keep going”. Or perhaps, “Watch out! From my point of view, it looks a bit dodgy”. Or even, “No, David. That way lies disaster”.
Of course, it’s good to keep asking God, “Am I going the right way?” But He wants us to have a God-taught conscience, a will that knows what’s the right way, and what’s wrong. What David realises is that he needs God to teach him His ‘decrees’.
God does that through His written word, the Scriptures; but, also, through our experience of ‘declaring our ways’ and hearing His answer. Either way He ‘teaches us His decrees’. And what we learn gets written in our hearts. It educates our conscience.
The Hebrew word for ‘decrees’ means ‘boundaries’, or ‘allocated places’. It suggests God’s route for us.
Where we live, there are sometimes old ‘drovers’ roads’. They are usually quite grassy tracks, three or four metres wide, with a wall or bank on each side. This is where the drovers would take sheep and cattle from the hillsides to the rich grasslands lower down. They had solid boundaries to keep the livestock ‘on the straight and narrow’. The laws that God wants to be written on our hearts have the same purpose – boundaries, so we know what’s the right way to go, and what isn’t; and allocated places, so we know where’s the right place to settle, and where isn’t.
As I plan my day, I need to tell God about it – ‘declare my ways’. I need to listen out for Him ‘answering me’. Perhaps it will be a specific word, or maybe that nudge from my conscience, where His word has been written in my heart. Obey His voice, and you’ll go the right way and settle in the right place.
Prayer: Father, thank You that You have a perfect plan for me today. As I lay my plans before You now, would You show me what fits in with Your plans, and what doesn’t. Help me to hear Your voice today and to obey what You say, trusting You as You lead me on. Amen.
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