If our feet are firmly planted in the joy of the Lord, we will walk in His will. Hear about the peace of delighting in God's will.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. I hope everything’s alright at your house. I’m feeling pretty good. I suppose I ought to say it correctly: “I am feeling very well.” I always have to watch my grammar, and that’s a good thing.
Say, we’re looking at Psalm 37, verse 23: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delighteth in His way.” We were just going through some of the verses that talk about these steps and the last time we got together, we talked about the fact that God gives you a larger footprint on life, like a radial tire with its fat footprint that keeps it from skidding, “…so that none of his steps will slip.” (Psalm 18:36)
Then, I’m turning over to another passage in Psalms. Let me find it here. Psalm 40, it ought to be. If you hear the pages turning, that’s because I’m turning them, haha. Psalm 40, verse 2: “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.” This is the picture of a person climbing and if you’re in the business of mountain climbing, you know that you pick your terrain very carefully. If you’re going to set a spike in the rock or in the ice formation, you’re very careful to make sure that it’s established, that it doesn’t let go. This is the concept we have here. To be established means that when you step on something, it’s not going to give way. “Set my feet upon a rock.” It’s not going to crumble under you. That of course, is a great source of confidence. When you’re walking with God, it’s not going to crumble under you. It’s not going to fall away.
My good friend Elliot Stedlebauer is still with us, having survived a massive stroke, and he still has that vivacious spirit and trust in God that makes him a testimony even in times when he’s anchored to a wheelchair. A businessman, I guess he’s now in his eighties and lives up in Toronto. Of course he can’t hear this broadcast, but he doesn’t mind if I talk about him. Years ago, he traveled with us in Youth for Christ, because he was a member of the official board and he had his business so organized so that he could take time off and go with us. On one such trip, on his way to a world congress in South America, he stopped off in Ecuador, I think it was, and was going to take a picture one morning from his hotel window. He found, however, that looking out the window, there were some telephone poles or whatever that impeded the view, and so he thought, well, I’ll just climb out on the roof. He didn’t realize that that roof was made of paper-thin material, and so he stepped upon it and promptly fell through it, falling a number of feet to the concrete below.
Well, it broke some bones in his arm and elbow, and he was badly injured. Surgery and an implant of different parts (the elbow joint was repaired) and although somewhat limited, it gave him movement of that arm once again after the weeks had passed. I visited him some months later in Toronto. I said, “Well, Elliot, how you are getting along with that arm?” “Oh,” he said, “you know what they did? I am a General Motors dealer and they put Ford parts in it and it doesn’t work.” Well, now, any of you Ford dealers don’t write me angrily and scold me. That’s what the man said just for a joke. Ah, yes. It gave way under him and that led to a fall and injury. When you are walking with God, my friend, on the road of life he says “You set my feet on a rock.” It is not going to collapse under you. When you trust God, life itself and the circumstances are not going to collapse under you. That is what we are saying. Will you believe that today and apply it in the everyday matters that you must face this very day or if you are listening tonight late at night, the things you must face tomorrow as you awaken? It won’t collapse under you, if you trust in your blessed Lord. Now, I am glad for that.
We have got to come back to the verse in Psalm 37, but right now in Proverbs 4:12 he says, “When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straightened and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Now, straightened steps are limping steps. You are not going to have to limp through life as though something was wrong with your legs. Your steps shall not be straightened, narrowed, pinched in, fenced in, limping, limited. God will enable you to walk through life with a steady pace. Don’t you like people whom, although they are under pressure, seem not to vary the emotional and spiritual pace of their lives? I know a few like that and I’d like to be like them, believe me. Not limping and not stumbling, “Thou shalt not stumble.” When God is guiding you, you don’t have to limp through life. You can walk steadily.
There is one more here, Proverbs 16 is the passage and again I turn the page, as you can hear, and it is verse 9. “A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps. “In all thy ways acknowledge him and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:6. To have God direct where you are going to step next, that is the ultimate source of confidence in life, isn’t it? How does that come about? Through prayer, commitment and faith. You take a step in faith once you are sure what God has for you to do. Someone has said the soldier of the cross has the right to remain at headquarters until he gets his marching orders. Then he can go forth into the field of battle confidently. You have a right to wait on God until you know.
When you know, then take the step of faith even though you may not have too much to go on except the command of God. You take Elijah, for example. God says, “Hide yourself by the brook Chereth, and I will feed you there.” So, the ravens brought him food morning and night and he drank of the brook. Then, the brook dried up. What is going to happen next? God says, “There is a widow in Zarephath. I am going to have her take care of you.” A widow? No money? Well, it was even worse than that. When he got there, she was preparing to starve to death. She said I have nothing in the house except a little flour, meal she called it and some oil. I am going to make a pancake with it, feed my son, and then we are going to starve to death. He said, “Fear not, do as thou hast said, but make me a little cake first,” which on the face of it seems an awful lot of nerve except that he knew in his heart that God had sent him and that God would take care. So, the container of ground meal and the container of oil, the supply, did not fail throughout that following year. They were fed, the widow, her family and the prophet because he took the step of faith and obeyed God.
The priest stood at the edge of the river Jordan as the nation was on its way into the Promised Land. What are we going to do? The river is before us. God said, “Let the priests go first and when their feet touch the water, then the waters are going to part”, and that is what happened, the step of faith in obedience. Jesus said to the blind men after he had put some homemade clay on those eyelids, “Go wash that off in the pool of Salome.” The man could have refused to do so and stayed blind. Instead he took the steps of faith. He found his way across the city to that pool and washed and came back seeing. All through the Word of God you have evidence that God asked you to obey Him and take a step of faith. Then, He proves Himself, indeed, the God of answered prayer.
Now, the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. Ordered means you have a right to determine, you know what to determine, you know when it will come to pass and you know the results of what you have determined. All of that is in the word “ordered,” and God certainly fills that definition completely, doesn’t He? “He delighteth in His way.” “I delight to do my will, O my God. Yea Thy laws are within my heart, says the Psalmist. He delighteth in His way. Now, it is one thing to say, “God, I don’t know. I don’t like this, but I will do it anyway.” I think I may have prayed that kind of prayer many times in my life, haven’t you? It is another thing to be just delighted in what God is doing in your life. Once you have committed yourself to that point of view, life becomes an adventure. It becomes an adventure and it is an adventure with deity, and you look to see what the Lord has for you. My good friend, Dr. Ed Mann, who for many years was president of Eastern Nazarene College, told me that he said somebody (though I think it was he, actually) prayed a prayer each morning upon awakening, “Good morning, Lord. What are you up to today? Please count me in on it. Amen.” Well, to be in on what God has in mind. “He delighteth in His way.” God’s way is the way of delight for you.
Now, I must say that sometimes I have even tearfully had to say, “Okay, God, I want your will.” I remember just really breaking into tears one day in the basement of the home that we lived in, in Wheaton, Illinois, because I was going through quite a struggle in this matter of “which way shall I go?” I was at a turning point in my life. I had five or six different job offers, all of which were attractive, and there were some that I really wanted, and there was one or two of which I was very much afraid. Yet, it came back again and again and again that I should be thinking about this particular one which happened to be the offer to go to the college in Briarcliff Manor, New York. This was in 1961 and the turn of ’62. I remember just crying. I don’t cry very much. I am not a bawler, but I remember bursting into tears and saying, “Oh, God, if You want me to go, I will.” At that point, I had peace in my heart, strangely. I went upstairs and told Coreen that I guess I had made my decision. She said, “Alright, dear.” I called up Bill Miller who at that time was the beloved Chairman of the Board of the college. I said, “Listen, is that deal still on? “ He said, “Yes.” Well, I said, “I guess you got yourself a man.” He said, “Well, praise the Lord.” And that was how it was. So, I have to admit that sometimes I have tearfully and with great struggle yielded to God’s will, but by-and-large having made up your mind that you want God’s will, it becomes a delight to you, doesn’t it? Yes, “He delighteth in his way.” Well, we’ll get into more of this the next time we get together.
Father God today, oh, may we just delight in Thy will and do it by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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