Ordered Steps

Seek God and delight yourself in doing good for His glory--He promises that your steps will be firmly planted in Him the whole time.

Scripture: Psalm 37:23, Psalm 18:36


Alright, thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright today? Well, I’m glad to be back with you and just to share with you from the Word of God. Somebody sent me the classic poem by Edgar Guest; you must have it in your own library: “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day; rather one would walk with me than merely show the way. The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear; some counseling is confusing, but example’s always clear. And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds; to see the good in action is what everybody needs.” Well, thank you, radio friend, for sending along that classic verse by Edgar Guest.

He would never be known as one of the great poets, per se, but he wrote things that touch the heart, and that are, in their homespun fashion, very practical. I guess that’s what I want to be remembered for; that what I said could be used by people. I pray every day when I prepare to face these microphones, that God may say through me, lovingly, surely, but effectively, things that you can use.

We’re looking at Psalm 37, and we’ve come to verse 23: a verse that I have often used when I prayed, reminding God about it: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delighteth in His way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.” Ordered steps. What a blessed concept. Now, you have to realize that there’s nobody good but God. Jesus said so. But you and I may take this promise and apply it if we are trusting the Lord Jesus Christ because He is our righteousness. Any goodness there is in Him, we take by faith. “Christ is made unto us,” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1, “wisdom, righteousness,” (that’s where the concept of goodness comes in) “sanctification and redemption.” The Lord Jesus Christ is all I need; I can take it by faith. And that includes, then, this Biblical concept of goodness. His goodness, his righteousness, is mine by faith because He bought it for me at Calvary’s cross with His precious blood.

That’s the background, then, of coming to a verse like Psalm 37:23 and claiming it for one’s self. Are you, indeed, committed to Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior? Have you opened your life to Him, and is He now, by his Holy Spirit, dwelling within you? If that be true, then you can say, “This verse is for me, because Jesus is all the goodness I need.”

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” What does it mean to order things? Number one, it means you have the right to say what’s going to happen. Number two, it means that you can schedule what’s going to happen. Number three, it means you can determine when it’s going to happen. And number four, you can determine the results of what happens. All of this is true of our blessed Lord. Steps are ordered by the Lord.

I wonder if you dare to believe that in terms of everyday ordinary circumstances. I’ve often told the young people at the college during those years which I served as President, “Pray through the little things. Pray, as you go in between classes, something other than, ‘Lord, don’t let him call on me today.’ Pray before you start a casual conversation in the hallway. Pray before you go on a date. Pray before you make a decision. Pray before you start your homework; God will sharpen your wits and oil up the wheels of your mind. Pray before you answer the phone; you don’t know who’s on the other end of the wire. Pray before you open a letter; you don’t know whether it’s a check or a bill. There is a difference, as you know. Pray before you decide on a job, on a career, on a curriculum, on a major in college, on a life companion. Pray before you make the big and little decisions of life.”

The steps are ordered by the Lord. Tell me something; would you be willing to take a whole day and actively trust God? I don’t mean passively, and say, “Well, it’ll turn out alright.” That’s fatalism. I mean actively trust God, moment by moment, praying your way through the day, just committing yourself to Him step by blessed step. Oh, the day will be a miracle instead of a mess. You try it.

The Bible has a few things to say about the steps that God is involved in. Job said, “He’s numbered all my steps, and certainly, then, He knows about all my sins.” Job 14, verse 16, let me find it. “Now, thou numberest my steps. Dost Thou not watch over my sin? Now, then, each step has an individual number. Can you conceive of that? Well, Jesus said the hairs of your head are all numbered, that’s even more. In the case of some of us, it’d be a very simple matter…not much left. But Jesus said the hairs of your head are all numbered. Job remarks that God has numbered His steps. Step number one, step number three-thousand, four-hundred and sixty-five, whatever it is. God knows which step is next.

Now why I’m bringing this up is that it becomes a source of great comfort and confidence when you commit every step to the Lord: every decision, every turning of life’s roadway. Why? Because the steps are numbered; He’s got them planned out. Business has learned; they call this the system of planning. What’s the acronym for it? PERT, isn’t it? Where you plan ahead by numbered steps? You start at the idea of what it is you wish to achieve, by when, and then you work backwards with the steps that must be taken in order to get there. You put a time frame on each of those procedural steps. They’re all numbered. Business has learned how to do that. Well, God was doing it long ago.

And so, you and I need to have reference to God’s goals for us. When you read the Bible, read in terms of, “What is God telling me He wants to do?” You see, if you get in tune with what God is thinking about (remember, the prophet said, ‘Can two walk together unless they be agreed?’) and the goals He has for you, then you’ll find that life makes sense and that the steps you take are indeed part of His blessed numerical order. Steps are numbered. Quite a concept, isn’t it?

Pay attention to God’s goals and then take the steps toward those goals by faith and let Him number them. Then, of course, He goes a step farther in Job 31, verse 4: “Doth He not see my ways and count all my steps?” It’s one thing to number them, it’s another to count them. God does reckon the quantities of life. Over in the Old Testament, you find phrases like, “Their cup of iniquity is full.” God waited hundreds of years before judging certain nations. The command that God gave to King Saul, to attack the Amalekites, was not a whimsical divine vindictive command, but was the final step of a patient God who had waited for hundreds of years and against whom these people had consistently rebelled with their idolatry and their cruelty.

He’s counted all my steps, which tells me that God is actively involved in my day-to-day schedule. It’s one thing to assign a number to something, it’s another thing to follow it up. Early on, in learning a little bit about management, I learned that you don’t delegate and forget, you delegate and then follow up. You set with your co-worker a time by which you are going to look at the work to see how it’s going on. This matter of counting your steps tells me that God hasn’t gone away and forgotten about me. He’s on the job and controlling what’s happening!

Well, isn’t this good? I’m turning over to Psalm 18, where you have a little different concept, and it’s so interesting to me. Psalm 18, verse 36. He said, “Thou hast enlarged my steps under me that my feet did not slip. Do any of you men understand about radial tires? Ladies, I presume many of you do as well; I don’t mean to downplay your intelligence, bless your hearts. But radial tires are supposed to have a larger footprint on the road because of the way the tire is built, and thus it becomes less likely to skid, either in rainy or snowy and icy conditions. An enlarged footprint of the radial tires on your car is something that the tire manufacturers advertise. You can recall seeing ads that talk about that.

Now here’s the psalmist: “Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.” It’s the difference between walking in ordinary shoes in two feet of snow or walking on top of the snow with snowshoes, or gliding along with skis: a larger imprint upon the place where you’re stepping. “Thou hast enlarged my steps.” You’re not going to skid. “None of his steps shall slide,” it says in the Bible: non-skid walking with God. Oh, listen, that’s a great privilege, isn’t it, when you walk with your Lord? He’s going to see to it that you don’t slip on the icy pavements of life. We’ll go on with this the next time we get together.

Father God, today, Oh keep us walking with Thee. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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