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Lead me in a level path
Psalm 27:11-13 We should never despair in this life no matter how rough it becomes, because we will see the goodness of the Lord in the next life.
“Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes. Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.”
Psalms 27:11-13 NASB1995
It is fortuitous that God is pointing me towards the Psalms of David and Asaph, because every time I read a psalm, I feel as if it was written specifically to teach me a lesson.
One commentary I use for guidance on these psalms titled Psalm 27 “The Seeking, Waiting Life Rewarded”. Throughout Scripture we are reminded that patience is always rewarded by the Lord, although the present time may not seem to be all that rewarding.
Here, David is making a simple prayer asking for guidance — “teach me Your way, O Lord”. How many times have you or I struggled in prayer to ask the Lord to set us straight, to give us the wisdom we need to place us on a level path? David knew exactly the six words to ask God for His help! If I were ever to get a tattoo (which I won’t), I think these six words inked on my hand where I could see them at a glance would be perfect.
Next, David asks to be led on a level path, a smooth and flat place where he can stand securely against the upheavals of this life. He wants the path to be one he can travel on without having places for his enemies (which were many!) to hide in wait. He has had false witnesses rise against him, many who would love nothing more than to attack and destroy David and his nation.
Is David despairing? No - he says that he would have “unless I would have believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” That’s a strange statement, but David realizes that God will find a way to show His goodness in this life and in the next. Some commentators believe that David was specifically talking about the life to come when he mentioned the land of the living.
17th-century theologian Richard Baxter was quoted by Charles H. Spurgeon as saying that we live in the land of the dying;
“in which there are more dead than living, more under ground than above it; where the earth is fuller of graves than houses; where life lies trembling under the hand of death; and where death hath power to tyrannise over life! No, my soul, there only is the land of the living where there are none but the living; where there is a church, not militant, but triumphant; a church indeed, but no church-yard, because none dead, nor none that can die; where life is not passive, nor death active; where life sits crowned, and where death is swallowed up in victory.”1
David truly believed that he would “see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living,” as all believing Christians should. Like David, we should never despair in this life no matter how rough it becomes, because we will see the goodness of the Lord in the next life.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Lord, teach me Your ways and guide me along the level path for my life. Without You, my feet would stumble and I would fall. To You go all of my praise, all of the glory, for all of my days in this mortal life. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org.
Baxter, Richard. Cited in Spurgeon, Charles Haddon "The Treasury of David: Volume 1" (Psalms 1-57) (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1988)