“He guides me along right paths…” (Psalm 23:3)
God’s guidance in and for our lives is based on our relationship with Him. As our relationship grows we learn to trust Him and to identify his voice by experience. But the challenge in receiving guidance is not just one of identifying the right voice. It includes finding the right path.
In Bible times paths could be created one of three ways. One way a path could be created was by normal foot traffic. As people used the path over and over, the terrain would be trodden down in a way that could be identified. Other paths weren’t paths at all. They appeared to be paths but were nothing more than patterns etched in the sand by wind. Following those etchings could lead one to dead ends or walking about in circles. The final kind of path was the false path created by robbers who attempted to lead the flock into an ambush where they could steal the sheep. It took a wise and experienced shepherd to guide the sheep along right path so they could safely reach their destination.
Finding the right path was not merely a matter of direction. When David described “paths of righteousness,” he was adding a moral value to God’s guidance. God is not just concerned about us being in the right place, He’s also concerned with right living. Not every decision in life is about “where will I be?” or “how much will I have?” Yes, we are primarily concerned about matters of location and vocation. That’s important, but not ultimately important. God is more concerned about the kind of persons we are becoming. What we are is always more important than where we are and what we have.