Jump Start # 1954
Psalms 37:23 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his ways.”
The King James Version adds a word in this passage. I believe the word is necessary and defines an important thought for us. In the KJV, the passage reads, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…” It’s not any man or every man, but a good man. The ending of this verse helps us to see that. There it says, “He delights in his ways.” He and his. It’s important to know who the He is and who the his is. He is God. His, is the good man. God delights in the steps of a good man. God doesn’t delight in the steps of every man. Some steps are in sin. Some steps are in the opposite direction of the Lord. God delights in righteousness. The steps of a good man are the steps laid out by the Lord. They are “established,” or, “ordered,” by the Lord.
Many powerful thoughts for us:
First, there is a way that God wants us to walk in. There are steps to be taken. This journey is illustrated throughout the Bible. We are to walk by faith. We are to walk in the light. We are to imitate God. We are to be perfect as He is perfect. We are forgive as He has forgiven us. We are conformed to the image of Jesus. He leads us to green pastures and calm waters. He leads, we follow. God has not left us on our own to find Him. We probably couldn’t do it on our own. The life that God wants us to live is not fluid, changing and evolving. It’s not different for each person. It’s not different for each generation. The steps of a good man are established by the Lord. They are set. God has determined this way. I am the Way, Jesus said. It’s a matter of following the Lord. It comes down to obeying the Lord. My form of Christianity shouldn’t be any different than yours. Saying, “I believe differently than you do,” is no ok. It’s not my way nor your way. It’s not how I see it or how you see it. It’s not how I think it ought to be, nor, how you think it ought to be. God has established a path and we are to follow that. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. They are established. The path has been made. God made it. We are not trail blazers for the Lord. We are not cutting new roads in the wilderness, as the pioneers did. We are following what is already there. We are following the Lord.
Second, the basis of being good is following the Lord. We miss that today. We call anyone who is nice to us, “good.” He’s a good neighbor. He’s a good friend. He’s a good person. Our definition of goodness is kindness, niceness and has very little to do with faith and God. People are called “good,” who never go to worship. And, so, in their thinking, How could God send good people to Hell? That’s troubling for them. It doesn’t make sense to them. But they have begun with an assumption that doesn’t stand. They are calling people “good” who are not following the Lord. They are not walking in the way that God has established. We call them “good,” but does God? As our verse ends, does God delight in those who are lawless or indifferent to Him. They may want to worship God, but it’s the way that they want to worship. They may want to do things that God doesn’t like. They are not content to walk on the path that God established. Goodness is for those who bring God delight. This is done by walking in the way God has established. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.
Third, the steps of a good man, one who is walking with the Lord, leaves footprints for others to follow. This is important to me. You and I are leaving impressions, examples and footprints for others. I knew a man who left one congregation for another one. He had worshipped at the first congregation for several years. He left. He wasn’t happy. Knowing this person and knowing that church, I ask, “What good did he do while he was there?” What impressions did he leave? How did he help the church? And the answer to those questions are “nothing.” He brought nothing. He added nothing. He did nothing. He never got involved. He never had folks in his home. He never invited others. He came once in a while when he felt like it. He never got close or connected to others. His leaving wasn’t a surprise, and what’s worse, his departure wasn’t felt. He, like the one talent man in Matthew 25, did nothing.
That is concerning and disturbing to me. One doesn’t have to do public things to leave footprints of encouragement, hope and love. One ought to be missed when they are no longer there. Some have the concept of worship, like going to a movie. I pay to go to a movie. I hope no one sits next to me. When I’m done, I leave and I don’t talk to anyone. I’m there just for the movie. I have been to some movies where I am the only one in the entire room. That’s not the way worship should be. That’s not our view of church. We connect. We give. We share. We serve. We help. We leave footprints. We leave examples.
The good man who has been walking with the Lord not only brings delight to God, as our passage says, but he has left footprints for others to follow. People will know that a good man has been here. Some can just light up a congregation by their warm and infectious smiles and hugs. Some are that solid rock. They are calm when everyone else is unsure. They always seem to know the right passage and say it in the right way. Others lead. They are very visible. Some are the backbone. Steady. Sure. Faithful. But all of these folks, are walking in the ways of the Lord. All of them have mastered that concept of being a servant. All of them are leaving footprints. One could tell that a good man has been here.
That brings us to us. Am I living that way? Do I have the connections, the influence and the heart that others see the footprints I am leaving? Or, is it possible, I could leave and someone would ask, “What did he ever do for the church?”
Finally, the steps of a good man brings joy to God. Here is a man who sees through the clutter of the world and the call to be unique, different and selfish, and he simply follows the steps of the Lord. Where the steps of the Lord take him, is where he will go. He follows the Lord. His steps are established. His steps are ordered. This journey not only pleases God, but it adds value and hope to a broken world. This journey ends not at death, but in the presence of God. Here is a person who the Lord says, “Well, done.” Here is one, like Paul, who finishes the course and keeps the faith. More money could have been made had he been dishonest. But he chose to walk with the Lord. He could have spent his Sundays on the golf course or out boating, but he chose to spend it with God’s people in worship of the Lord. He has not promoted himself. He has not closed his heart to others. He has opened his home, his wallet, his schedule and his heart for others. He has put the kingdom before himself. He has followed the Lord. His life has not been perfect nor without mistakes and sins. But he tries with all that is in him to please the Lord. More than anything else, he wants to be in Heaven with God.
God delights in such a good man. He has decided to follow the Lord. What a wonderful life that has been. He has been blessed. And, when he leaves this place, his departure will be noticed and felt by other good people. The ways of the Lord are right and he has given his life to please the Lord.
The steps of a good man…