Faith and Grace
January 6, 2013
Life-Giving Words
January 8, 2013
Faith and Grace
January 6, 2013
Life-Giving Words
January 8, 2013

Hiking Through Life with the Psalmist Part 1

My wife and I like to hike and do so every chance we get. We particularly like to walk in the North Georgia Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Every time I hike in the great outdoors, it reminds of how much life is like a hike. John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress was about Christian’s hike from this world to the next. Life is a hike. I’m sure the Psalmist did a lot of walking especially in his early life as a shepherd. Many of the Psalms reflect the nature of the hike.

Preparation

When I plan a new hike, I read the books and look at the maps of the area. I read about the terrain, the obstacles, the sites, and especially about the places where I could go astray. Crossing trails, forks in the trail and dead ends all can lead to a hiking disaster. Being prepared is important.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

God’s Word is the map for the hike in life. Its counsel keeps me on the trail. Going off the trail is dangerous. In staying on the path, there is safety. When I approach a fork in the trail, I get out my map so I can make the correct decision. When I see an old chimney of a settler long gone, I get out my book and see if its known who lived in the abandoned house. I think about the struggles that the settler went through to set up a home in the forest. I wonder why he no longer has any family living there. Life is constantly changing; however, the Word gives stability through the daily trials of the trails.

Teach me thy way, O LORD,
and lead me in a plain path… (Psalm 27:11)

I like a clear clean path—a trail that is plainly marked. Some trails are marked with colored blazes. The famous Appalachian Trail is marked with approximately 165,000 two inch by six inch vertical white paint blazes. They have placed a double blaze, one above the other, before turns, junctions, or other areas that require hikers to be alert.

I’ve been on some trails, which haven’t been so plainly marked, nad rarely used trails overgrow with grass and worse—tip toeing through the poison Ivy.

Look for the signs. On one hike, we ignored the fact that a few small branches were lying across the path. A trail continued until it became impassable and dangerous. We backtracked and found those few branches were warning that the trail turned and crossed a stream.

Life’s path sometimes is overgrown and it’s easy to lose direction. That’s when I always open the book and make sure I’m still on the right pathway.

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments;
for therein do I delight.
(Psalm 119:35)