To further expand on my first story on “walking the path”, I found more notes on a lesson we had while climbing Mt. Katarina in Egypt. We discussed the word, life, or to live, being the Hebrew word halak (Strong’s 1980), which is to walk. If life is a walk, then there must be a path to walk on, and obviously more than one path. So there are some choices of path to be made. Just in the book of Deuteronomy, I found five references to walking the correct path, or the Lord’s path (5:32 and 33, 6:7, 8:6, 10:12 and 13, 11:19, 11:22, and 26:17). Deuteronomy 5:32-33 says it the best. “Do not turn to the right or left” — walk in the way that God has commanded you. Also Jeremiah 6:16 says “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it” — so it is definitely saying, it’s a choice to walk on God’s path.
Psalm 23 says, “He guides me in paths of righteousness”, Psalm 25:4 says, “teach me your paths”, Psalm 27:11, “lead me in a straight path”, 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”, Proverbs 3:6 – “…he will make your paths straight”, and 4:26 “Make level paths for your feet”. Isaiah 2: 3, “…so that we may walk in his paths.” The idea of the path being life in the Bible is everywhere. He wants us on His path, the path of life.
We had a guide on our trip up the mountain so that we wouldn’t get lost. In the same way, the word is our guide, (Psalm 119:105), so that we don’t lose our way. Scripture is also full of examples that God is our guide in life and in fact walks with us on the path.
In Genesis, God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. Genesis 5:24 says Enoch walked with God and Hebrews 11:5 said Enoch pleased God. In Genesis 17:1 God told Abraham to “walk before me and be blameless”.
A great example of how the phrase “to walk” or walking is used in the Bible is found in the New Testament in the Gospels. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, he said, “Behold, look, the Lamb of God”. The Greek word for (coming) there is actually,” walking”. If you use that like a Jew would have, when he saw how Jesus was walking, or how he was living, then he knew he must be the Messiah. How Jesus was walking (living) convinced John that he was the Messiah.
When you walk, does anyone see Jesus in your walk? Does your walk have a familiar Jesus look to it? We are to imitate the walk that Jesus walked. 1 John 2:6 says we must walk as Jesus did. It’s not just enough to know the path; even the devil knows the path. But do we know how to walk it and are we traveling it with passion?
The picture of life as a path is also good in that it gives the idea that it’s not always easy walking. Life is not a paved sidewalk. It has some steep inclines and there are plenty of rocks in the way. There are little stones, things that are annoying and cause you some problems, but don’t stop you. Then there are bigger stones, you lose your job, you kids have problems, etc. Then there are the huge stones that bring you to your knees and you’re not sure if there’s even a way over them. The huge problems of life such as death, disease, children leaving the faith, are problems that there is no way over or around. What does God do about the huge boulders in our path? Psalm 81, says if you are on my path, I will satisfy you with honey from the rock. The same rock that brought you to your knees has enough of God in it to give you a taste to take one more step. We know God most intimately during these huge rock moments. When you hit the rock there will be a taste of God to get you through. Only make sure you are on his path, because the promise of honey is only good if you are on the correct path. One other thought is to be careful when you ask for honey; God may put it in a rock.
The last metaphor on the path of life is to leave it in better shape than you found it. These paths are thousands of years old and have been walked by many saints before. Their job and ours is to make the path a little cleaner, a little easier to find for the next person to follow us down the path. Paths are kept clean by walking them, if not they get overgrown.
The desert and its paths are a great picture of life — they are tough and sometimes the conditions are harsh, but they have a beauty all their own. Life is certainly much more like the desert than it is Hawaii, which we have a tendency to make believers think that’s where they’re going after they become a Christian.