One of the neat metaphors we begin to see as we walked the wadiis (arroyos or canyons) of the Egyptian desert was the concept of walking the path of life.
First of all, we learned that to a Hebrew, life is a walk. The word that is often translated in the Bible as live, in Hebrew, (halak) is really “walk”. 1st Peter 2:12 says, “Live such good lives among the pagans that they will see your good deeds”. The word, “live” in that verse is the Hebrew word for walk. Hebrews don’t say live, like we do, it’s experiential, they say, walk like we walk – live it out. 2 Corinthians 5:7 – we live by faith, not by sight, is also actually the verb in Hebrew “to walk“. So life to them is a path that you must walk. It’s experiential, much more so than the word live, indicates. If life is a walk, there must be a path or more than on and there must be some choices in what path to follow. To summarize, life is a path that must be consciously followed and there are many choices to make in order to walk it out properly.
One metaphor that mirrors life’s walk, that we noticed while hiking, was that often you can’t see very far ahead of you. The trail goes around the bend and the path is not in sight. You have to trust whoever is leading you that you are on the right path, thus “We walk by faith, not by sight.” And God promises, “if you are following me, I’ll be around the next bend, even though you can’t see me from where you are now”. He may be around the bend in the form of a broom or acacia tree, a place for you to get some shade from the heat, or he may be a spring of water for a drink.
The Old Testament actually does not talk about heaven that much. We are supposed to walk (live) hard for God now, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick – walk hard now then at the end will be heaven. You can expand on this metaphor a lot more. Look at these verses.
Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
— Isaiah 2:3 [Emphasis mine]
This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
— Jeremiah 6:16 [Emphasis mine]
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
— 1 Peter 2:12
For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
— Romans 1:17 [Emphasis mine]
Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”
— Galatians 3:11 [Emphasis mine]
But my righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him.”
— Hebrews 10:38 [Emphasis mine]
“See, he is puffed up;
his desires are not upright-
but the righteous will live by his faith
— Habakkuk 2:4 [Emphasis mine]
So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left
— Deuteronomy 5:32 (indicating that you are on a path)
Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him.
— Deuteronomy 8:6 [Emphasis mine]
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
— Micah 6:8 [Emphasis mine]
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
— Deuteronomy 10:12, 13 [Emphasis mine]