“Before I was afflicted I went astray.” Psalm 119:67 NIV
What types of events might you find yourself preparing for? Perhaps it’s a musical performance, teaching a class, taking a test, promoting a product, making a speech, or running in a marathon. At one time or another we have all experienced a time of preparation. If we prepared well, we likely did well in the event, however if our preparation time was lax, our performance probably showed the effort. I remember a piano recital where I did not give my best. Truthfully, I didn’t even give 50% of my best. I was a teenager, and I was consumed with the object of my current affection; piano recitals weren’t really a priority. Over a decade later and I still remember that day, what a humiliation! It was a dreadful performance to say the least, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there! I was too focused on what I thought was more important. It may have taken several years for me to learn my lesson, but God has drilled it into my heart that when it comes to musical performance, I can never be “too” prepared.
“…I went astray…” vs. 67
This word should be translated “to sin ignorantly”. We’re talking about a major lack of preparation. To keep our feet on the path planned for us we need to prepare for the journey. We must know the word of God in order to follow it! If we do not know the word well, we will come under affliction, or discipline, until we have learned what is necessary to mature.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
We prepare for life by memorizing the word, storing its truth in our hearts to be ready for spiritual warfare, sickness, doubt, discouragement, confusion, or any other arrow hurled our way.
Our natural inclination:
“All of us like sheep have strayed away. We have left God’s path to follow our own.” Isaiah 53:6
We prepare for the journey by studying the word of God and being able to discern what’s “good” from what’s “best”. We need to know the difference between a counterfeit happiness and a true joy. We want to stay on God’s path, because our own path will inevitably lead to personal pain as well as pain for those around us.
“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Humility and fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:3-4
Wisdom foresees temptation and has discernment; humility brings true wealth in God’s economy which leads to the life God intended us to have!
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
When we are ignorant in the word we will stray from the path He made for us. We will fall into error and we will be disciplined (Hebrews 12:6) by our loving Father until we return to the life he designed us for. This doesn’t mean that every “bad” thing that happens is a result of our ignorance, or sin. There is a whole book in the Bible dedicated to this common misconception (Job). However when we do find ourselves in trials, tests, and difficulties we should take that time to make sure our feet are on the path they are meant to be on. We must ask God to search our hearts and make sure we have not wandered away, chasing after a counterfeit happiness. Are we on God’s “best” path, or just our own “good” path?
The Psalmist was thankful for the affliction that brought him back to God’s path, and back in line with where he needed to be spiritually. He declared
“…now I obey your word.” vs. 67
Let us never find that our sin was caused by ignorance of God’s plan for our lives. His will is laid out in his word; it’s our responsibility to be prepared.
Thank you for your word that guides my path! Thank you for designing a perfect plan for me and loving me enough to discipline me when I wander from your directions. Lead me to the truth that you would have me hide in my heart and help prepare me for the battles ahead. Give me wisdom and discernment that I might not ignorantly sin against you.