Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
Wise men do not let life happen to them. They act with careful thought and sober reflection. They plan and manage their lives. They choose wise goals and the means to achieve them, and they compare their progress to them. Other than rare acts of God they cannot avoid, they control and direct their circumstances to serve them, not vice versa.
Rather than bouncing from one goal or direction to another, prudent men fix their lives in one steady course. They discipline all aspects of their lives toward their chosen goals. They carefully consider every part of life. They question, evaluate, and muse upon each choice they make to keep their overall objective before them and steady progress to it.
Reader, where are you going? Ponder the path of your feet. Is getting older all you are doing? Is life happening to you, rather than you directing it? Your daily and weekly routines should have a solid purpose and noble objective. Or are you on a treadmill – in a rut – not making any progress? Step back. Ponder the path of your feet. Examine yourself (II Cor 13:5). Consider your ways (Hag 1:5). Commune with your own heart (Ps 4:4).
What does it mean to ponder? It means to weigh a matter mentally, to consider it carefully, to think about it, to muse over it, and to meditate upon it. Most are too busy with too much noise and activity to stop and think soberly about their lives. Instead of musing, they seek amusements – activities designed to stop all thinking. Instead of self- and life-examination, they chase more entertainment. Instead of thinking, they drown out internal conversation with television, movies, music, drinking, or drugs. What folly!
Instead of quiet time to reflect on their lives, they have radios in their cars, televisions in their homes, and cell phones in their pockets. “God is not in all his thoughts” (Ps 10:4). They do not know where they are going, why they are going in a certain direction, or the consequences of it. They are victims of circumstances rather than managers of them. They are foolish and will be punished as surely as gravity causes things to fall downward.
But wisdom cries, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah” (Ps 4:4). “I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search” (Ps 77:6). “But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Hab 2:20). These are the activities of wise and holy men.
It is the fool who lives without thinking, walks without meditating, and chooses his path without pondering. Christians are called to walk circumspectly – examining their path from all angles! Only by this discipline can they understand and apply God’s will to their lives (Eph 5:15-17). It is your duty to make straight paths for your feet (Heb 12:13).
Another error keeps men from pondering their lives – most of their pondering is about others! It is the wicked, self-righteous hypocrite that ponders the lives of others instead of his own. He comforts himself in his sins by trying to identify as many as possible in others (Luke 18:9-14). Jesus condemned worrying about the mote in another person’s eye while you have barn beams in your own. This activity is the opposite of self-examination, and it proves a person to be the opposite of the righteous and wise – it proves him a fool.
What should you ponder? Are you walking with God and growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ? Are you bearing much spiritual fruit? Are you forgiving, loving, and serving all others to keep the second commandment? Is your marriage what it should be? Do you have activities in your life that create temptation and lead to sin? Are you single minded for the kingdom of God? Do you live with eternity in view? If you were to die today, would Jesus Christ find you in the way of righteousness?
Is your life leading toward the holy objective of pleasing Jesus Christ? Does your path on Sundays include a faithful church where all doctrine and practice matches the Scriptures? Are your priorities consistent with those Solomon lists in this book? Do you read, meditate, pray, and sing in private on a regular basis? Ponder the path of your feet.
Father, have you pondered the path your wife and children are taking? It is your duty before God to lead, guide, and correct them into the right way of the fear of the Lord (Ps 34:11). The true measure of your duty and love is to prepare and perfect them to meet the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you helping them keep their feet in the pathway of righteousness?
What keeps you from pondering the path of your feet? Whatever it is, it is not worth the danger of wandering out of the way of understanding and ending up in the congregation of the dead (Pr 21:16). “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Pr 14:12; 16:25). And reader, if you do not ponder your ways, the LORD is pondering them, especially your sexual ways (Pr 5:21). Do not neglect or forget this sacred duty to ponder your feet!
God Jehovah of the Bible calls you like He did Abraham. “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Gen 17:1). Will you answer the call?
If you answer this call, the LORD will send you visible and invisible teachers. “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Is 30:21). Do you obey your teachers?
The psalmist said, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies” (Ps 119:59). Reader, will you join the psalmist in this frequent duty of pondering your life? “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD” (Lam 3:40). Make it a part of your daily exercise in prayer (Ps 139:23-24).
Your flesh, the world, and Satan will daily lay snares in the way. You will face many even today. They will try to tempt and trap you in your thoughts, in your speech, in your relationships, in your job, and everywhere else. It is your duty to consider your ways carefully and avoid those snares. It is your duty to turn away, quickly, from every tempting and threatening situation (Pr 4:14-15; Rom 13:14; II Tim 2:22).
After pondering the path of your feet, it is your duty to fix and secure all your ways in the fear of the Lord. How do you identify the fear of the Lord for your life? By the Holy Scriptures! They are the lamp for your feet and the light for your path (Ps 119:105). The sure rock of Christ’s sayings must be the foundation of your house (Matt 7:24-27; II Pet 1:19-21). Establish – fix and settle permanently – all your ways in the Lord. And the grace of God is able to bless you toward this glorious life (I Pet 5:10; I Thess 3:12-13).
True disciples, the true children of God, continue in the word of Christ (John 8:31). They are not moved away from the hope of the gospel, but rather continue in the faith grounded and settled (Col 1:23). And it is by this confident and established perseverance in the truth that you show you are the true brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb 3:6,14).