The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. – Psalm 32:27
In this passage, the author notes that the steps or direction of a “good” man are ordered by God. Accordingly, the verse that follows on states that though the person may fall (fail), he won’t be cast down (tossed aside). The LORD will uphold him with his hand.
As a veteran, I am one who remembers what it means to take orders. You get direction from a superior who has advanced knowledge of the situation and then assigns you a mission to complete. As a soldier, it is not your duty to question why the order was given or to decipher the contents of the order, but your function is to carry out the order. The story of the Roman army officer, whose servant was will and was healed by Jesus merely as the giving of the spoken Word, shows us the power of giving and taking orders. He tells Jesus that he is a man under authority and trusts that his orders, when given to his subordinates, will be carried out as given.
I must confess that there have been many times in my life when I jumped the gun, if you will, and proceeded to do things on my own rather than wait upon the Lord’s direction. I failed to heed the Word of the Lord, as spoken by David, to be still and know that God is God (Ps. 46:10). David also said in the 37th Psalm that we should be still in God’s presence and wait patiently for him to act (NLT).
Many people never get past there current situation because they refuse to act upon God’s Word in faith and fail to achieve or accomplish the mission. They allow fear of failure to hold them back and serve as a stumbling block of which they never seem to overcome. They become stymied by the distractions of this world and never progress. Others go to the opposite extreme, as I have done, and go hard-charging into battle on their own without the protection and provision of God. They failed to wait and receive the proper orders to engage in combat and ended up stepping on a land mine, which took them out of action spiritually and caused them to blame God for their demise.
I had never looked at this verse in Ps 37 as I have today. My pastor taught on three roadblocks to breakthrough: (1) unconfessed sin, (2) unforgiveness, and (3) uncommitted to the Lord’s ways. He began taking steps across a model bridge on the platform (to be used for future illustrated messages) and quoted this verse from Psalm 37. As he took each step and said that the steps of good person are “ORDERED” of God, the Spirit revealed to me that a “good” soldier only acts upon the orders given. For example, the US Army’s first general order is that a soldier will NEVER leave his post until properly relieved, to do so would lead to disciplinary action up to and including incarceration or even death in times of combat.
I had to think, “God, I’ve taken many steps to achieve what I perceived was my mission but never really received the definitive order from you to head out and make that mission happen.” I felt like Abram did after he took it upon himself to fulfill God’s plan for his future progeny and sired Ishmael rather than wait upon God to provide the miracle of Isaac. Abram was plagued with the wild actions of his elder son, who would go on to be trouble for the whole world, especially the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the Jews! When I set out on my own to do the will of God I perceived in my life ( but had not gotten authority from God to do so), I got myself entangled in some deep messes, which required God’s provision to get me out of the mire.
Therefore, I know that God has spoken to me today about following orders only when they are given. It can be a dangerous thing to take on a mission when the Head of the Lord’s armies hasn’t given the order for that mission. Yes, there are standing orders, general orders, in God’s Word that we are to carry out daily, like the Great Commission. We don’t have to ask God for permission to do these kinds of things, yet we need to be careful that we don’t embark upon a mission that would otherwise require his authorization.
Father, or should I say Commander-in-Chief, I hear your order for today. You’ve told me to take all direction from the tower, just as I did on the firing range in the army. The firing range of life is full of live ammunition that can be useful tool in defeating the enemy or can be a lethal tool that can snipe fellow soldiers. I don’t want to step out of line anymore or assume command for myself. You are my Father and my Superior. You know better than I what mission is required for each day’s agenda. Thus, I will trust in your might and your Spirit to lead me and guide. When you order me to go there or elsewhere, then and only then will I move. I’ve come to the knowledge and understanding that your omniscience outweighs everything else. You see the land mines of life long before I even know they are there. You see the buried IEDs that could maim or kill someone. I don’t want to be a statistic in the journey of life because I decided to run headlong into battle without the proper military posture or equipment. My life depends on it. Thank you for leading me and for loving me. I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.