Last week we looked at having feet of clay, this week we are looking at walking the path and avoiding all the traps and snares that are out there to keep us from reaching our purpose and the week thereafter we will look at standing firm on shaky ground.
When you have sorted out your feet of clay, you need to start to walk the talk. Let us look what David said as he was fleeing from Saul.
6 They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.
7 My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
As soon as you are back on your feet, the enemy will try so many things to catch you, to get you down again. They will entrap you, with a net or in shackles. Here we get the one clue as to how to overcome these attacks: Keep your heart steadfast and Sing to God.
What are these typical things that can ensnarl us?
Though people tried to bribe me,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
through what your lips have commanded.
5 My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not stumbled.
6 I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
People will try to bribe you. That is an act of dishonesty – people will try to make you dishonest. Dishonesty is definitely one of the traps to get you from the good road. God’s Word keeps you from the paths of the destroyer, He makes your footstep not to slip. Pray to God.
The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
Wicked nations will fall into the pit – don’t form part of that – don’t conform to the world – you will be trapped before you know it.
Keep me safe, Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent,
who devise ways to trip my feet.
Something else that can trap you is people around you who is violent. Keep away from people who show physical or verbal violence.
May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
Prideful people around you can also snare you in the comparison trap – it will not help you to try and keep up. Another passage that talk about the proud – in one translation it replaces the word arrogant with prideful.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Who else is out to get you?
5 Those who flatter their neighbors
are spreading nets for their feet.
6 Evildoers are snared by their own sin,
but the righteous shout for joy and are glad
Be careful for manipulators. People who will flatter you, but want to get you to do something for them without asking you directly. This is very subtle, but be aware. Again here we see the way to get out of the trap – Shout for joy and be glad. Not the normal thing to do when you feel trapped – but you will see how many times this idea of singing comes up. We have seen it in the Ps 57 passage and now in the Proverbs 29 passage.
2 Desire without knowledge is not good—
how much more will hasty feet miss the way!
Not learning to have a quiet, restful life, can ensnarl you so quickly and you can loose your footing, you can miss the path.
Not that you know what to look out for, it is time to look at ways to keep you on the path.
As with feet of clay, it is important to keep on reading the Word. In the Ps 17 passage earlier David said he holds steadfast to the paths of the Lord – where else than in the Word will you find the steps of His path? We see the same principles in Ps 119
Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
Another specific example is to follow in the steps of Jesus (which you will also find in the Word).
Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
1 Sam 2:9
He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.
“It is not by strength that one prevails;
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[c] paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
Ponder the path, do not turn right or left. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Then the third aspect is one I have touched on already: singing and praising God.
8 Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
Give glory to the Lord your God
before he brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble
on the darkening hills.
In summary: When you are back on your feet, look out for the culture around you, everyone who does not follow in the right paths, do not be conformed to the world, stay honest, stay away from violent people and manipulators.
Stay strong by studying the Word of God, follow in Jesus’s footsteps and continually praising Him and giving Him glory.
I found a few places in the old Testament (Deut 8:3-4, Deut 29:5 Neh 9:21) where God reminded Israel at the time during travelling through the desert after their release from Egypt. He reminded them that He kept their feet from swelling. I thought that an odd thing that God specifically reminded them of that. I understood the part where God reminded them that their clothes did not perish, but I could not totally grasp the swollen feet part. Until I read the book: Man’s search for meaning, by Victor Frankl. He shared how their feet were swollen from edema during the German rule in the Nazi concentration camps – it seems it was caused by mall nutrition. If the Israelites in the desert did not get good nourishment, their feet would have swollen. God has reminded His people on how well He fed them during that time that their feet did not swell. Thousands years later, the Jews were not spared from swollen feet. Bad things does happen to good people. Sometimes God will intervene, sometimes not. The story of Victor Frankl just proved to me again, that no matter what the circumstances, you must still find hope in God, you can still praise Him and be thankful for what you have. Victor Frankl survived. One of the reasons of his survival was that he was grateful for even the smallest things during that horrific time.
Let us find big and small things to be grateful for this week and praise God – that will help to keep our feet on the right paths.