Truth 4 Today 20-0424
Meditating on this verse…
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.” -Proverbs 37:23
I read the verse. Then as I thought upon it, I did what I encourage students to do. I looked at the sentence structure, looked at the verb, looked at the subject, and asked questions to determine the relationship of one word with another. I did this not because I didn’t understand the meaning of the verse, but because I wanted the truth to fill my mind, to align my thinking with God’s truth, God’s way.
It is a compound sentence, so there are TWO main ideas.
Consider the first clause.
1. Verb phrase = are ordered, that is past tense in passive voice (Meaning the action has been done to the subject).
2. Subject (What “are ordered?”) = steps Which steps? = of a good man. The prepositional phrase modifies “steps.”
3. The predicate has a prepositional: “by the Lord” (answers the question “How?” about the action [verb]). Since the prepositional phrase gives us the doer of the action, let’s put the clause in active voice, and let’s restructure the modifier of steps (prepositional phrase).
THUS: The Lord orders the good man’s steps.
Now, consider the second clause with two third person singular masculine pronouns: He, his. The first clause has two nouns that can be the antecedent(s) of these pronouns: man and God. Strictly looking at pronoun/antecedent relationship, there are four possibilities for
“He delights in his way”:
1. God delights in God’s way
2. God delights in good man’s way
3. Good man delights in good man’s way
4. Good man delights in God’s way
As I ponder the 4 possibilities, I realize they are really all possible. But which one fits this verse? There are two clues to consider.
1. Clearly the action of the first clause is being done by the Lord; therefore, we can assume that in the compound sentence, the pronoun subject of the second clause would refer the doer of action in the first clause.
2. It is further confirmed by a tip left us by the translators—the capitalization of He, making it a pronoun for deity.
THUS: The Lord orders the good man’s steps, and the Lord delights in the good man’s way.
Then my mind turned to the meaning of two words: “ordered” and “steps.”
So I opened my e-dictionary and scanned the entry for “order.” The first 9 definitions were noun definitions which I scrolled past because the word in the text has a past tense suffix and is used in the position of the main verb. The verb definitions were three.
(1) Give an authoritative direction or instruction to do something
[Hmm, God’s commandments],
(2) Request something to be made, supplied, or served
[Hmm, the exhortations in scripture],
(3) Arrange in a methodical or appropriate way
[Hmm, this is the one that spoke to me today].
I looked up “steps.” It is the subject, so I considered its noun definitions:
(1) An act or movement of putting one leg in from to the other in walking running [Okay… that means I’m in motion, not standing still]
(2) A flat surface, especially one in a series, on which to place one’s foot which leads from one level to another [Ah! This one leads to metaphorical thinking about steps that are ordered by God.]
(3) A measure or action, especially one of a series taken in order to deal with or achieve a particular thing [Now, this one is good because I’m one of those who likes process.]
With these meanings in mind, I read again the verse in Proverbs:
“The steps of a good man are ORDERED by the Lord,,. . .”
I paused and thought, Not only does God make clear His do’s and don’t’s in His commandments, not only does His Word provide advice, but He also has provided a path for me… and it is not a path of confusion and disorder.
For this I am THANKFUL!
I continued reading, “ . . . and He DELIGHTS… “
I paused and took a quick look in the dictionary. Delights = takes pleasure in.
Back to reading, “ . . . and He DELIGHTS in his way.”
I immediately asked, Why, does Lord take pleasure in my way? And my spirit echoed the answer: Because walking in the way God has ordered requires faith, and faith pleases God.
God has ordered my steps!
Therefore, I do not walk in chaos.
God delights in my way!
Therefore, He is ever with me.
For this I am REJOICING!
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and I do enjoy hearing from you!
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