The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. -Psalm 37:23
The first time I ever read through the Bible, I was about 13 and I read a chapter a day. I made it through Genesis, and Exodus. And, oh heavens, somehow made it through Leviticus. Eventually I hit Psalms, and I thumbed through them, and saw that it was 150 chapters and I made a decision: I skipped them.
I’m sure I skipped other chapters here and there. And I’m sure I did plenty of skimming. But for most of my life, I have discounted Psalms as that “song” book, with words that maybe rhymed in the original language but they lost something in translation.
Last year, at the tender age of 26, I read through the Bible again. And I did an even worse job of it than when I was 13. I used one of the YouVersion Bible in a Year plans, and I skipped whole months. I skimmed chapters. I honestly did a really cruddy job of it. But even worse, there was a daily reading from Psalm, and most of the time, I’d half-heartingly skim through it. Or skip it entirely. “I can’t relate to any of this.” I’d justify to myself later.
The past couple weeks, that’s all been different. On a recent trip, I took my Bible and felt drawn to certain Psalms. Psalms like 62:2: “He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.“
Or Psalm 10:18: “You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.”
So since then, that’s been my daily reading plan. Grab 2 or 3 or 4 chapters of Psalms. Re-read them a couple times. It’s almost like I discovered cake and ice cream for the first time. And here’s what’s amazing about the Psalms: there really aren’t any stories. I thought that would be boring so I skipped them most of the time. But now that I’ve been reading them for a while I realize that they’re all about God. How great God is. How he provides and protects. How he takes care of those who love him.
Reading it with a new attitude and a new heart has made me realize how much I’ve missed out by skipping Psalms so much. No other writing I’ve ever read has focused my eyes and my heart so much on how great God is. I can’t believe I let myself miss out for so long.
Today my eyes landed on Psalm 37:23: “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”
And it hit me so hard.
When I read “He directs the steps of the godly”, I would normally have been tempted to be repulsed by that. Am I some sort of puppet?
But the picture that popped into my head was mountain climbing. I’ve been mountain climbing. Mountains look solid from far away, but when you get to them, they’re actually giant piles of gravel. In particularly steep and trecherous terrain, every step sends rocks hurtling down hundreds of feet. And that could be you if you take the wrong step.
When I read that God directs my steps, I think about mountain climbing. And I look back on my life, and I see how close I came to disaster over and over again. But I didn’t. Because I stepped in just the right spots to avoid calamity.
And I realized, God has been directing my steps for a very long time. Not in a “Dance, puppet, dance!” sort of way, but as a faithful father guiding his son safely through a mountain pass where one wrong step would send you to disaster. God has always taken good care of me, better than I ever deserved. Disaster has always surrounded me, but God has guided just the right path through the mountain pass to avoid it.
And the followup was even more powerful: He delights in every detail of their lives.
I know the details of my life. And they make me cringe and want to hide under a rock and pretend I was never born. That’s personal. I don’t want anyone to know the details of my life, certainly not the Almighty, Holy, Creator of the Cosmos.
If I’m God’s kid, then honestly, sometimes I just want the disconnected dad that only pops in to my football game for five minutes to watch me make an awesome touchdown pass, then give me a quick, “That was awesome, son.” and duck back out of my life until the next time I’m doing something awesome.
But God delights in every detail of my life? I want to call baloney. I mean, is David just making this up as he goes?
But how would my life change if I really believed that God was connected with who I really am? From the most superficial show I put on for everybody else, to the deepest darkest secrets that I will take to my grave?
What if I really lived like I believed God and I are deeply connected and I don’t have to do anything to have His undivided attention?
Would it drive me to depend more on God, to focus my eyes ever harder on Jesus, even in the deepest, darkest moments when He’s all I’ve got?