I love the Bible. There are some passages that I really enjoy such as when the group of boys were making fun of the prophet because he was bald so he called down two bears to tear ‘em up (2 Kings 2:23-24). Don’t mess with baldies! That’s funny. Anyway, today’s verse is not one that I gravitate to out of a euphoric state. I love it because I need it, but it ain’t easy. Let’s take a look:
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
When we first look at this, it seems harmless enough. But God’s will to a great extent is laid out plainly in the Word of God. Even for David who did not have the advantage of the New Testament, the laws, commands, and principles of God were all there. To pray that God teaches him how to do the will of God is like me telling my teenager to take out the trash and he says, ‘Teach me how to do it.’ Some things are just black and white and we don’t need to be taught. God commanded them not to have any other gods. This means don’t bow down to the little golden and wooden false gods of other people groups. He did not have to be ‘taught’ how to do this. For most of the Bible, it is the same way, I do not need to be taught because God gives commands that I either do or don’t do. But when we dig deeper, things begin to make sense.
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The word ‘teach’ in the original language means ‘to goad.’ Here is the definition of goad: provoke or annoy (someone) so as to stimulate some action or reaction.
Ok, that sounds like fun, right? The lesson we need to learn is that the will of God is, for the most part, self-explanatory, but my flesh desires the things of the flesh, the things contrary to the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:17). The word ‘teach’ here might be better stated in the word ‘discipline.’ Discipline me to do your will. The Lord, like a good Father, uses both rewards and consequences to ‘goad’ us into doing His will.
Have you ever realized that you needed to go ask for someone’s forgiveness, but for whatever reason, you didn’t want to? That is the flesh not wanting to act according to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit says that when we sin against someone or offend them, we need to go and make things right. This is not something I must be taught. I know how to do it. The issue is just that I don’t want to. But the Lord then ‘goads’ me. He goads me with preeminent humility. He reminds me that He (Jesus) humbled Himself to maintain a relationship with me even though I was sinning against Him. Then He ‘goads’ me by calling upon me to humble myself before my brother or sister and ask forgiveness to maintain my relationship with them.
Then He continues to ‘goad’ me by giving me this promise:
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
The Lord reminds me that favor and consequence are both before me and the choice is mine. I can be brought low, humbled, by hardship or exalted in victory in difficult times. It is this combination of promised favor or certain consequences that ‘goads’ or ‘teaches’ me to do His will.
Every single day, the Lord has laid in front of us, blessings and curses, life and death and the choice is ours.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him
We don’t like the curses that come our way. We want God’s protection in all things. The Good News is that His protection is always available and so are the consequences. Our life can be as wonderful as we choose it to be.
How has the Lord ‘goaded’ you to do His will in the past? Leave me a comment. I would love to hear how God has worked in your life.
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!