Proverbs 4:26 “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”
In this section of Proverbs 4, Young Pilgrim, spiritual matters are dealt with from the viewpoint of the physical parts of the body. Vs. 23 makes mention of the heart. From a physical viewpoint, the heart is the center of the body. No less is it the spiritual center “for out of it are the issues of life.” We are exhorted to keep diligently our hearts. For, with our hearts we believe and with our mouths we make confession. Cf. Romans 10:8-11. So our mouths and lips must also be guarded according to vs. 24. And vs. 25 exhorts the pilgrim to watch where he is going. With an eye of faith, and looking straight ahead the pilgrim carefully treads the path of life. In order to travel along a path one must use his feet. And this is what our Proverb suggests.
Feet do crazy things. They can lead us into more trouble! With our foot we push down the accelerator pedal – oops too far – got caught! With our foot we kick a textbook down the school corridor. Our feet carry us to forbidden places, like movie houses. No, we are not that bad, are we? Let us just say our feet carry us to ‘‘unforbidden places” such as the television viewing area of our homes. There, now, that sounds so much better than “movie houses”. After all, our homes are not “movie houses” are they? These are some of the crazy things our feet do. They run from that which is right.
Spiritually our feet are no better, are they? As our feet transport us along the way of life, they carry us away from the established path and we enter the brambles of evil. Our actions, words, and thoughts are corrupt by nature. An honest appraisal of ourselves reflects that we are spiritual bullies. With our spiritual foot we kick a fellow pilgrim when he is down, so to speak.
But our feet are guided. “Established” is the term our Proverb uses. Indeed the old path is hardened by the many previous pilgrims who have followed the way. The way of truth it is, free from the brambles of the lie. Sometimes, the path of truth is difficult, we would rather avoid it then, would we not? Yet the way is established.
This entails the serious calling of becoming knowledgeable concerning the well worn ways. We are talking history, Young Pilgrim! Do you know it?
The Old Testament history of types and shadows is a contributing factor in the hard established path upon which we travel. Old Testament history is for us an example. Cf. I Cor. 10:11. Do we dare not to know this history?
Likewise New Testament history must be known by us; for, here is the fulfillment of God’s promise revealed in Christ. The feet of our Lord brought Him to Calvary! The way is established! He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6
Furthermore, we must have a knowledge of Church History, It is the history of the Church to which we belong. The Spirit of Christ leads the Church unto the Truth. The doctrines of the Church have been developed through time until the present. But development may not stop here. Further development must be pursued.
“Ponder the path of thy feet.”
The continued pursuance of the development of the truth of the Scriptures is a process of careful consideration. We must be thinking Christians! When we ponder the paths of our feet then we recognize our miserable condition. How often we attempt to find new ways. We try untested and unproven ways. We become flighty, impulsive, shallow thinking Christians. Our feet run loose all over the place, leading us into all sorts of trouble and -problems, and we might add, inconsistencies. We go astray from the established way and the brambles of the lie prick us. The reason we can recognize this is because Christ has established the way which we are to follow. Being acquainted with that way we also know when we are not in it.
But the way which Christ established is the way which we must follow. When we do follow the established path then Christian conduct is illustrated in our lives. It is in this way that previous pilgrims have followed the path. Through the ages of history the path has become increasingly hard and firm.
And do we properly appreciate the feet of previous pilgrims who have maintained and developed the way of truth? In order to appreciate previous pilgrims we must know the history that surrounded them. Many even died on account of the established way! We show our gratitude for these pilgrims by following the path which has been firmly packed by their footsteps. Even as they pondered the paths of their feet, so ought we to ponder our path.
Let us then be thinking Christians.