Archive for June 29th, 2021

I Know Who Holds My Hand

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

I Know Who Holds My Hand

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Psalm 37:23–27

Eddie Snipes tells this story:

When my oldest daughter was about 5 years old, we went to spend an afternoon at a river. Some of the adults decided to walk out to an island in the middle of the river. My daughter wanted to come out with me. I returned to shore and took her hand. She stepped into the water but held on tightly to a branch on the shore. She was afraid of the river but wanted to go where I was going. I told her, “You must let go of the branch if you want to come”. She said that she was afraid that she would sink. “I have your hand. You won’t sink and if you start to, I will lift you up”. Fearfully she let go of the branch. I knew the water was just over waist deep and I guided her feet to each rock. When we began, she had no confidence, but she stepped on the rocks I guided her to. With each step she gained more confidence until she was eagerly reaching for each stone and soon we reached the middle. I looked back and realized that this is exactly how God deals with me.

Every once and a while we need to be reminded of truths we already know as believers. Tonight we will read the words of an older saint who is telling us first hand about how God treats His own. As we meditate on these unchanging truths we too can say, I know who holds my hand!

The Lord Leads

Psalm 37:23 KJV

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: And he delighteth in his way.

 • A good man is one who has a relationship with God deep enough to sense and follow His leadership.

John 10:27 KJV

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

In this strophe the security of the righteous is emphasized. Verse 23a means that it is the Lord who leads a person in the right way. The psalmist is not saying that, in fact, God guides all people in the way they should go, since it is quite evident that many do not accept God’s guidance. To avoid this possible misunderstanding, frcl translates “When a man’s conduct pleases him, the Lord enables him to go through life with confidence,” and niv has “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm.

1 Robert G. Bratcher and William David Reyburn, A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Psalms, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1991), 357.

 • Steps are ordered

Psalm 85:13 KJV

Righteousness shall go before him; And shall set us in the way of his steps.

Psalm 40:2 KJV

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

The word rendered ordered means to stand erect; to set up; to found; to adjust, fit, direct. The idea here is, that all which pertains to the journey of a good man through life is directed, ordered, fitted, or arranged by the Lord. That is, his course of life is under the Divine guidance and control. The word good has been supplied here by our translators, and there is nothing corresponding to it in the original. It is simply there, “the steps of man are ordered,” etc. Yet there can be no doubt that a good or pious man is particularly referred to, for the connexion demands this interpretation. The word steps here means his course of life; the way in which he goes.

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Psalms, vol. 1 (London: Blackie & Son, 1870–1872), 326.

 • God delights in the fact that the good man follows His leading.

Psalm 37:4–5 KJV

Delight thyself also in the LORD; And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 

Commit thy way unto the LORD; Trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

The Lord Holds

Psalm 37:24 KJV

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: For the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Micah 7:8 KJV

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: When I fall, I shall arise; When I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.

Psalm 34:19 KJV

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: But the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

Though he fall. That is, though he is sometimes disappointed; though he is not always successful; though he may be unfortunate,—yet this will not be final ruin. The word here does not refer to his falling into sin, but into misfortune, disappointment, reverses, calamities. The image is that of a man who is walking along on a journey, but who stumbles, or falls to the earth—a representation of one who is not always successful, but who finds disappointment spring up in his path.

He shall not be utterly cast down. The word here used—?????, tul—means to throw down at full length, to prostrate; then, to cast out, to throw away. Comp. Isa. 22:17; Jer. 16:13; 22:26; Jonah 1:5, 15. Here it means that he would not be utterly and finally prostrated; he would not fall so that he could not rise again. The calamity would be temporary, and there would be ultimate prosperity.

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Psalms, vol. 1 (London: Blackie & Son, 1870–1872), 327.

For the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. It is by no power of his own that he is recovered, but it is because, even when he falls, he is held up by an invisible hand. God will not suffer him to sink to utter ruin.

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Psalms, vol. 1 (London: Blackie & Son, 1870–1872), 327.

I looked to God with great earnestness day after day, to be directed; asking him to show me the path of duty, and give me grace to ride out the storm.

CHARLES FINNEY

Proverbs 24:16 KJV

For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: But the wicked shall fall into mischief.

The Lord Provides

Psalm 37:25–26 KJV

I have been young, and now am old; Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his seed begging bread. 

He is ever merciful, and lendeth; And his seed is blessed.

While experience confirms God’s radical faithfulness to the righteous as well as the insubstantial nature of the wealth and power of the wicked, the psalmist speaks in these verses in a traditional form of testimony; these words should not be interpreted to mean a naive assumption that the righteous never hurt or suffer want. To the contrary, the whole psalm and much of canonical wisdom literature respond to the reality of the righteous suffering and the inexplicable prosperity of the wicked. In a sense, what the psalmist reports is not naive unreality but an inner vision of the true reality that accords with Yahweh’s character and purpose—the reality that must ultimately arrive.1

1 Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms, vol. 1, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 607.

Hebrews 13:5 KJV

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

The Lord Preserves – therefore do right

Psalm 37:27–28 KJV

Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell for evermore. 

For the LORD loveth judgment, And forsaketh not his saints; They are preserved for ever: But the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

Psalm 92:13–15 KJV

Those that be planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God. 

They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; They shall be fat and flourishing; 

To shew that the LORD is upright: He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Often we become discouraged because we cannot see God’s long range plan of guidance for our lives. We need to remember that God has promised to guide our steps, not the miles ahead.

  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: And he delighteth in his way.” (Psalm 37:23, KJV)  

This beloved hymn came from the grateful heart of Fanny Crosby after she had received a direct answer to her prayer. One day when she desperately needed five dollars and had no idea where she could obtain it, Fanny followed her usual custom and began to pray about the matter. A few minutes later a stranger appeared at her door with the exact amount. “I have no way of accounting for this,” she said, “except to believe that God put it into the heart of this good man to bring the money. My first thought was that it is so wonderful the way the Lord leads me, I immediately wrote the poem and Dr. Lowry set it to music.” The hymn was first published in 1875.

No one knows the importance of guided steps as much as a blind person like Fanny Crosby, who lost her sight at six weeks of age through improper medical treatment. A sightless person is keenly aware that there will be stumbling and uncertainty as he continues on his way. As Fanny wrote, “Cheers each winding path I tread, gives me grace for every trial,” she has reminded us that God has never promised to keep us from hard places or obstacles in life. He has assured us, however, that He will go with us, guide each step, and give the necessary grace.

All the way my Savior leads me; what have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, who through life has been my Guide? Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell! For I know whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me, cheers each winding path I tread, gives me grace for ev’ry trial, feeds me with the living bread. Though my weary steps may falter, and my soul athirst may be, gushing from the Rock before me, lo! a spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me; Oh, the fullness of His love! Perfect rest to me is promised in my Father’s house above. When my spirit, clothed immortal, wings its flight to realms of day, this my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way.1

1 Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 259.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 8:12 PM June 29, 2021.