I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalms 32:8 (NIV)
While our sons were living at home, Psalm 32:8 had become our family verse. It is one of God’s promises that binds us together no matter where our paths may go.
We had one of those moments in time where one of us said; “I have a great idea” and in retrospect, you realize it may not have been so great. Our boys were visiting us in Germany over Christmas break. The verse spoke to how God was at the center of our relationships as individuals and as a family. How he would instruct, teach, and counsel each of us as we moved into these new phases of life.
We were enjoying time together and celebrating the holiday season. We sat around our table talking about the crossroads in our lives. God had taken each of us in different directions. Jacob had just ended his first semester at North Central University, which was in a different state. Alex decided to change leave Michigan and traditional university and go to Florida for a career in commercial diving. It was at the same time God sent Teresa and I on separate paths, away from our kids, separated by time and sea to Germany for three years.
It was at this point the “great idea” evolved. Someone, not sure who, but I think it’s safe to say my sons, thought it would be a great idea for all of us to get the same tattoo. Adult kids, parents indifferent, they quickly brainstormed an idea and scribbled it on paper. They researched the best tattoo shop in Stuttgart, Germany, or rather, the closest one to our home, and off we went. Yes, we actually did this.
The good news is we got a group discount, the bad news was we might have wanted to pause and really think about the design and location each wanted the tattoo. That is now “water under the bridge” so to speak and each day we can look down and remember that afternoon as another Odden memory. The best part is it is our family verse that holds a lot of memories, but most of all meaning.
The longer I have had the tattoo the more I have come to understand and appreciate the daily reminder. The first sentence, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.” Two key words, teach and instruct.
The definition of teach is to show or explain to (someone) how to do something.
As we headed out into the four corners of the world, God wanted to show and/or explain to us the way we should go. You notice that God is not saying he is going to tell us. No, he wants to show and explain and then he leaves the decision up to us as and then it is up to just whether or not we want to follow his teachings.
Just like most lessons/trails we go through in life; they teach us something. It is our responsibility to question our decisions, test and validate them in order to understand what God taught us at that moment. Then we are able to make a good decision based on what we have learned.
The next word we see is instruct. When we look at the definition, instruct is to give knowledge to, to provide with authoritative information or advice
God has promised us knowledge and it will be provided through an authoritative source. He provides knowledge through his Word, our daily experiences, conversations, trials, joys, hurts etc.
No matter what we encounter in life, it is important we ask God what we should learn and take away from these moments. To gain knowledge is to gain wisdom. Notice how the sentence ends. “In the way you should go.” It is not how, or you must, but “should.”
God created each of us uniquely. We have our own “Youness” which means we have free will to choose the direction we go, the decisions we make. God provides guidance but does not force any of us to go a specific direction. I don’t know about you but that just blesses my soul knowing God trusts me enough to make the right decision and choose the correct path.
The verse goes on to encourage us even more, God then states he will counsel us. Counsel: advice, especially that given formally, advice; opinion or instruction is given in directing the judgment or conduct of another, to urge the adoption of, as a course of action; recommend
He reinforces the fact he will provide us advice, his opinion, his instruction, and will urge us to adopt his course of action. However, through his counseling, he will do it with his loving eye on you. This means he will not judge, criticize, or condemn you if you choose a different course. His love for us is too great to be disappointed, mad, or angry. He will love us just as much if we make a bad decision as if we made a perfect decision.
Every day I look down and I see this verse and I am reminded God is there, instructing, teaching, and counseling me to choose the path I should travel all while keeping a loving compassionate eye on me. He is always there to lift me up when I fall, to encourage me when I am down, and to comfort me in my time of need. Our God is mighty and he offers all of this for free to me and to you.
As you go about your day, today, tomorrow, and the next week, stop and let God “instruct and teach you.” If you do, he will counsel you and help direct you down the path you should go. His loving eye will always be on you.
The Word of God guides us to the certainty how to know God will counsel us and that we are following the path, the right path. It is in knowing and trusting Christ as your personal Savior. Take time to read the first seven verses that precede Psalm 32:8. They are the prerequisites to knowing, God is your counselor and instructor.
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,[b]
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude
Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory.
If you do not believe or have not made a commitment to follow Jesus, it is simple. Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin, believe that he has and begin a new life in Christ Jesus today.
Scripture says “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one shall enter heaven except through me (Jesus Christ).” John 14:6
First Christmas in Germany (2011). Jacob and Alex on winter break from college. “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!.”