“Watch your step.”
Whenever we’re in a precarious situation, people always warn us to be careful. And in this world there are numerous pitfalls that can bring us down.
So David warned his son Solomon about the pitfalls in life, and Solomon in turn passed on those lessons to his own sons.
Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. (10-13)
Just as David and Solomon talked to their sons, so I think God speaks to us here as his sons and daughters. He guides us and leads us in the ways that are right, and if we’ll just follow him, we won’t stumble as we’ve seen so many people have. If we guard His words in our heart, holding fast to them, we’ll find the path to life.
How many times have we seen Christian leaders fall because they didn’t guard these things in our hearts? It’s easy to criticize them, but it can just as easily happen to us if we don’t watch ourselves. So often we criticize others, but we fail to watch ourselves and fall into the same kinds of sins.
So Solomon tells us to watch our step. To stay away from the path of sinners who would encourage us to follow them. To swiftly turn from the path that they walk on, and instead to stay on the lighted path that leads to life.
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. (18-19)
In other words, as we follow Christ and do things his way, he reveals to us even more, and the way we should go becomes even clearer. But when we reject the light of his Word, we end up stumbling around and falling into every pitfall on the road, simply because we are completely blind to them.
Solomon concludes this chapter by saying,
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (23)
Put another way, “Watch what you let into your heart. And watch the places where you let your heart go. Don’t let it wander off into places where it can destroy you.”
Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. (25-27)
Lord, guard my steps. Help me to treasure your words in my heart that I might not sin against you. Make my ways level, and make my ways firm as I follow you. In Jesus name, amen.