April 26, 2015

The Path of the Upright

Posted in Humility, Teaching tagged , , , , , , , at 8:51 pm by tclickenger

Proverbs 15:19

The way of the sluggard is as a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is paved.”

The inspired words of the Lord are so beautiful and rich with meaning and truth.  In Hebrew the phrase “… but the path of the upright is paved.” is only three words.  But, my goodness, the depth of meaning contained in just those three words is incredible.

In Hebrew it reads, “v’orach yisarim s’lulah.”  “Yisharim” is the plural form of the word “yashar.”  So literally it would be upright ones.  Samson Raphael Hirsch, a 19th century Jewish rabbi, describes an upright one as “an individual whose thoughts and will are directed exclusively upon the aim which has been set for him by his sense of duty and destination.”  Now compare his words with those of the writer of Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:2

“Looking upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I’d say according to that definition, Jesus would definitely qualify as an upright one.

“Orach” means path or way.  The upright ones, their path or way of life  is “s’lulah” or always even, going continuously straight and upwards.

The upright one is contrasted with the lazy man.  A lazy man completely shuns this sense of duty.  When difficulty comes, he gives up.  When the difficulty he faces is just the fact that he doesn’t feel like it, he has the laughable faculty for inventing excuses to shirk responsibilities.  “There is a jackal in the way, a lion in the street.”  Because of this way of living, the lazy man’s life is increasingly difficult.  Like trying to walk a path through nothing but hedges of thorns.

The upright one is a person of fierce resolve.  When the real difficulties come, and they will come, he overcomes.  Difficulties become increasingly easier to conquer.  Laziness is always in the way, no matter what you wish to do for yourself or for other.  It is a hindrance that God, as your loving Heavenly Father, will chasten you to overcome.  Are you having difficulty in your life?  Does it feel like you are trying to walk a path through the briar patch?  Do some inventory.  I am not saying that you are certainly being lazy but we (me included) need to consider the possibility.  We are called to disciplined spiritual work.  And even if you are physically a hard worker, you could be spiritually lazy.  Are you studying your bible?  Are you being disciplined in your prayer life?  If you are going to my church right now, you are being exhorted to pray more and pray with more understanding.  Get your thoughts and will directed, resolved on this aim.  If you’re having trouble disciplining yourself, find a partner.  Meet together every morning until you have the discipline to continue on your own.

Ecclesiastes 4:9

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”

Remember, “Nothing of eternal consequence (eternal significance) happens apart from prayer.”

Prayer is but one spiritual activity we can be lazy in.  There are others to consider while you are doing inventory.  Prayer is meaningful spiritual work though and must not be neglected.

My Father and my King,

I pray that I am ever reminded of the duty and destination set before me.  Help me to maintain a fierce resolve, keep my undistracted attention on my example, Jesus, so that one day where He is, I will be also.  Help me to overcome the hindrance of the flesh and it’s tendency to be lazy.  May I rest when you tell me to rest and be active when you desire me to be active.  Help me to realize the rewards of: rest for my soul as I yoke myself with Your Son; a way of life that is always even, going continuously straight and upwards; and the privilege to hear you say, “Well done My good and faithful servant.”

Amen

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2 Comments »

  1. I’m starving for part two!

    • tclickenger said,

      Thank you for your comment, Michael! I hope to finish my post on the connectedness of humility with peace and unity.


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