Psalm 27: 2-3
“When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me , even then will I be confident.”
David has a strategy: when the enemy is advancing, he declares they will stumble and fall.
He declares from the original Hebrew meaning: “They are brought down; their attempts fail, they have been overthrown; they are brought to ruin; they are under my feet!”
When tribes or troops settle/camp/ abide around him with a hostile purpose; when they are relentlessly bringing opposition; David already knows what he was going to believe. He says his inner man/his soul will not call to mind or consider or bring to remembrance fear or dread.
When the battle is raging and rising against him with accusation, when the suddenness of ambush is on the scene, when the enemies are attempting to lure him to yield ground to their mindsets and their attempting to devour him and his goods; David boldly proclaims (as noted in the original Hebrew) his plan: Trust in the Lord, rely and hope in His name, His mercy/grace, His word, and His salvation.
When adversity comes knocking at your door, when illness and affliction come, when distress and upset come, when pain /heartache come - what message is your mind receiving?
Have you ever stopped to listen to your patterns of thought?
When we develop patterns of thoughts or mindsets in a particular direction, our soul man will automatically revert to a particular set of ideas be it positive or negative.
This is described as a habit or a rut. Dr. Carolyn Leaf describes these ruts and that in the makeup of our brain there is actually formed long, deep tracks or furrows due to thinking in particular ways, that science proves can be seen on brain imaging. These furrows are made by repeated ways of thinking over and over, so that when faced with certain events or circumstances certain ways of thinking can take over almost involuntarily. These ruts establish themselves as undeviating predictable routines of thoughts.
Let’s picture a gravel road as it softens with moisture and becomes the rut thru frequent travel upon it. Even to the point of when a car might slip into a rut on the road, the car wheels can be forced to go in a certain direction. The more traffic going into the rut, the deeper it can become. Our brains actually work in a similar way as this gravel road. Our brains have a “neuroplasticity” which causes neuropathways (ruts, trenches, courses) to be formed by repetition.
When we allow negative thoughts, one-by-one, form in our thinking, we are giving permission to the enemy. We are giving him place (in our brain) to establish his will (his rut, his cycle, his course) in our lives, and ultimately take from us what Jesus rightfully died to give us: wholeness in every area of our lives. Thus, every bad choice we make is given birth by negativity in our thoughts in some way, causing us enslavement by our enemy.
How can we re-landscape the territories of our hearts and minds for Gods thinking patterns to reign, rather than the ruts, cycles, and entrenchments of our enemy?
Well, it becomes a matter of choice.
Choosing one thought over another guided by the Holy Spirit. Choosing LIFE thoughts. As we choose, we use the authority God gave us and God does the work of establishing the renewing of our minds, new ruts, new patterns and cycles of righteousness.
Adapting the right thinking can convert negative thoughts into positive ones.
Lets take Psalm 23:3. It says: “He leads me in paths of righteousness.” Hebrew for paths is trench, track, course, cycle or rut. Thus, God is saying He wants to develop within us ruts of righteousness!!
So, how could we develop a righteous rut? The Hebrew word pictures for “path” may give us some insight. The first Hebrew letter of that word is mem, which refers to water. Often in the scriptures water is meant to symbolize the Holy Spirit. Thus, for us to walk in the path of righteousness it will involve yielding to the flow of God’s Spirit within us, His leading, guidance, direction, etc.
Next is the Hebrew letter Ayin, which is symbolic for seeing because it is a picture of an eye. Seeing with our spiritual eyes are invaluable to the path of His righteousness in our lives. The Bible says in 1Cor.4:18 That we should look unto things that are not seen, instead of the temporal /physical realm of seeing.
When we cast our vision upon what Christ has done for us, his finished work, we see His victory in turning our every trial into His triumph! Seeing with our spiritual eyes is seeing thru the eyes of Faith. As God’s righteous saints, He calls us to live by faith in all matters. Our Faith, as noted n 1 John 5:4, overcomes the world. Faith, our spiritual eyes, keeps us on His track for our lives.
Next, is the Hebrew letter Gimel. This is a picture of a camel with the idea of its repetitive behaviors; rolling, walking; circling. I believe God is causing us to see here the idea of repetition, and that developing good habits are key to staying on course. Repetition is also how we learn, doing something over and over until it becomes a pattern for us. I believe God created us to be creatures of habit. He wired that in us. He knows how we learn best. In order to maintain righteousness we need to maintain habits of righteousness. God tells us in Rom 5:17 some good habits to reign in life: to receive His righteousness and His abundance of grace. As we become in the habit of receiving, our “good habits” will follow suit - simply in producing fruit.
The last Hebrew letter of this word “path” is Lamed. This is a picture of a shepherd’s staff. Certainly God is our shepherd providing for us. The word “staff” in the Hebrew means support of every kind, a place of leaning, a place of rest. I don’t think it is coincidence that God would use this picture of a staff. His path for us is a place of rest.
Isn’t that what the finished work of Jesus Christ pictures?
He has done the work, He has triumphed over every foe and destroyed every work of darkness, redeeming us wholly and completely. As we rest on His promises for us, we see (by faith) His provision is every area of our lives.
Through yielding to the flow of the Holy Spirit, walking by faith, receiving His grace and His righteousness and by living a life of resting in His provisions; God shows us what the rut of righteousness can look like.
Back to Psalm 27, David had developed righteous ruts when he encountered his enemies. No matter what he was seeing with his eyes, he made choice to use his faith and see his victory and their demise and destruction. He was confident in the work of his God, and that it would be his complete salvation.
Lets be like David, in seeing his victory, and become stuck in the rut of Christ’s finished work, no matter what the circumstance, we see His victory!
Guest blog from Liz Sutter.