¨ [This is] a prayer that God would lead His servant in safety through the midst of the snares of his enemies, and open up to him a way of escape, even when, to all appearance, he was caught and surrounded on every side. The righteousness of God, therefore, in this passage, as in many others, is to be understood of His faithfulness and mercy which He shows in defending and preserving His people. JC
¨ [David] prays for God’s gracious guidance… The direction of God, by which he wishes to be guided he calls tsadaqah. Such is the general expression for the determination of conduct by ethical rule. The rule… is the order of salvation which opens up the way of mercy to sinners. When God forgives those who walk in this way their sins, and stands near to bless and protect them, He shows Himself not less just, than when He destroys those who despise Him, in the heat of His rejected love. By this righteousness, which accords with the counsel and order of mercy, David prays to be led, in order that the malicious desire of those who lie in wait for him may not be fulfilled, but put to shame, and that the honor of God may not be sullied by him. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨ Lead me, O Lord, as a little child is led by its father, as a blind man is guided by his friend. It is safe and pleasant walking when God leads the way.
¨ The confident hope expressed in vs. 7, so far from causing remissness, only stimulates him to pray afresh, on the ground of that hope. JFB, A.R. Fausset
¨ The word chosen for my enemies perhaps emphasizes their vigilance. But the answer to ‘my’ peril is in the twofold ‘thy…,’ with its frank acceptance of a higher standard and a surer aim than one’s own. TOTC, Derek Kidner
¨ He earnestly prays that God, by His grace, would guide and preserve him always in the way of his duty… See here the good use which David made of the malice of his enemies against him. The more curious they were in spying faults in him, that they might have whereof to accuse him, the more cautious he was to avoid sin and all appearances of it, and the more solicitous to be always found in the good way of God and duty. Thus, by wisdom and grace, good may come out of evil. MH
“[…] make thy way plain before my face.”
¨ […] he acknowledges how impossible it was for him to avoid being entangled in the snares of his enemies, unless God both gave him wisdom, and opened up for him a way where no way is. It becomes us, after his example, to do the same thing; so that distrusting ourselves when counsel fails us, and the malice and wickedness of our enemies prevail, we may betake ourselves speedily to God. JC
¨ David further prays that God will make his way (i.e. the way in which a man must walk according to God’s will) even and straight before him, the praying one, in order that he may walk therein without going astray and unimpeded. The adj. yashar signifies both the straightness of a line and the evenness of a surface. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨ Brethren, when we have learned to give up our own way, and long to walk in God’s way, it is a happy sign of grace; and it is no small mercy to see the way of God with clear vision straight before our face.
¨ The way of our duty is here called God’s way, and his righteousness, because He prescribes to us by His just and holy laws, which if we sincerely set before us as our rule, we may in faith beg of God to direct us in all particular cases. MH
There are many trials in this life which we have faced and untold more to come. Some of them are self-imposed as a result of sin and some are the wicked advances of evil men. In this verse we have the answer to how we should react to those circumstances. We are shown that it is not through our efforts that we ultimately overcome difficulty, it is not because we become more righteous men in and of ourselves, it is not because we are so special and unique that we overcome obstacles, it is because the Lord delivers us Himself. Yes, we have responsibilities that require action on our part, but make no mistake about it: your best efforts apart from the hand of God are worth nothing.
What is left is to cast ourselves, along with all of our fears, all of our heartaches, with all of our struggles before Him and garner the sure hope that can only be had in Him and is exclusively available to His children. The rest of the world cites hope all the time but their version is nothing more than wishful thinking. Our hope lies in a perfect God who has promised to use all things for our good. Matthew Henry showed us an example of this: even in David’s time of distress and persecution the Lord moved him to discipline himself to more pious living; the Lord even used this time of hardship for good in the life of David, certainly He has and will do the same for us.
We must seek the Lord’s will, we must be in constant prayer, we must spend time studying His word, and we must trust in Him to show us the way. It is God who sustains us, it is God who protects us, and it is God who will see us through the difficult times in our lives. Robert Hawker says, “[…] looking up to Jesus, shall we not say, lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, even thine only, that thy way may be straight before me?” Certainly we do, or we should, in full recognition of the fact that our perseverance in the faith and in life lies ultimately with the Lord; we must look to Him in good times and in bad to be our great defender and guide through this life. As Charles Spurgeon said above, “Brethren, when we have learned to give up our own way, and long to walk in God’s way, it is a happy sign of grace; and it is no small mercy to see the way of God with clear vision straight before our face.” May it be so, Amen.