Proverbs 4:26 -“Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.” There’s a footnote with this word “level.” It says, “Or Consider the paths…” I believe the verse could serve as a warning to do both.
First, not looking at what lies ahead on the; path, or what could come up, is like walking in the dark on unfamiliar ground without a light or map of some sort. You leave yourself wide open to getting lost, stumbling, tripping and falling over debris in your path or into pot-holes and stepping into all kinds of nasty stuff. You can end up with stubbed toes, twisted ankles, and skinned knees, even lose your life to a fatal injury. Spiritually, it works the same way it does in the natural; except that the results can be eternal; so we do need to consider the paths we plan to take.
We also need to make level paths for ourselves. This speaks to me in terms of plans and goals; of all the things we endeavor to do or achieve. Making paths level would be clearing up unfinished business, removing obstacles that would hinder, harm, and hold us back. Some of these could be lack of education or training. Destructive habits, attitudes and thoughts become obstacles. Personal issues of pain, guilt, shame, and lack of self-worth or self esteem and fear all fall into that category as well as into their own. People can also be obstacles; and they need not necessarily be enemies. Sometimes the biggest challenges come from those closest to us. When we consider the path, we can see a lot of these obstacles and pitfalls ahead of time. Then the Bible tells us that the LORD goes before us and He’s also our rear guard. He illuminates our paths with His Word (Psalm 119:105) and shows us what’s in the way. The Holy Spirit guides us and moves on our behalf to open and close doors, create favor and heal us where we heart. (Psalm 59:10, Psalm 5:12) Psalm 143:10 says, “Teach me to do your will for you are my God; ay your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
I think two of the greatest pot-holes or obstacles we can encounter are pride and denial. Pride causes us to close our eyes to the debris and/or ignore or “turn out the light” so we don’t have to see it (denial); or to try to do it our own way. When I think of some of my own unlevel path moments, I see this silly girl climbing up a mountainside, using a match to light the path. Needless to say, I’ve all too often ended up with burned fingers and skinned up knees, hands, and chin.
*All scripture references taken from the International Bible Society NIV Bible.