You may stumble but you won’t fall

Published Dec 31, 2016 at 4:00pm

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV).

Since this is the final Sunday of 2016, I wanted to bring a message that would encourage us as we wrap up one year and prepare to enter another. My mind was drawn to these words of David in Psalm 37. Actually I found myself using them to encourage several people who were going through hard times, and I thought that the truth in this text would help all of us.

One particular word in our text stands out in my mind. It’s the word “though” that stands at the beginning of verse 24: “Though he fall.” Some translations say, “When he falls.” Note that it does not say, “If he falls.” There is a big difference between “when” and “if.” The latter states a probability; the former declares a certainty. David understood that all believers fall eventually. We stumble, we lose our way, we struggle, and sometimes we trip and fall on our journey. No one is exempt. We all fall sooner or later. It’s what happens when we fall that makes all the difference.

God ordains every step we take—the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the positive and the negative.

The verb “ordered” is very strong in the original Hebrew. It means to establish something so that it has a strong foundation. God not only “directs” our steps, he also “determines” or “orders” or “ordains” our steps. This includes our going out and our coming in, our lying down and our getting up, our waking and our sleeping, our buying and our selling, our talking and our listening, and our walking and our driving. Because He is God, there are no accidents with Him. Nothing ever happens to the child of God by luck, chance or fate. No circumstance—whether good or bad—can come to us apart from God’s determined purpose for us.

All of us wonder what the New Year will bring. What will happen in 2017? Will it be a good year or a bad year for us personally? I’ve researched that question diligently and I know the answer: Next year will be a lot like this year. In some ways, it will be business as usual. You’ll have good days and bad days. You’ll have some victories and some defeats. You’ll be sick for a while and you’ll be healthy much of the time. Some of your prayers will be answered; some won’t be answered. Some of your dreams will come true; some will be dashed on the rocks of hard reality. Some of your plans will come to fruition; others will remain undone. You’ll discover that some of your friends will be there when you need them. Others will fail you when you need them most. In many respects, life will be the same next year because we all face the same ongoing challenges in our walk with the Lord. But know this: Your steps in the coming year are “ordered” by the Lord. He is in charge of the details of your life. I close with this thought. God will not put you in an unbearable situation in 2017. But He may put you in a situation that seems unbearable so that you will turn to Him. Remember that God does not give his strength in advance but only when needed. Each day this year you will have what you need. We may therefore go forth into the New Year with confidence, hope, and joy.

For those who don’t know the Lord, the Bible says there is only one step between you and destruction. But there is also only one step between you and Jesus. It’s the step of faith. Reach out to Jesus as Lord and Savior. He will come to you and your life will never be the same. God bless you in 2017!