I’ve been digging into passages about our life with God as a journey. One word in particular has me puzzled, perplexed and downright uptight. I wonder at the use of the word SMOOTH to describe the righteous road.
I began my dig in Isaiah 26 and found this in verse 7:
The path of the righteous is level;
you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
Then, the cross reference took me to Isaiah 42:16:
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.
It seemed like I’d struck traveling gold – the key to a smooth road! Now I knew how to navigate my journey to keep it SMOOOOOTH. Or did I?
Because, if I’m honest the road I’m on looks nothing like the wide open highway I picture in my mind when I hear the word SMOOTH. In fact, most days, the signpost along my journey could read like this:
Experience tells me (and many others I chat with) that the Christ-centered life is not an open highway. Likewise, helping and equipping others on this journey is not easy or without some very painful skin in the game.
God, how can You say the road is smooth?
A closer look into the word He used in scripture might give me a clue, I thought.
The Hebrew word for “smooth” is miyshowr ( mee-shore’). Evenness is the fundamental sense of this word. It denotes straight instead of crooked. By analogy, it is likewise used to imply a righteous lifestyle.
What if Isaiah didn’t have a paved highway in mind when he wrote those words? Because, of course he didn’t. What if he had a righteous life in mind? Because, obviously he did.
- Perhaps a smooth road is not necessarily an easy road. The way of the world makes a sinful path easy. Right-living is hard here.
- I’ve noticed that as I live rightly, deep ruts of sin do smooth out.
- Maybe annoying detours are necessary too. As I believe the Truth of God’s Word, I’m led around pitfalls.
- I’m learning that living rightly means repairing what’s been broken. I might have to close the road down or limit traffic for a time to make repairs.
- Even a smooth road might lead through dark territory.
Taking all that into account, God, how can I know I’m on Your path?
- Live Rightly – it’s a righteous path, after all.
- Ask directions – I have a guide. Even when I’m blind and the path is unfamiliar, I have the Spirit of God directing me.
- Follow Light – He will turn the dark into light before me; the very next step, not necessarily the entire mile ahead.
- Trust the Presence – I might need to repeat to myself often, “God is near, I am not forsaken.” And it’s true every. time.
We have an encouragement and a promise about this path in Luke 1 from the mouth of Zechariah as he prophesied the coming of Jesus:
78 “Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
79 To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79
We know we’re on the right path when we are at peace with God.
His PEACE makes our lives smooth.
Mind if I Pray?
Road-leveling God ~ No matter what each new day brings, we can begin again at peace with You. Help us never deny Your goodness or reject the way You prepare for us. Lead us to trust that seemingly rough roads, or blind alleys, or dark paths have more to do with our perspective than with Your provision. For You are a good Father and we cannot take one step more without Your care. Thank You.