Verse: Matthew 1:76-79
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

This summer a friend of mine came to visit who I don’t get to see very often. He and another friend and I decided to go for a hike in a nearby state park. As we walked we decided to go down a path we’d never tried before, but were pretty sure would circle back to where we parked (all three of us have grown up here, hiking in these woods, so we were pretty confident). We hiked for a long time until we realized that we were wrong. This path was definitely not heading in the right direction. We didn’t have time to double back, so we decided to cut through fields and forest in the direction of the parking lot. It did not go well.

We ended up wading through mud and swamp that covered our shoes. We couldn’t find a way around these swamps (which we had never seen before)! In the end we finally got back with our shoes and clothes dirty, soaked, and freezing.  All because we went off the path.

This morning the last line of this song that Zechariah sings at the birth of his son John the Baptist is really sticking out to me: “to guide our feet into the path of peace.” I need this in my life (and not just when I’m hiking!). I need Jesus to go before me in life and guide me into a path of peace. When I got my own way and follow my own desires, it does not end in peace. I often end up hurting myself and others. My selfishness ends up getting the best of me.

This is a powerful prayer for us today. Can you start your week praying this prayer? “God, guide my feet into the path of peace.” Can you pray this prayer Psalms 25:

Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

When we humble ourselves and seek God’s path for our lives, he is faithful to lead us and gently guide us in the paths that lead to peace.

Author: Christian Dunn