May the Lord direct our steps

by Michael E. Brooks

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9 NKJV).

My plans for the day included a quick trip into Khulna to buy fish for a special meal planned later in the week. After breakfast a co-worker asked “Do you really want to go out today?”

It turned out that extremist parties had declared a nation-wide “hartal” (strike) shutting down all mechanized transportation and all businesses. That is not the time for a lone American to be out in public.

Incidents like this occur regularly here and all over the world. They remind us of the tentative nature of all our plans and of the brevity and fragility of our lives (James 4:13-16).

This occasion also reminded me forcefully of the inadequacy of my information, and of my need to rely upon others to supplement it and correct me as needed.

Each of us tries to plan thoughtfully for the day and for the future to come. Each of us utilizes the information to which we have access. But that information is never complete, and it is often insufficient for our needs.

Had I left our campus alone, with no input from others, I might well have been endangered, harmed or killed. Contrary to the popular saying, what one does not know often does hurt him.

But the wise King reminds us in Proverbs, “The Lord directs his steps.” While our knowledge is finite, partial, and often inadequate, God is Omniscient. He knows everything.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3).

Not only does God know all things, but he uses that perfect knowledge on our behalf. He loves us, therefore he guides us. As David declared so beautifully:

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:3-4).

When Israel crossed into Canaan and defeated Jericho and Ai, men from the city of Gibeon came seeking peace.

Joshua believed their claim to live at a great distance away, and granted them a treaty. Later they learned that Gibeon was nearby, one of the cities the Lord had commanded them to destroy. Their failure to seek more information, and to inquire of the Lord, caused them to err (Joshua 9:1-27).

In our complicated world, information is almost always a key to success. Modern man seeks it from the internet, the television and the printed page. Few expect to find the things they need for daily decisions on the pages of a book that is two thousand years old.

But the Bible is relevant, timely, and still authoritative.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).


“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

God still knows all. He still communicates with mankind through his word, the Bible. Let us listen to him, and learn, and let him direct our steps.


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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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