He guides me in the paths of righteousness
"Mid-course correction." Anyone interested in space exploration has heard those words. Routine events, mid-course corrections are necessary because the slightest error of trajectory can result at journey's end in missing the destination completely.
In Psalm 23 we find God provides just this kind of direction for life. Hemey vo' QaQtaHghach, paths of righteousness, are just where we will be guided, if we follow the good Shepherd. He doesn't simply watch over us in some lovely pasture for all time. We need to get on the move, and if we do, he'll keep us on course.
Hemey (kay-may), the word used here for paths, comes from He (kay) the Klingon word for what we call in English a "course," The compass direction in which a ship or an aircraft moves. This fits in with the original Hebrew word, ma`gal, which means 'track'. Picture paths cut along a mountainside. Not every one is the correct one to take. At each turn you need to check that you're taking the right one, or risk getting lost, or worse, falling headlong off a cliff.
Mid course corrections - they're needed, but only if you're on the move, if you're travelling. Staying put, you don't need directions - but you won't get anywhere.
The people asked prophet Jeremiah to have "God ... show the way in which we should walk, the thing we should do." (Jer. 42:3)
It's what we need to ask each day - which way should we go, what do we need to do to stay on course. If we do, we'll find he will lead us in Hemey vo' QaQtaHghach, paths of righteousness and, as Isaiah wrote:
...he will teach us of his ways,
And we will walk in his paths. (2:3)
originally podcast March 30, 2005