Friday, 19 April 2019
…and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:13
The author continues with the thought of verse 12, which implored the reader to “strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.” He now continues with, “and make straight paths for your feet.”
Here we have a proverb that was on the author’s mind. What he says here in the first clause is a close quote to the Greek translation of Proverbs 4:26, 27 –
“Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.”
The word translated as “path” is unique in Scripture, it is trochia, a noun signifying the track of a wheel. That, in turn, comes from, trochos, another noun signifying a wheel. A wheel is something that moves around a central axis, and thus one gets the sense of a “moral axis,” on which our lives turn. Thus, it is the way of life of a person. This is how James uses that word in James 3:6. This is certainly what is on the author’s mind. He is imploring the reader to be on a morally proper track. This is then united with the word orthos, or straight.
This word, orthos, is then being given as a metaphor for being morally right and virtuous. There is a reason for having such straight paths “for your feet,” which is “so that what is lame may not be dislocated.”
In this, the words, “for your feet,” indicate the walk of life. It is a common metaphor used by Paul. One can walk with God and in accord with His word, or one can walk contrary to Him and His word. But in being morally upright, the movement of the feet will “not be dislocated.” The Greek word for “dislocated” gives the sense of turning aside or wandering away from something. In this sense though, the connection to the body is that it not be put out of joint. If that should occur, then a person’s walk would be hindered. But the idea is of wholeness of body. This is then seen in the last words of the verse. Instead of being put out of joint, they will “rather be healed.”
With straight paths of moral uprightness, instead of being dislocated and falling apart, the person will come to a point of full restoration and spiritual health. The entire thought of verse 12 & 13 speaks of the physical condition of the man, but it points to moral truths –
strengthen the hands which hang down
[strengthen] the feeble knees
make straight paths for your feet
what is lame may not be dislocated
-but rather be healed.
This is all given, as noted in the commentary of verse 12, based on the idea of the race set before us noted in verse 1. In acting in a morally right way, and in keeping ourselves fit and ready for the race, we can then “run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Life application: In regards to the proverb cited above, one sure way to cause worse injury to a wounded knee is to take a path that isn’t level or firm. And surely if you deviate from the path, your foot is bound to find even more trouble. On the same lines, is another proverb which teaches us to use discretion in order to not listen to misapplied wisdom –
“Like the legs of the lame that hang limp
Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” Proverbs 26:7
As you can see, the Bible is using physical troubles to make spiritual applications in our lives. By understanding these proverbs, we can look to, and understand, God’s wisdom. He created us, and He knows how the two applications – physical and spiritual – demonstrate His wisdom. He is familiar with every physical aspect of our makeup. And so, in making moral applications from our physical attributes, He is revealing how to be morally perfect, just as He is. This is in accord with how to be physically fit and ready for an earthly walk that is trouble-free.
Lord, as You created us, You can readily use examples we understand from our physical bodies to guide us to higher truths in our spiritual lives. Help us to understand such passages in Your word so that we too can have wisdom and insight into such things which You found important enough to include there. In this, we will be both physically sound and morally upright as we walk before You. Amen.