Life is full of potential traps that, if we’re not careful, can squeeze out our joy and peace.
King David knew this fact. In Psalm 25, he says, “My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only He will release my feet from the snare.”
As the King of Israel, there were snares all around him. He had national enemies that wanted nothing more than his demise. Because of his powerful position, there was the potential to get “too big for his britches.” Many have said, “Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!” And of course, he had every physical and material pleasure possible available to him, at his beck and call. The snare of hedonism had brought down many leaders before him – and it was right at his doorstep.
Though this psalm was written over 3,000 years ago, nothing has really changed for us living in the United States in 2017. Relational strife, dealing with people who don’t see things the same as us, is something most people face on a regular basis. Comparatively speaking to the rest of the world, we live in a land with incredible resources. Though these resources are a blessing, they can potentially ensnare us.
The greatest snare may be pride. When you look around and see all that you have, you can start thinking you’re better than others. Pride can lead to the religion of self-dependence, where you come to believe you don’t need God or anybody else to make your life great. But David says, “My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only He will release my feet from the snare.” David recognized that Yahweh, the God of Israel, was the only one who had the power to release his feet from the snare – and sadly, in David’s life, he stepped into many snares. (For a small sampling, recall his feud with the house of Saul, his relationship with Bathsheba, and his own mishandling of family issues.)
I’m sure when he was in those snares, he was tempted to focus his eyes on things other than the Lord. Maybe he depended on the knowledge of those in his inner circle to get him out of those snares. Maybe he depended on his own ingenuity or power. Or maybe he was tempted to put his head in the sand like an ostrich and self-medicate with things like alcohol, drugs, sex, or entertainment; sometimes it’s easier just to pretend our snares don’t exist than to deal with them head-on.
Though all of these things may have been temptations for David, he still writes, “My eyes are ever on the LORD…” He knew that no person, device, or even his own abilities could release him from the snare. The only one who could possibly do that was the Lord Almighty.
Because David believed this fact, he did everything he could to fix his eyes on the Lord. There’s a similar expression in Psalm 16:8, where David again says, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
As I mentioned earlier, in our world today, there are snares all around us. What will we choose to set our eyes on? What will we depend on to release our feet from these snares? Will we choose to depend on other people, believing that they have the resources to free us? Will we choose to depend on ourselves, believing that if we could just achieve the right place in life, our snares will be a thing of the past? Or will we deny that the snares even exist and self-medicate, resulting in the noose around our neck getting tighter and tighter?
I hope that we take the advice of King David and seek to keep our eyes focused on the Lord. If we do this, then we won’t have to learn the hard way by being let down by other people and even ourselves. Masters of self-deception have to wake up to reality sooner or later. With the Lord’s help, why not choose to see things clearly – starting today?
Pastor Toby Gallego
Riviera Baptist Church