The above expression is one of those phrases that depend upon the context for its content.
A way can be a path. It can be a direction. It can be a manner of conduct or behavior.
Abraham’s eldest and most trusted servant used the phrase in a very spiritual and beautiful way. Eliezer said, after God had blessed him in his effort to obtain a wife for Isaac, “I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren.” Genesis 24:27.
There are other uses of the phrase m Scripture. Solomon tells us in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 2:20 contains the expression with somewhat of an explanation. For we read, “That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.” The opposite is present inProverbs 4:14, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.” God uses the phrase to comfort His people in the howling wilderness with these words, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20.
We use the expression to present a pointed and important question: Is God in your way? You see, we walk in the way of the Lord, or we find Him in our way. And then we will not find Him walking in our way, but as Balaam’s ass, we will find Him there ready to destroy us. We are never in His way in the sense that we obstruct the path on which He would go; but so often we find Him obstructing the way which we want to go. And therefore it is a question of walking in the way of good men, or it is a case of finding God in our way. A man cannot walk in two ways at the same time. We cannot serve God and mammon. Either we walk with God, as Enoch did, and have His friendship and covenant fellowship; or we find Him a nuisance at first, and then a threat to all of our joy, and ultimately a terror to us in His righteous indignation and wrath! We are never a nuisance to Him. We never frustrate Him. Nor do we even slow Him down a bit as He walks straight ahead on the path that He has sovereignly chosen to walk. We displease Him. We make Him furious by our sins. For when we do not walk in His way, we come up against Him. We oppose Him as enemies. Yet we do not stand in His way in the same way that we find Him standing in our way, that is, in the way of our flesh, to curb us, stop us and ultimately destroy the wicked and cast them forever out of His way and into the lake of fire.
What, then, is the case in your life? Does God stand in the way of your pleasure and joy and life? Or are you walking side by side with Him in the way that His Word points out to you?
God created us at His own side. He made us to be His friend-servants; and we walked with Him in the direction of His glory. In fact, that was the only way that we knew. We could not possibly imagine going contrary to that way. We were aware of such a contrary walk, for God told us of it when He pointed out the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil and told us not to eat of it. The way of opposition was shown to us. The way of rebellion, the way of coming up against this Friend-Master, was clearly indicated. We did not choose it thinking that this was the way we were supposed to go. These two ways do not run parallel to each other. They do not crisscross each other. They go in exactly opposite directions. As we said, either we walk with God and in His way; or we come up against Him in rebellion. But even though we knew that contrary way, we could not think of going down it. We had no desire whatsoever to do anything but walk in God’s way. At that time to walk in the way was to walk in the way of God’s command and of His glory.
We were turned by the lie of Satan, who deceived us into thinking that going in this opposite direction was far more advantageous for us, and instead of being harmful was actually the way of life. And the way of death we chose for the way of life. It is for that reason that now we find God in our way. Instead of God finding us on His way, we now find God in our way. That lie of Satan was that we should and could walk in the way of taking away God’s glory without finding Him there before us with the sword of death! And we turned around to challenge the Almighty and to strive for His glory! No wonder then is it that we find Him in the way. His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. He is a jealous God Who will not allow any creature to take the smallest part of His glory away; but He will surely visit this iniquity of ascribing His glory to the creature and of lowering Him to the level of the creature. He is not going to step aside to let us go in in that way. He set cherubim with a flaming sword after driving man out of paradise to keep the way of the tree of life; and He is still there to guard His holiness and glory. Therefore at the end of the way, at the end of our life, we will find Him there with that sword, if we have not walked in His way. Solomon declares this in Proverbs 14:12, when he writes, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
But is God in the way for you? We admit that when we try to brush Him aside by brushing aside His Word. And we admit that God is in our way when we brush aside His representatives in His church here below. When we change church membership in order to be able to walk in the way of our flesh without being bothered by the “watchmen” upon the walls of Zion, we admit that we find God in our way. We do that when we strive to get from under the hand of discipline by asking for our church papers to carry them in our pockets or to present them-to a body of men who will not investigate or continue the discipline. We do that when we seek a church roof where these same sins, of the way which we in our flesh have chosen, are practiced and condoned. Foolishly we have striven to go another way when we find God in our way; and then at the end of the way we still find that there He is! We will not answer to Him through the representatives of His church; but we still will have to answer to Him personally at the end of the way. Walk in His way, or else you will find Him at the end of the way.
All the riots and revolt, rebellion and revolution that we find in the world today are another testimony to the fact that the natural man always finds God in the way. He stands before us in the principle of the fifth commandment, for He stands before us also in the person of the authority that He has placed over us, be it father and mother in the home, the king on the throne, the police on the street, or the employer in the business establishment or factory. All revolution and revolt, riot and rebellion are an attempt to brush Him aside in order that we may continue on our way to seek the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Thus it was when the ten tribes in rebellion cried, “What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David.” I Kings 12:16. Turning their backs upon David, they turned their backs upon the Son of David, and turning their backs upon Him, they turned their backs upon God. Rehoboam’s demand and stand may have been unwise, but their reaction was unrighteous. It was a case of refusing in the mind to go in God’s way. It was finding God, as He speaks in the fifth commandment, standing in their way. Had they been walking with God, seeking to glorify Him as He always seeks to glorify Himself, they would have said with Paul, “We must be subject to all in authority over us, for the powers that be are ordained of God; and to resist these powers is to resist God.” Instead they said, “Away with God!” And they said that in more than one way. They said it in that they were pushing aside His Word in I Peter 2:18, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully,” but also in that they turned away from Christ when they turned away from David and his house. They were through with the royal line from which Christ would come. They were then through with God’s way.
All rebellion against the authorities, including those in the colleges and universities against the faculties and school boards, is due to the fact that men have found God in their way; and like Balaam of old, they are going to go ahead, even though Balaam’s ass knew better, It is not merely a matter of finding a man or a group of men in your way. It is a matter of finding God’s law and consequently God in the way. When we follow the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes and the pride of life and consequently are more interested in satisfying our carnal desires than to walk with God and patiently wait for the kingdom of heaven; we will try to push God away, though He says,. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Romans 13:1.
Walking in the way of the Lord means that we would rather suffer loss than to go contrary to His will. Walking in the way of the Lord means that we also say, “There is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Walking in God’s way we are not opposing Him, have no desire to oppose Him, and walk toward the new Jerusalem, meanwhile patiently bearing the afflictions and injustices of men. And walking in His way means that we desire what He desires and hope to spend eternity with Him. He is not then in our way; but we do long to see Him at the end of the way as our covenant Father Who has there prepared a place for us in heavenly glory.
Are you sincerely willing and ready henceforth to live unto Him? And can you with David declare in all sincerity, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple?” Psalm 27:4. Then God is not in your way. Then He is not a threat to your joy and happiness and life, but you are on His way and walking to where you will meet Him in blessed covenant fellowship in a kingdom wherein all goes in God’s way.
Look about you, however, in the church world of today. You have this same evil of finding God in the way. So much of the ecumenical movement of today is nothing less than a manifestation of man’s awareness that God stands in the way of an evil walk, and of man’s desire to get around Him in a folly not found even in Balaam’s ass. He stands before them in sound doctrine. He stands before them in the Confessions of the Church. He stands in the way of their flesh desires. And so He must go. They will not turn to walk with Him and be willing to be a “little flock” that is despised and hated by the serpent and his seed. HE must go. Even as the Form-of-God-but-denying-the-power-thereof Synagogue attenders of Nazareth rushed at God in our flesh, when in His preaching He plainly stood in the, way of their pipe dreams of a super, colossal kingdom of David and Solomon once again in Palestine, and sought to get Him permanently out of their way, so the modern church strives to do this by scrapping all those points of difference in doctrine which stand in the way of their dreams of a colossal, super church with man on the throne with his social gospel that knows little or nothing of guilt of sin before God, and seeks a salvation from the curse without the atoning blood of the cross.
God grant that we and our children are not deceived into taking a position where we find God in our way. May He give us grace to continue to stand at His side walking in His fear and hoping for the day when we shall live with Him and be satisfied with His covenant fellowship in an unending day of bliss and glory. And, indeed, the only solution to all of our problems is that He bring us back to such a stand. The psalmist says so significantly in Psalm 80:3, 7, 19, “Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” It is a case of being turned again. We turned away to oppose Him and to stand where He must oppose us. He must turn us again to walk in His way; and then His face will shine on us; and we will be glad to find Him at the end of the way to welcome us home.