⁸Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. (KJV)
This is a prayer of a devout man, who shows his desires, and opens up his heart to God, and is looking for guidance “LORD, LEAD ME in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me”. (NASB).
LEAD ME, O LORD is speaking from a heart of a man who knows himself to belong to the herd of the great Shepherd, looking for guidance from his Shepherd, on a plain path that the Shepherd chooses for him.
The word LORD in this verse is translated from the Hebrew YHWH (YAHWEH, meaning “I AM”, “the existing One”), and is the proper name of the one true God.
IN THY RIGHTEOUSNESS can have two meanings:
▪︎ It may either point to the path by which David desired to be led,
▪︎ or the Divine attribute to which he appealed.
The second meaning, is somehow equivalent to “BECAUSE YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS,” and becomes a more probable meaning because of the other instances in the psalm where the word “IN” is used in a similar way. (IN the multitude of Thy mercy; IN Thy fear; IN the multitude of their transgressions).
His righteousness is manifested in leading those who seek for His guidance (compare Psalms 25:8; Psalms 31:1, etc.).
BECAUSE OF MINE ENEMIES points to the presence of enemies.
This is the only trace of enemies in this psalm, but it may be that David prayed here for guidance, because of them.
It seems that David was more concerned about the fact that he may take some step, which will give them occasion for malicious joy in his fall or his calamity; than that he feared to fall into their hands.
When a man is God fearing, many eyes will watch him, and many are delighted if they see him stumble. David had to carry that cross as well, like anyone who is following the Christ in these days.
His prayer shows how heavy it was for him, since thoughts of it mingled with even his longings for righteousness.
STRAIGHT does not mean “obvious”, but points more to a leveled way.
This may possibly mean free from stumbling blocks (“Lead us not into temptation”) and free from calamities.
He who knows his own weaknesses may shrink from snares and occasions to fall, even though, knowing the wisdom of his Guide, and the help that he will receive, he may still “count it all joy” when he encounters them.
To be continued.