{Word Study} Path “Arach”


Psalms 25:4: “Show me your ways, O’Lord, teach me your paths.”
Path –   Hebrew: arach – A method of travel down a way, path or road.
King David was living in a world of uncertainty,  he was at an age where he knew disease could strike him down any minute, radicals could usurp his throne, and he could be assassinated.   In the midst of this David calls on God to show him His way and teach him His paths.  Show and teach, way and path seem similar and many feel it is just Hebrew poetry to express the same thought two different ways.  But David is asking for two different things.
The word show is yada in Hebrew which is the word for an intimate knowing.  This is in a Hiphal imperative form, a command with a causative action.   It would be rendered “Do what it takes for me to be in total sync with your way.”  The word way is derek which is a journey or a specific direction.  David understands, as we do, that the only safe road, the only secure road or journey is to follow the direction that God wants us to go.  For the most part we are ready to go in whatever direction God wants, the issue is how do we determine what that direction is?
That is why David’s plea is for God to “cause him to know.”   It would be nice if an angel would just appear and hand us a map pointing out the way, but it doesn’t work like that.  God just doesn’t tell us the way He causes us to know the way.  He brings about events in our lives which are like bread crumbs that we follow leading us into the way.
David is asking God to “teach” him His paths. The word for path is arach which means path or way.   However, this differs from Derek where the emphasis is on the destination.  In arach the emphasis is on how we get to our destination, the mode or manner of travel.   David is asking God to cause him to know intimately His direction and then to teach him the mode or manner in which he is to travel this direction.
It is one thing to be following the path of God, but quite another to be walking that path in the way God wants us to.  We may have a clear vision of the ministry that God has called us to perform, but then we can take matters in our own hands and try to bring it about in our own way.  God has to “teach” us how to accomplish the task he has asked us to perform.  The word teach is spelled Lamed, Mem, Daleth.  The Lamed instructs us to pray, the Mem represents the revealed Word of God.   We are taught that the manner of walking this road is through prayer and study of His Word.  However, there is a Daleth at the end.  The Daleth is a doorway.  That Daleth may lead to joy or sorrow, however, the Daleth is at the end of the word for teach and in order for God to teach us His arach and show us His way,  we must more forward and pass through the Daleth.