I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass…
Man must go. Each man is accomplishing a journey, going through a process. The only question is, How? Man may go, either with God or without Him. Whether we go with God or without Him, we shall find crooked places.
I. We should regard the text as A WARNING. There are crooked places.
II. The text is also A PROMISE. "I will go before thee." God does not say where He will straighten our path; He does not say how; the great thing for us to believe is that there is a special promise for us, and to wait in devout hope for its fulfilment. He who waits for God is not misspending his time. Such waiting is true living — such tarrying is the truest speed.
III. The text is also A PLAN. It is in the word "before" that I find the plan, and it is in that word "before" that I find the difficulty on the human side. God does not say, I will go alongside thee; we shall go step by step: He says, I will go before thee. Sometimes it may be a long way before us, so that we cannot see Him; and sometimes it may be just in front of us. But whether beyond, far away, or here close at hand, the great idea we have to live upon is that God goes before us.
1. Let us beware of regarding the text as a mere matter of course. There is an essential question of character to be settled. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord."
2. Let us beware of regarding this text as a licence for carelessness Let us not say, "If God goes before me, and makes all places straight. why need I care?" To the good man all life is holy; there is no step of indifference; no subject that does not bring out his best desires. "The place whereon thou standest is holy ground" is the expression of every man who knows what it is to have God going before him.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
WEB: "I will go before you, and make the rough places smooth. I will break the doors of brass in pieces, and cut apart the bars of iron.