The following quote is related to our last ministry update titled “Learning To Lean”. I felt that post was getting a little long and I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate this lesson from my reading with that update. I guess you can view this as part 2 of that post.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Introduction: When Eskimos travel through northern Alaska, they are often in danger, for there are no natural landmarks and few permanent roads. In a snow- storm, even familiar trails are hard to follow, and the possibility of freezing to death is a constant threat. So the trails are marked with tripods, each bearing reflective tape. By following the tripods, the travelers can find their way. As we read the Bible, we continually come across the truth that God erects tripods for His children. This is not only assumed but illustrated over and over. We need divine guidance. Human schemes are wretched substitutes for divine guidance. Life is made up of choices, and very often we have no idea what choice to make. But wise Christians learn to spot God’s tripods.
1. The Prerequisites for Divine Guidance. The first prerequisite is confidence in the Sovereign: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” The second prerequisite is caution regarding one’s self: “And lean not on your own understanding.” The third prerequisite is consideration: “In all your ways acknowledge Him.” Our actions must be examined in light of God’s will for our lives, consulting Him, recognizing that His plan for us is best (Jer. 29:11).
2. The Promise of Divine Guidance. “And He shall direct your ways.” Proverbs 3:6b assures us that God guides His children in their daily lives. The Christian should never wonder or worry if God will guide. His guidance is personal. He wants to direct us—strait and plain—safely to our journey’s end. God’s guidance is practical. The Lord is vitally interested in directing us in every area, under all circumstances. God’s guidance is perfect—infallible, reliable, and trustworthy. Divine guidance is patient. He leads His children step by step (Ps. 23:2).
3. The Principles for Divine Guidance. Submission to the Sovereign is a key principle in guidance (Rom. 12:1; Jonah 1:1–2). The Lord is not looking for better methods or bigger men or women. He is looking for surrendered hearts. Another principle of divine guidance is searching the Scriptures (Ps. 119:105). God speaks to His children through His Word. Supplication in the Spirit (James 1:5) is necessary to obtain divine guidance. Daily, disciplined, diligent prayer is never a waste of time, and very often the Lord gives us insights while we are in the very act of praying. We also need suggestions from our soulmates—the advice of our close friends and family members (Prov. 15:22). A final principle is satisfaction in the soul (Isa. 26:3), an inner conviction or “gut instinct,” a sense of peace from God about a possible course of action. In his booklet, Getting to Know the Will of God, Dr. Alan Redpath tells about trying to decide whether he should enter the ministry or stay in his present profession as a chartered accountant of the staff of Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd. He made a list on paper of all the reasons for staying in business, and each morning during his devotions, he asked the Lord to show him particular Bible verses that would counter or affirm the reasons listed. “Lord,” he prayed, “I am not here to evade you. I am here because I want to know your will.” What happened? “Day by day I turned to my Bible. Almost every day a verse seemed to speak to me and I began to write that verse against one of the arguments. At the end of a year, every argument in favor of staying in business had been wiped out. It took over a year, but I was not in a hurry. I was willing to wait; I wanted it to be in God’s time. Too much was at stake to dash into the thing. I wanted to intelligently find the will of God. And I found it as I sought the Lord through my daily reading and meditation.”
Conclusion: The great question is not “Will God guide me?”—but “Am I willing to be led?” Are you willing to do whatever He asks? Whenever? Wherever? His plans are perfect, His paths are pleasant, and His presence is promised for every step of the way. George Truett once said, “To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge. To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.”
If thou but suffer God to guide thee
and hope in him through all thy ways,
he’ll give thee strength, whatever betide thee,
and bear thee through the evil days.
- By Dr. Melvin Worthington
Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook, 2002 Edition (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001), 306-07.