Study 6 SEVEN SIMPLE WORDS ABOUT GUIDANCE
HOLDING OUT THE WORD OF LIFE
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Psalm 32:1-11)
The seven words about guidance appear in verse 8, where the Lord says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.” This is one of the penitential psalms, the others being Psalms 6, 32, 51, 102, 130 and 143. The subject of guidance is one that intimately touches every Christian, and there is no subject about which Christian men and women are more anxious to receive help. Every day, week, month and year, in fact all through our lives, we are in need of guidance. We constantly come to the crossroads needing to know which way to turn. Can we be guided and be sure of making right decisions? This sentence, which is the Lord’s promise to us, assures us of His readiness and willingness to guide us. Notice to begin with:-
1. THE PROMISE OF GOD’S GUIDANCE
Very simply it is this: God says, “I will instruct and teach you…”, and this is a promise to every one of His children. If you think about it for a moment you will see that it tells us three things:
- 1. God is able to guide us. After all, He is the great and mighty God, and because of this He is well able to guide you (Psalm 73:24). If you are wondering about buying a house, getting married, emigrating… God is well able to guide you to make the right decision.
- 2. God is willing to guide us. It would be possible for God to be able to guide us but to be unwilling to do so; however, He is able and willing, otherwise He would not promise to do so (Proverbs 3:5-6). If you are faced with a big decision concerning the future of your home life, or the re-arrangement of your business, the Lord is not only able to show you what to do but He is willing to show you, because He says, “I will instruct and teach you…”
- 3. He is longing to guide us. He not only offers to be our guide but is eager to lead us. Why? Because He has a perfect plan for us and He does not want us to make a mistake.
2. THE NATURE OF GOD’S GUIDANCE
- 1. It is Divine guidance. Notice the first word, ‘I’. How very wonderful this is, that God who is infallible and whose ways are perfect, offers to guide you! He never makes a mistake; His wisdom is infinite and He never errs in His judgment or in anything He does. This, by the way, reminds us that we must never question the fact of God’s guidance after we have received it.
- 2. It is Individual guidance. Notice the word ‘you’, and what a comforting pronoun this is! It occurs five times in verse 8. The Lord is ready, able, willing and eager to guide everybody, but it is individual guidance that He gives.
- 3. It is practical guidance. It is guidance that is comprehensive and down-to-earth, because the last three words in the King James Version state “with mine eye”. This means that He is always watching over us, and in every phase of our life He wants and waits to guide us. Does He guide us when we are arranging a holiday, when we buy clothes, or when we want to visit a friend? No area of life excludes His guidance. What does our key-verse say in answer to these questions?
So we learn that the nature of God’s guidance is that it is divine, individual and practical. But how do we receive His guidance?
3. THE CONDITION OF GOD’S GUIDANCE
There are certain things that we have to do if we would know His guidance. That is why God says He will guide us with His “eye” (KJV). Guidance is not automatic; He does not push us around indiscriminately. His eye is upon us but we have to watch His eye to be guided by it. The picture is of the master who looks towards his servant and with a look, a glance or an expression is able to guide and direct the servant in the execution of his duties. What, then, are the conditions for receiving God’s guidance?
- 1. There must be a humble mind. That is, there must be the recognition that we need guidance (Psalm 25:9). Compare Jeremiah 10:23. To ask for guidance means to confess that we do not know the way, and this indicates a humble mind. Do we have the right attitude?
- 2. There must be a watchful eye. If the Lord guides us by His eye, then we must watch His eye. How can we do this?
- 1. By following carefully the guidance He gives us in His Word. In the Bible God guides us through the very clear principles that are revealed there and through clear statements that we cannot fail to understand. For example: He guides us about marriage (2 Corinthians 6:14); He guides us about questionable things (Romans 14:1-17); He guides us about going to church (Hebrews 10:25).
- 2. By following carefully the guidance He gives us by His Spirit. The first part of Psalm 32:8 tells us how He does this; the second part says, “I will counsel you…” How we need that careful and prayerful walk with the Lord.
- 3. There must be a surrendered will. It is a waste of time to watch His eye unless we are willing to go His way. We must not be impetuous like the horse or stubborn like the mule (verse 9); we must walk humbly before God, watching and waiting for Him to guide us and fully yielding ourselves to Him, ready to do whatever He requires of us.