Study 6 THE PROMISE OF GUIDANCE ALONG LIFE’S PATHWAY
GREAT PROMISES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
by Francis Dixon
(Key verses: Proverbs 3: 5-6)
The Bible is full of references to divine guidance and we have many instances when God guided His servants. He also gives many promises of His desire to guide, so this study is based on one such promise. There is no greater need in the life of a Christian than that of divine guidance, the reason being that life is full of choices; every day we have to make decisions and we simply do not know which is the right way to go, unless we turn to the Lord and ask for His help (Jeremiah 10:23). If you look at Proverbs 3:5-6 you will see that this promise is conditional; there are two parts – God’s part and our part. God says to us, ‘If you will do your part, I will do my part.’ Let’s consider the following:-
1. GODS PART: THE PROMISE OF DIVINE GUIDANCE
Notice how absolutely certain the promise is – “He will make your paths straight.” Notice three things about this promise:-
- 1. It is the promise of a personally conducted tour through life. See how very personal this is – “he…your…” Nothing could be more personal than that. What an amazing thing it is that God Himself actually wants and offers to lead you right the way through your life and bring you safely to your journey’s end. This is what He promises you in this one verse, and it is important to notice the word “straight”. This reminds us of the fact that as we travel through life we are faced on every hand with confusion, and we are at a loss to know which is the right way (Proverbs 14:12); but God says He will guide us so that we do not take a wrong turning – look up Exodus 13:21-22 for an illustration of this, and compare Psalm 25:9.
- 2. It is the promise of guidance regarding every detail of life and for the whole of life. There is no limit in the promise before us. God says that if we will acknowledge Him He will direct us in all our paths until we reach the journey’s end. Notice the significance of the word ‘paths’, which includes all the pathways along which we have to travel. Sometimes it is said that God does not guide His children in all the small details of life, that He’s far too busy and cannot be concerned to help us in the ordinary matters which face us from day to day. This is not true! Whether we need guidance in the home, in business, with regard to our leisure times or our work, our friendships – all is important to the Lord. He longs to guide us in all the decisions we have to make.
- 3. It is the promise of guidance that is infallible. It is God Himself who has made this promise therefore it is divine guidance, and because it is divine it is infallible, unerring guidance – “He will make your paths straight.” Parental guidance may be loving but it is never infallible because parents are fallible. God’s guidance is never in any way subject to error or mistakes, and He cannot make a mistake because He is God. It isn’t wrong to confer with flesh and blood (Galatians 1:16); but primarily we must confer with the Lord Himself because whatever man may advise it is liable to error, it is human. In contrast with this, God’s guidance is faultless and we can therefore rely upon it. This is the promise that God makes to every one of His children.
2. OUR PART: THE CONDITION OF DIVINE GUIDANCE
What do we have to do to secure God’s guidance? The Lord does not force His will upon us. He reveals it to us and offers to show us the way, but we may refuse to do His will and go along the pathway of His leading. What is the condition which we have to meet? It is indicated in the words “In all your ways acknowledge Him”.
- 1. We must acknowledge Him. What does this mean? To find out the real meaning of these words we must look at verse 5, where we learn that to “acknowledge Him” means negatively: “lean not on your own understanding”; and positively: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart”. To acknowledge the Lord really means to abandon any understanding of our own (Proverbs 3:7) – “Do not be wise in your own eyes” – and to trust in the Lord with all our hearts that He will give the needed guidance. The words “trust” and “lean” both mean the same thing, so the verse could read, ‘Lean on the Lord and do not lean on your own understanding’; or, ‘Trust God and don’t trust at all in yourself!’
- 2. We must acknowledge Him in our ways (see verse 6 KJV). Here we place the emphasis upon the word “in”. We are to acknowledge Him just where He has placed us, in every area of our lives; in health and affliction, when we are well and strong, and when we are tried and tested – compare Proverbs 3:11-12. There is no strain or stress in the life of the one who is guided in this way by the Lord – look up Isaiah 30:15.
- 3. We must acknowledge Him in ALL our ways. Here the emphasis is upon the word “all” in verse 5. We are to trust the Lord with all our heart and in all our ways we are to acknowledge Him; if and as we seek grace to do this we shall be guided by the Lord Himself.
“Lean on, trust and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind, and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognise and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” (Amplified Bible)