Summary: If you want clear guidance in difficult and confusing times, pay attention to God's Word, pray, obey, and experience God's peace.
Two old friends met one day after many years. One attended college and became very successful. The other did not attend college. He never had much ambition, yet he still seemed to be doing very well.
Curious as to why, the college graduate asked his friend, “How has everything been going with you?”
The less-educated, less ambitious man replied, “Well, one day, I opened my Bible at random, and dropped my finger on a page. The word under my finger was oil. So, I invested in oil, and boy, did the oil wells gush. Then I tried the same method again, and my finger stopped on the word gold. So, I invested in gold, and those mines really produced. Now, I'm as rich as Rockefeller.”
The successful, college graduate was so impressed that he rushed to his hotel, grabbed a Gideon Bible, flipped it open, and dropped his finger on a page. When he opened his eyes, he saw that his finger rested on the words, “Chapter Eleven.” (Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky; www.PreachingToday.com)
Uh oh! Perhaps, that’s not the guidance he was looking for. You know, it seems that a lot of people are in need of guidance in these days of uncertainty and turmoil.
So how do we get it? How do we get the kind of guidance we need? How do we discern what is best in our situation? How do we discover God’s good and perfect will every time we have a decision to make? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 24, Genesis 24, where we see an example how people of faith have received God’s guidance for nearly 4,000 years.
Genesis 24:1-4 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, that I may make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” (ESV)
Isaac is 40 years old, well past the time for him to get married, so Abraham sends his old, trusted servant to find Isaac a wife.
Genesis 24:5 The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” (ESV)
That’s a great question! Abraham’s relatives are 450 miles away, and there are very few women who would be willing to travel that far to marry someone they’ve never known or seen before. So if the woman won’t come to the man, Abraham’s servant wants to know, “Can I take the man to the woman?”
Genesis 24:6-9 Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter. (ESV)
Abraham is insistent, “Do not take my son out of THIS land, which God promised to me and my descendants.” He asks his servant to swear an oath, and the matter is settled, but the question is, “Why is Abraham so insistent?” It’s because he has heard from God. God’s Word to Him was very clear: “I am giving your offspring THIS land, not the land where you came from, but THIS land.”
Abraham pays careful attention to God’s word, and that’s what we must do if we want God’s good guidance. Like Abraham, we must…
PAY ATTENTION TO GOD’S WORD.
We must listen to what God has already told us. We must operate within the bounds of Scripture.
You see, God has already spoken to us in this book, the Bible, and He will never lead us in a direction contrary to the principles He has already laid out right here in His Word. God doesn’t contradict Himself, so if we want to discern His will, all we have to do is open this Book.