Summary: A message about the Providence of God.
How Do I Know Where To Go?
Most of us know the story of the first Thanksgiving,at least, we know the Pilgrim version. But how many of us know the Indian viewpoint?
No, I’m not talking about some revisionist, p.c. version of history. I’m talking about the amazing story of the way God used an Indian named Squanto as a special instrument of His providence.
Historical accounts of Squanto’s life vary, but historians believe that around 1608,more than a decade before the Pilgrims landed in the New World,a group of English traders, led by a Captain Hunt, sailed to what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts. When the trusting Wampanoag Indians came out to trade, Hunt took them prisoner, transported them to Spain, and sold them into slavery.
But God and God’s providence had an amazing plan for one of the captured Indians,a boy named Squanto.
Squanto was bought by a well-meaning Spanish monk, who treated him well and taught him the Christian faith. Squanto eventually made his way to England and worked in the stable of a man named John Slaney. Slaney sympathized with Squanto’s desire to return home, and he promised to put the Indian on the first vessel bound for America.
It wasn’t until 1619,ten years after Squanto was first kidnapped, that a ship was found. Finally, after a decade of exile and heartbreak, Squanto was on his way home.
But when he arrived in Massachusetts, more heartbreak awaited him. An epidemic had wiped out Squanto’s entire village.
We can only imagine what must have gone through Squanto’s mind. Why had God allowed him to return home, against all odds, only to find his loved ones dead?
A year later, the answer came. A shipload of English families arrived and settled on the very land once occupied by Squanto’s people. Squanto went to meet them, greeting the startled Pilgrims in English.
According to the diary of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford, Squanto ’became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . He showed [us] how to plant [our] corn, where to take fish and to procure other commodities . . . and was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, and never left [us] till he died."
Who but God could so miraculously weave together the lives of a lonely Indian and a struggling band of Englishmen? While you’re enjoying turkey and pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, share with your family the Indian side of the Thanksgiving story.
Tell them about Squanto, the ’special tool sent by God to save the Pilgrims and as a result changed the course of American history .
Charles Colson, BreakPoint Commentary, November 25, 1998, (c) 1998 Prison Fellowship Ministries
The Providence of God says that He does things ahead of time to make the way ready for His children to walk down.
I want to show you today why it is so important for believers to follow God’s paths.
God’s Paths are Right – The word used here is not our normal word for Righteousness. It really is the simple word for RIGHT. They are the paths God wants to lead us down—the right paths. They are designed to make you stronger. They ARE designed to make you more godly. They are designed by God to lead you to places where He can accomplish His plans.
Don’t say, “I feel God is leading me…” if where you are going isn’t going to make you more godly. God’s paths are right—they are righteous, they are straight.
Look at Deuteronomy with me: 8:6; 10:2; 11:22; 19:9 Get the message? Walk n His ways.
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man—but the end of that way is a way of death.” Stubborn, self-willed sheep persist in grazing in old pastures and walk down well-worn paths. Most of us don’t want to be led. We want our own ways. But we don’t know the best way to go. We don’t know the best way to find spiritual growth. We don’t know the best way to get out of trouble. But we want to go our own way. We’re just like sheep. We need shepherd who will take us down the right paths.
We need to pray, God, keep me from paths that won’t make me stronger. Keep me from activities that might damage my wool and then damage your reputation. The Lord’s Prayer has that little phrase in there “Lead us not into temptation…” I think this is what Christ means. Don’t let me go down paths that I know I’m going to stumble in. Don’t allow me to go down paths where I may sin. Stop me…!
Notice what he says about these paths:
1. Sometimes they may lead through dark valleys. Every mountain has its valleys. We want the mountaintop—we want the lush pastures. And we don’t understand why we have to go through the valleys to get there. Treacherous and dangerous paths are just as much a part of God’s plan as green pastures are. We want the green pastures. We want the still waters. But God sometimes wants us to go through trouble—so we learn to rely on Him. Sometimes the path may take you where you can’t see tomorrow. Sometimes they may take you through some of the deepest crises in life. Sometimes they may take away everything that you hold closest. Sometimes they may be really dark.