Summary: Proverbs gives us some practical help in knowing, doing, and enjoying the will of God for our lives. We must exhibit both faith and commitment as we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and listen to the wisdom of others.
Making Wise Decisions
I want to begin this morning by asking you to just shout out the most popular passages from the Bible. What verses do you hear quoted all the time? What’s your favorite Scripture? Here are some that come to mind:
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…”
Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…”
Romans 12:1: “…present your bodies as living sacrifices…”
Philippians 1:6: “…He who began a good work in you will complete it…”
Romans 8:28: “…in all things God works for the good…”
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Let’s admit something right at the beginning. When some of us hear these verses, we simply check out. We’ve heard them so many times before that they’ve lost their impact. As soon as someone gives the reference or the first phrase, many of us say something like this in our minds: “Oh yeah, I know all about that verse.” We then disengage and shut down. God’s truths are terrific, but over time, if we don’t keep our hearts tender, they can denigrate into little more than trite sayings.
Familiarity can breed contempt, or at least boredom. Recognizing the risk involved in preaching through a popular proverb, I urge you to sit forward, engage your mind, and prepare your heart for what God wants to say through His Word to you today. As we conclude our series called, “Wise Words To Live By” from the Old Testament Book of Proverbs, I want to camp in Proverbs 3:5-6 so that we can learn how to make wise decisions: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
In a nationwide poll of 5,000 churchgoers, people were asked the following question: “What topic would you most like to hear your pastor preach on?” The number one subject matter was Bible prophecy (I’ll let Pastor Jeff handle that one). The second most asked about topic was how to understand God’s will for life (as quoted by Megginson, “The Promise of Guidance” on SermonCentral.com).
I love the story of the woman driving through the mountains west of Denver when she ran into a snowstorm. She was completely lost and then peered ahead and saw a snowplow. She decided to follow it and kept as close to the machine as she could while it removed snow from the road. At times the blowing snow almost cut off her view, but her faithful guide kept on leading the way. After some time, the plow stopped, and its driver got out and walked over to her car. “Lady, where are you going?” he asked. “I’m on my way to Denver,” she replied. “Well, you’ll never get there following me! I’m plowing a parking lot!”
In order to get to our destinations, we must make sure we’re on the right road. And, we need to follow the One who longs to give direction to our life.
I’d like to recommend a fantastic book by Ray Pritchard called, “The Road Best Traveled.” Some of what I’m going to say this morning is gleaned from his treatment of the topic. One of the things that Ray argues is this: “God wants you to know His will more than you want to know it and He takes personal responsibility to see that you discover it” (Page 18). God is not playing a cosmic game of hide and seek with us. He delights in revealing His purpose and plans if we’re serious about finding His will for our life.
Myths About Guidance
Let me list some common myths that we need to identify and dispel before we go much further.
Myth #1: God’s will is hard to find. While many of us struggle with trying to discern what God wants us to do in specific situations, much of what He desires is already revealed in the Bible. Referring to God’s words of wisdom, Proverbs 6:22 puts it this way, “When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.” The Word of Guide guides us, protects us, and speaks to us. In other words, the Bible has already revealed God’s will in most of the situations in life.
For instance, just from what we’ve learned in Proverbs this past month, God’s will is for us to revere Him and seek after wisdom. It’s also God’s will that we monitor our mouths so that we speak words of life instead of sentences of death to people. God has also given guidance for our family relationships and has personalized it for husbands, wives, grandparents, parents, and children. Last week we discovered that God’s will is for us to avoid fatal friends, to cultivate some faithful friendships, and to put our faith in our forever friend. Some of us are searching hard for guidance when we forget that God has already revealed Himself in the pages of the Word of God.