Summary: In perparing for 2009 are Christians Trusting God for their guidance. We stand today at the gate of a new year and see the road ahead. We cannot see far, and without God’s wisdom we will not see with understand¬ing. At best, we expect to experience, beyon
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Trusting God’s Guidance
We stand today at the gate of a new year and see the road ahead. We cannot see far, and without God’s wisdom we will not see with understand¬ing. At best, we expect to experience, beyond our present limited horizon, some complex and confusing turns in the road that will test our highest knowledge and deepest commitment. There will be hills to climb and bumpy sections to cross. How will we fare? Do we have any assurance that we can safely and successfully make it?
Our text says we can make it—and victoriously if we will trust God’s guidance. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
This is an excellent watchword for the year, a battle cry for the testing times, a comfort and strength for our uncertainty. It is a sufficient substitute for a road map, even though our eyes cannot discern the turns, the stops, the difficulties, or the pleasures ahead. What does this text say to us?
I. God can guide us in our everyday living.
In every decision, every action, in every development of our lives, God will direct our paths.
A. The analogy of a road builder and maintenance chief are suggested in the word
These assure that we travel to a desired destination as the road
is built and maintained.
The Hebrew language contains several words for road or path, including words that refer to a highway, a way, a narrow path, a broad path, a trodden path, and a customary path or road.
The word in Proverbs 3:6 is the customary or usual path or road. God relates to us as road builder and maintenance chief in the customary or day-to-day trav¬els of our lives.
God cuts the road straight and keeps it useful. That is what is meant by the promise, "He shall direct thy paths." We can get where we ought to be because God is available to prepare the way. He is active in all our affairs.
We may not see the road builder and the maintenance chief dur¬ing every mile traveled, but we do not move an inch without their help. This analogy does not say enough, however.
B. God goes with us.
The God who can guide us does, in fact, become per¬sonally involved with us on every inch of our journey.
He promises: "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye" (Ps. 32:8);
"For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death" (Ps. 48:14);
"The LORD shall guide thee continually" (Isa. 58:11);
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).
II. God can guide us, but three conditions determine his guidance.
A. Acknowledge him. First, "in all thy ways acknowledge him." That is, in all the steps of your journey, see that you acknowledge God as your guide. We have likely had the experience of meeting a person on the street whom we knew well but who was preoccupied in thought or conversa¬tion and did not respond to our greeting.
We either smilingly passed on by that person, spoke again, or touched the person on the shoulder. No slight was intended; our acknowledgment was simply missed. We also have experienced times when a preoccupied family member did not hear what we said, though we spoke directly to him or her.
If this can happen in our relationships with friends and family members, it surely can happen in God’s relationship with us. By our preoccupation we may miss his guidance. So if we have God’s guidance, we must pay attention to him with the sensitivity of a faith that is alive and expectant, and not just in special moments of devotion and prayer. We are to acknowledge him in all our ways, in the days and the nights, at work and play, in rest or worship, in relationships, and when we are alone.
B. Trust him.
This brings us to the second condition of God’s guidance:
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart."
We trust him in the hours of spe¬cial need when there is no one else to trust. Or we trust him when we are called upon to do some unique assignment with which we feel insecure. But how about our trust level when we are unaware of needs, or when the ordinary experiences of life are in process?