God Our Guide
This is a dark world of sin, error, and uncertainties. It is weak and transitory. Man, God’s chief and highest work in the things of creation, is weak, ignorant, and can of himself do absolutely nothing. Though he may have a most scholarly mind, he cannot peer with any degree of certainty one hour into the future. Who knows what the morrow may have in store? Life may run about the same as today, or fortune may come, or misfortune. Man may plan for the future, but the plan may never be carried into effect. “It is not in man… to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23)
There is one, however, that knows all future things and shapes the destiny of man. We are invited to commit our way unto Him. He has promised to guide us with His eye (Psalm 32:8). Life lies before us like an unknown sea, none know how many days’ journey it is across, nor how much sunshine and shadow there may be on the way. With the unknown expanse before me, and I, in my ignorant finiteness, not knowing which way to take, rejoice exceedingly in my heart to be permitted to commit my way unto Him who makes the clouds His chariots, and rides upon the wings of the wind, and stills the wave. He knows the best way and will direct in tender care my every step. He guides me with His eye, and leads me by His own right hand beside the still waters and into green pastures.
Why are there so many anxious hearts, so much unrest, so many discontentments and fears? It is because man is attempting to direct his own way. He feels his weakness, and fears; he knows his ignorance, and becomes anxious. How blessed to walk out upon life’s way trusting in God and casting every care upon Him! The waves may sometimes dash around our feet, but we are looking up unto Him who shall guide us continually. The secret of a happy and successful life is to let God lead us. When we get in a hurry and pass on ahead of the Lord, devising, contriving, planning over our work and way, then come fears and failures.
Many Christians find it difficult to know the will of God and understand His leadings. Many hearts are longing to know God’s will and way. You may always know. Do not hurry, only wait, pray, and trust, and God will plainly and unmistakably teach you His way and give you a sweet consciousness in your soul of His guidance. Sometimes it may require long waiting. I have for months been almost daily praying and sometimes rising a great while before day to seek God beneath the stars to know His will in a certain matter. Sometimes it seems I must act, but God whispers in sweet stillness, “Only wait.”
The Word Our Guide
In many affairs of life we need no guidance other than the Word of God. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Much reading of the Scripture will impart wisdom and knowledge, and be a help to us in directing the affairs of life. You may have a difficult matter to settle with your neighbor. Open your Bible and read: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matthew 7:12) Quite likely this will enable you to settle the matter in perfect satisfaction to all. Someone may have done you much harm, now what must you do? Open your book of guidance and read: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves… Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) Thus, much of life’s duties and affairs can be determined and decided by the Word of God.
The Spirit’s Impressions
The Holy Spirit is given us for a guide. With respect to our conduct and our duty, we often feel the impressions of the Spirit. The Word of God tells us to give of our goods as the Lord has prospered us, but the Spirit may often impress us as to where to give.
We feel impressed by the Spirit to give, we feel impressed to go to a certain place, we feel impressed to pray for such a one, we feel impressed to fast and pray, etc. Many a precious soul that once was full of joy and fatness is today in unrest and leanness because these impressions have been resisted. But are there not impressions given by an evil spirit? Most certainly, and these impressions have led many an honest soul into the wildest of fanaticism. Thank God, by living very humble, with all our motives very pure, and by acquaintance with the Word of God, we may know the voice of the Spirit of God and that of the evil spirit. I have known people to receive and obey impressions to fast and pray that were given by Satan. God’s Word and God’s Spirit favor fasting and praying, but both are bounded by sound judgment; and in such matters we should not follow a spirit beyond what common sense would approve.
It is blessed and beautiful to be led by the Spirit of God. If its impressions are not resisted, but encouraged by cheerful obedience, they will lead us into a blessed felicity with God and a deep acquaintance with Him. An evil spirit’s whisperings can be very easily detected by one who has much communion with the Lord. Recently, while standing on a steamer’s deck, it was whispered to me that the steamer was an ill-fated vessel, and that I never should see home again. At first I did not know but that it was the voice of God, but soon I felt attempts being made to cast over me a tormenting fear; this aroused my suspicion that it was not God speaking, and to be convinced I allowed the spirit to talk on. For a while it tried to torment me with fears that I should never see the dear ones at home again, and then said, “You may as well cast yourself overboard into the deep.” Ah! now I knew the Satanic spirit and I rebuked it in Jesus’ name. I reached my home in safety. Praise the Lord! Try the spirits by the Word; Satan will soon expose himself.
In the sure guidance of God we have His Word and His Spirit and also His providences. Again, we would say, oh, how blessed to await the providences of God! His providences are always in favor of the righteous. “All things work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28) How many can look back through their lives and see how the providences of God have directed their ways. They may have planned, but God’s providence overthrew and brought better things to pass. Trust in the providences of God, commit your way unto Him, patiently wait, and He will guide you into the way that is best. Never get in a hurry, but wait on the Lord, and He will always make the way plain before you. I have learned never to take a step until I know it is ordered of God. In the providence of God, Joseph was sold to a company of Ishmaelites and cast into prison and thus brought to be ruler over all Egypt. In the providences of God, Kish’s asses went astray and Saul being sent in search of them was led to the prophet Samuel, who anointed him king over Israel. You may meet with losses, all things may seem decidedly against you; but be patient, trust in the providence of God, and in time you will see His kind favor.
If you value your happiness and success in life, wait on God. If you do not know which way to go or what thing to do, wait until you do know. God will surely guide you; He will open the way clear and plain before you. When He has given you full assurance, then go forward in all security. Mountains may rise before you, but He will pluck them up and cast them into the sea. Rivers and seas may lie across your path, but He will divide the waters and let you pass through. Live humbly and only for the glory of God. Trust in Him with all the strength of your soul. See that all motives are as pure as heaven. Prayerfully seek a knowledge of God’s will, patiently wait on Him, cheerfully and promptly obey when His will is known, and He will lead you in the path of security, strewing the way with blessings and glory, and make your life one golden gleam of light across this dark world to lead others to the Lamb.