Whilst on this journey towards our heavenly home, we are often met with crossroads and pathways before us. It is a good desire to seek obedience to God as He moulds us “after His own heart” as we seek what is right in the direction that we take. Sometimes that journey can be difficult and God’s refining fire can be difficult to bear. Thank God, that in Jesus we have the victory. Beware then, of complacency.
In this moulding process to become the mature or complete Christian, we need the Lord’s help. We need His guidance. The previous discussion (in my last Pastor’s Post) on God’s guidance and direction leads us to conclude that God does not leave us to our own means, but instead we are privileged and loved by our heavenly Father to be provided with His guidance and direction.
Psalm 25 gives us an understanding of how our great God guides us. A discussion on God’s guidance must begin with a desire to seek His will. The Psalmist puts it this way:
Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
It begins with prayer, with a desire to seek God’s ways and paths. The psalmist would not have it any other way. The first action is to turn to our loving God. The desire is for God’s ‘truth’. That certainty of truth can only point to scripture. What a blessed thought it is that God, in saving us, is well pleased when our delight is to seek Him first as we turn to His truth, His written word. May the Lord open our heart and eyes to behold the wondrous things out of His word (Ps 119:18). In this verse, the word law (or torah in the Hebrew) is understood to be His instruction, direction and teaching – that through our obedience it ‘may go well with us.’ Though our wait on his guidance is one that must be accompanied by patience, it is yet one of assurance that He will answer our prayer and provide guidance. This is the outflow of having trust in our God (Ps 25:2).
Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
We seek truth, we seek His will, not common man’s opinions, not our own opinions where scripture calls it ‘our own eyes.’ Biases that have the tendency to be corrupted by a sinful nature. Sin needs to be dealt with. So the Psalmist seeks the Lord’s mercy and His forgiveness. Our own tendency towards worldly thoughts and desires must be brought into subjection and submission to the Lord and His will. May the Lord search our heart, try our motives and our intentions. Being purified by the precious blood of our Saviour and having our thoughts guarded by the indwelling of the Holy spirit, we can start afresh to seek God’s guidance. Our spiritual introspection is one that seeks to remove every hindering element of the flesh and to have in its place the unfettered guiding wisdom of God. As we seek God’s leading and answer to prayer, He weighs our responses as He weighs our heart (Prov 21:2), our spirit (Prov 16:2) and our actions (1 Sam 2:3). In this way the Lord is teaching us as we, being Holy Spirit-led, also eagerly engage in this ‘weighing’ process, this spiritual exercise, as we seek His guidance. This is to our maturation and growth on our journey of sanctification. As His children, our appeal for guidance is for the sake of His goodness and our assurance is His steadfast love that endures forever.
Whilst we wait on the Lord, we would be careful to remember that seeking guidance is not a ’passive’ endeavour where we are paralysed into waiting for that lightning bolt of direct revelation. Abraham’s oldest and lead servant was on a quest to find a wife for Isaac, when he said
…. I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren.
Genesis 24:27b (KJV)
This faithful servant, by ‘being in the way’, was actively seeking the Lord’s will. He was not stationary in thought nor in action. The context leading up to this verse showed that the servant took on the responsibility of making assessment, of weighing up the circumstances and responses of others, whilst seeking God’s guidance. The Lord answered His prayer and led him to identify Rebecca to be the bride of Isaac.
Psalm 25 is rich with guidance on God’s guidance! It would do for now to consider this verse:
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
The humble quality (meek, lowly) is that of a servant spirit. Being meek and lowly does not mean to be weak nor without means. Jesus, who is of infinite power and knowledge, humbled himself and took on the form of a servant. He came to serve and not to be served. Such would be the heart attitude of the person whom the Lord leads and teaches. It refers to one who is availed of all the power and knowledge of the most Holy God in Christ Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but does not employ it for a self-centered purpose. Instead, this one has a heart intent on serving, to the benefit of others. Whilst King David (the writer of this psalm) had direct revelation from God, the reference here to the humble is general. The reference to God’s leading is not that of the miraculous nor special specific person but that which is clearly, within the context of the Psalms, available to all His children. Children with a heart that is seeking to make ‘the right decision’, a heart of a servant. Taking into consideration what has been discussed above, God’s leading will arrive at a conclusion or ‘judgement’ (KJV translation, reading ‘The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.’) as to ‘what is right’ (ESV translation) in our decision-making and therefore take a particular path/direction (see also Psalm 23:3). We are an active partner in coming to this ‘right’ decision whilst being led by the hand. In this process we learn. We learn more about God, about ourselves, about how much we need His guidance and how much He cares for us. How good it is, then, that as the Lord leads in what is right, He teaches His way!
Praise be to our God, our guiding Light.
Elder Joshua Lim