10 Studies in Proverbs: 2
Study 2 BEING SURE OF GOD’S GUIDANCE
(Key-verses: Proverbs 3:5-6)
The Bible is full of the subject of divine guidance. Many instances are recorded of the way God guided His servants. In addition to this He gives to His children many clear promises of His desire to guide them. This study is based on one such promise, probably one of the most appealing of all the verses relating to guidance. Life is full of choices; constantly we have to make decisions and we simply do not know which way is right unless we turn to the Lord and ask for His help (Jeremiah 10:23). If you look at this promise in Proverbs you will see that it is conditional; in other words there are two parts to it – God’s part and our part. God says to us, ‘If you will do your part I will do mine’.
- 1. God’s Part: The Promise of divine guidance
Notice how absolutely certain the promise is: “He will make your paths straight”. This is one of God’s great ‘wills’. There are so many uncertain things, but here is one which is absolutely certain; it is, that if we will do our part, He will do His.
- It is the promise of a personally conducted tour through life. See how very personal this is – “He…your…” What an amazing thing it is that God Himself actually wants and offers to lead us right the way through our life and bring us safely to our journey’s end. This is what He promises us in this one verse, and it is important to notice the words “make your paths straight”. This reminds us of the fact that as we travel through life we are faced with confusion, and we are at a loss to know which way is the right way (Proverbs 14:12); but God says He will guide us so that we do not take a wrong turning. Exodus 13:21-22 is an illustration of this, and compare Psalm 25:9.
- It is the promise of guidance relating to every detail of life and for the whole of life. There is no limit to this promise: if we will acknowledge Him He will direct us in all our ways until the end of life. Notice the significance of “your ways”, which includes all the pathways along which we have to travel. Sometimes it is said that God does not guide His children in all the little details of life, that He is far too busy and cannot be concerned to help us in the ordinary, mundane matters which face us each day. This is not true! Whether we need guidance in the home, the business, our work, in friendships – all is important to the Lord. He desires to guide us, and promises to do so – look up Proverbs 16:3.
- It is the promise of infallible guidance. Because God Himself is leading, the guidance He offers is divine guidance, and therefore it is infallible, unerring guidance – “He will make your paths straight”. Parental guidance may be loving but it is never infallible, because parents are fallible. His guidance is never in any way subject to errors or mistakes, and He cannot make a mistake because He is God. Sometimes it’s good to confer with others (Galatians 1:16); but primarily we must confer with the Lord Himself, because whatever man may advise is liable to error because it is human advice. In contrast to this God’s guidance is totally reliable (Proverbs 8:20).
- 2. Our Part: The Condition of divine guidance
What do we have to do to secure God’s guidance? He does not force His will upon us but reveals it to us and offers to show us the way; perhaps we
may refuse to do His will. What is the condition which we have to meet? It is indicated in the words, “in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
- We must acknowledge Him; look firstly at verse 5 where we learn that to “acknowledge him” means negatively: “lean not on your own understanding”; and positively: “trust in the Lord with all your heart”. To acknowledge the Lord really means to abandon any understanding of our own (compare verse 7 – “Do not be wise in your own eyes”). The words “trust” and “lean” both mean the same thing, so the verse could read, ‘Lean on the Lord and do not lean on your own understanding’; or ‘Trust God and don’t trust at all in yourself!’
- We must acknowledge Him in our ways. Here we place the emphasis on the word “in”. We are to acknowledge Him just where He has placed us – in the home, in business, at school, at work. We are to acknowledge Him in good health and bad health, when we are well and strong and when we are tried and tested – compare Proverbs 3:11-12. There is no strain or stress in the life of anyone who is guided in this way by the Lord – look up Isaiah 30:15.
- We must acknowledge Him in ALL our ways. Here the emphasis is on the word “all” (verses 5 and 6). We are to trust the Lord with all our heart and in all our ways we are to acknowledge Him; if and as we seek grace to do this we shall be guided by the Lord Himself.
“Lean on, trust and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind, and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognise and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” (Amplified Bible)
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