Following God's Voice: A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. Proverbs 16:9
July 9, 2014
A couple of years ago we went on vacation and borrowed a friend’s GPS. This was my first experience with such a gadget and although it had many advantages, there was one overriding factor that I strongly disliked. What was it? Blindly following a voice. You see, I prefer to view the whole picture - a map showing my starting and ending points as well as the entire way in between. Although it was possible that I did not know how to access some of the GPS’s features, I could not see our whole route but simply had to follow the voice as it told me, step by step, which direction to take. With such a limited vision, I did not have 100% confidence in its guidance.
This GPS experience is similar to God and I. Very rarely (if at all?) does God show me the entire map. Instead,
A man's heart deviseth his way:
but the LORD directeth his steps.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD:
and he delighteth in his way.
How does the Lord direct us? Step by step. He doesn’t show us the entire highway, with our route marked in red, and ask for our approval. He chooses instead to guide us step by step.
If you’ve ever played a game of blindfold and allowed someone to lead you around, you know the feeling of having to completely trust the one holding your hand. Your confidence in your next step depends solely on how trustworthy you consider your guide to be. Proverbs 25:19 says it like it is… Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint. If you’ve been fooled before, your confidence in your guide, and in each step, is shaky.
But with God there’s a big difference. Isaiah 41:13 says, For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. The One Who holds our hand is completely trustworthy. We don’t have to worry about our next step. He won’t trick us, or lead us to the wrong destination. He is not the unfaithful man but instead know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God… Deuteronomy 7:9. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 also reminds us that …the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. He holds our right hand and His desire is to calm our fears, help us, establish us and keep us from evil. What more could we want in a guide?
But what about us? How is our confidence? Although we have no reason to doubt our Guide, do we? Is our faith secure in the knowledge that as He guides our steps it will be only for our good to help us, establish us and keep us from evil? Do we believe, even when things are difficult, that His thoughts toward us are thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give [us] an expected end, Jeremiah 29:11? I don’t know about you, but although I know the facts, sometimes I struggle with having the faith to live it out.
We may look ahead and wonder about our future. Perhaps we seem to have more questions than answers as to what we are to do or where we are to go. Sometimes our thoughts dwell on “What if…? or “How will I…? but where is our confidence when these questions arise – in ourselves or in our Guide? We need to do as 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us and… [Cast] down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and [bring] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. He is faithful. Period. The problem is not with our Guide, but with us.
Just this week a friend of mine gave me the following poem. She didn’t know what I was writing this month but the Lord directed her steps to share this with me.
Child of my love, fear not the unknown morrow,
Dread not the new demand life makes of thee;
Thy ignorance doth hold no cause for sorrow
Since what thou knowest not is known of Me.
Thou canst not see the hidden meaning
Of my command, but thou the light shall gain;
Walk on in faith, upon My promise leaning,
And AS THOU GOEST, all shall be made plain.
One step thou seest – then go forward boldly.
One step is far enough for faith to see;
Take that, and thy next duty shall be told thee,
For STEP BY STEP thy Lord is leading thee,
Stand not in fear thy adversaries counting.
Dare every peril, save to disobey;
Thou shalt march on, all obstacles surmounting,
for I the Strong, WILL OPEN UP THE WAY.
Wherefore go gladly to the task assigned thee,
Having my promise, needing nothing more
Than just to know, where’er the future find thee,
In all thy journeying, I go BEFORE.
(from the notebook of Arthur E. Ritchie)
As we take each step today, may we not only say, but also sincerely believe, …the LORD shall be [my] confidence, and shall keep [my] foot from being taken. Proverbs 3:26.