Psalm 25:4, 5; Isaiah 30:21
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Have you ever been lost on the way to an important appointment? Some years ago I was on my way to a dentist appointment to get a cap reglued to the root of one of my front teeth. How did it come about that I broke that cap off? I’m glad you asked!
It was my candidating sermon for my second church. I would preach the Sunday morning service where the congregation could see how well I did in the pulpit, after which they would vote me in or out as their next pastor. That’s how it is done in most Baptist churches. During the break between Sunday school and the worship service, I and several men were standing in the parking lot talking. One of the men offered me a Sen-Sen breath freshener – one of those licorice-tasting black had little candies. As I nervously bit down on the Sen-Sen, the cap from my front tooth popped out of my mouth! I whissstled and ssspit all over my sermon notes that morning! It was a sssserious sssermon, and there were quite a few giggles and chuckles during my delivery! But I was called to be the pastor of West Lenox Baptist Church!
Back to the dentist appointment: It was my first visit to this particular dentist, and I was taking a shortcut on a country dirt road to get there in plenty of time. But I came to an unmarked fork in the road, and I didn’t know which way to go! After trying to figure out which road to take, I decided to pray about it. There in the car I bowed my head:
God, I know You know which road to take, and I don’t. And I don’t think you want me to be late for my dentist appointment. It also says in Proverbs 3:5 and 6, “Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.”
I didn’t hear a voice saying “Take the right hand road,” or “Take the left.” But I chose one way over the other and it was the correct choice! Now you can say I had a 50% chance of making the right decision. But I believe God showed me His way, and taught me which path to take! Why? Because He is the God of my salvation; and I try to wait on Him all the day!
There are much bigger decisions in life than choosing which of two roads to take! But the Scripture stands, and so does the principle behind it!
- “What profession do you want me to follow, Lord?” This is a good question to ask God in high school or later, or even before.
- “Where should I go to college? Or should I train for a more blue-collar profession?” This can be asked before your first career, or even before a second or third career choice.
- “Whom should I date, God?” And when a relationship becomes serious, “Whom should I marry?” This is important even when we start dating, because emotional attachment can become serious. To follow your heart without thinking and praying it through can be dangerous! (see Jeremiah 17:9).
- “How many children should we have? What kind of parenting skills do I and my mate need to learn?”
There are hundreds of other decisions we make which would benefit from divine guidance! And one of the best Scriptures with which to make such requests is Proverbs 3:5 and 6: “Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.”
But did you notice there are some requirements to this request?
- Hebrew poetry (of which the book of Proverbs is a thirty-one chapter example) is most often in the form of two ideas that either compliment or contrast one another.
✡ “Show me...” and “...teach me...” are complimentary couplets, as are “...Your ways...” and “...Your paths ....” Are you teachable? Are you ‘showable’? I have a grandson who is not. It is hard to teach him some- thing when he says, “I already know all about it!” ✡ “Lead me...” and “...teach me...” are also comple- mentary couplets. What are we asking God to lead and teach us? His truth! And you find His truth in Him and in His word, the Bible! ➔ Jesus is called “...the Word...” in John 1:1 and 14 (see also I John 1:1; 5:7; Revelation 19:13). And He plainly said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ➔ In John 17:17 Jesus, in His prayer to the Fat- her said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (see also II Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:15; I Thessalo- nians 2:13; II Timothy 2:15; James 1:18).
- “…for You are the God of my salvation….” In order to have the capacity to be led and taught by God, you must have Jesus Christ as your Savior! As Peter told the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
- “…on You I wait all the day.” This is making Jesus the Lord of our lives (the One who controls our lives).
✡ As we read in Psalm 123:2, “...as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He has mercy on us.” ✡ We must be patient as Christians to wait for God’s lead- ing, timing, and instructions! (see also Psalm 27:14; 37:9; Isaiah 40:28-31).
The second featured Scripture is Isaiah 30:21: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ ”
- Although the ultimate fulfillment of this verse is in the millennial kingdom, by God’s Holy Spirit who indwells every true Christian (see Romans 8:9), I believe that this also applies to us today! (see Acts 16:6-10).
- But we have to be living in tune with the Holy Spirit! Read the fourth chapter of Ephesians to get an idea of the lifestyle that will “…not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30).
God has a path for us to follow! It is not an easy way (see Matthew 7:13, 14), but it is the only way that at the end we will hear Jesus’ words:
good and faithful servant….
Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
(Matthew 25:21, 23)