Trevor E. Dowen, Cardiff
It is possible to ask the Lord for particular guidance. The Bible reveals the way to live but does not say where. It explains how to be married but does not reveal to whom. It shows the way to be employed but not what job to do. Paul declares, 'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God', Rom. B. 14. There is a divine plan for each believer, but the difficulty is that not everyone who seeks God's guidance honestly desires to receive it. It is possible, and perhaps easier, to ask for approval of one's own way rather than God's. In the Old Testament Jacob received guidance in at least four ways. Firstly, he experienced an inward conviction, Gen. 30. 25. Secondly, he discovered circumstances around him which indicated it was time to move on, Gen. 31. 1, 2. Thirdly, he received a word from the Lord, Gen. 31. 3. Lastly, it was confirmed to him, for as he proceeded 'the angels of God met him', Gen. 32. 1, 2.
There is a divine plan of guidance and direction for each believer for 'the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord'. 'In all thy ways acknowledge htm, and he shall direct thy paths', Prov. 3. 6. 'Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass'. He will guide us if we are willing to be led. We cannot walk securely in light given by another. God treats us as intelligent responsible people and His guidance is individual. 'I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; 1 will guide thee with mine eye', Ps. 32. 8. How restful it is to know His guidance.
Guidance and direction are promised for all believers. It is possible to begin with the confidence that He will guide and in the end there will be assurance He has guided. Not everyone who professes to seek counsel desires God's help and leading. God is willing to guide continually, Isa. 58. 2. Believers are 'his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them', Eph. 2. 10. The word of God must be accepted and trusted for God's plan is sure for each person. The future lies in His perfect design which He discloses step by step and promises that 'he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life', John 8. 12. It is possible in self-will to close the door to God's plan. Whoever rejects God's guidance has no clear pattern for living.
'The way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps', Jer. 10. 23. Human experience confirms that people seek to do their own thing and disregard God. Innumerable wrecked lives bear eloquent testimony to man's inability to shape his destiny for his own good. The daily guidance of God is a privilege and necessity. God alone can point the way. Surrounded by hostile forces man in ignorance can lose his way. Maladjusted and misdirected lives bear witness to the outcome of rejecting God's plan. Doing the will of God creates harmony; to miss this blessing results in discord within.
God's plan is carefully timed. Philip was directed to meet the Ethiopian eunuch at the precise moment he was reading the word of God which he could not understand. The Holy Spirit uses His prerogative to make the message clear and plain. The Spirit never goes contrary to the Holy Scriptures, but always in harmony with them.
Life under God's control rises above the common-place. When one follows the pillar of fire, the Red Sea need not deter. Thus, the child of God becomes the man of God. Perfect obedience to the revealed will of God enables more light to be received. Clear statements from His word supersede all discussions of mankind.
God's remnant were exhorted not to forget 'the Lord their maker that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth'. He was the One 'that divided the sea, whose waves roared: the Lord of hosts is His name'. He put His words in the mouth and covered them in the shadow of His hand, see Is. 51. 13-16. The human eye is exceedingly delicate but God guides with His 'all-seeing' eye. 'Thou God seest me'. Looking to Him is the right direction for believers and to look to the Lord produces radiance and likeness to the Lord. 'When he shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see Him as He is'. But ears must hearken to hear His voice; Samuel realized this. Life under God's guidance rises to a higher plane. Intuition has to do with it, though 'the Voice behind' directs the way to proceed. At other times the door closes or an obstacle bars the progress, and this is the time to ask the Lord again which way to go.