The words were scrawled on a paper napkin. It was late and dark, and I was straining to make out the scribbled letters. I was on my way to a retreat center, and I knew that the students were waiting on me to get there. I was the speaker at the weekend conference.
When the leader of the conference had asked me to speak, I was very honored and excited. He sent me the directions to the retreat center. But as I was preparing to leave, I was in a hurry and didn’t want to take the time to fire up the computer and print out the instructions. So instead of printing out his clear, step-by-step instructions, I decided to scribble them down on a napkin. And now, I was struggling with the road-signs and turns.
The good news is that every day, God gives us instructions to follow. But will we follow His instructions? The right decision is to focus on those instructions and follow His advice.
“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.” (Psalm 25:4–5, NKJV)
1. God provides guidance for living. David’s request was for God to cause him to know the ways that God desired for him to walk. David wanted to know the journey he must make for God’s pleasure. And David had the certainty that God would do that very thing. Like a young student learning grammar from his teacher, we must be students of the Lord learning the pathway to His pleasure.
It is with this expectancy and certainty that we move forward on our journey each day. We ask for God to make known to us the way that we should live for His pleasure. When we know the way of the Lord, then we can make the right decision no matter the circumstances we face.
When we transfer our trust into the hands of God, then we can expect Him to bend our hearts to His truth. Truth that belongs to God is that which is solid, valid, and trustworthy, absolutely factual, and without error. David declares that his life must bend to what God says, for what God says is absolutely true (Jer 23:29).
2. We can rely on the One who saved us. It’s really simple. If someone has enough passion for us to deliver us from our greatest threat, then we can trust their heart to direct us to the best path on our journey. David declared that he would listen to God and follow His instructions because of who God is and what God is doing.
We rely on God because He is God. The specific name that David uses for God in verse 5 is Elohim. The name of God reveals His personhood and personality. Elohim points to the One who is the Creator (Gen 1:1). He is the One who laid the foundations of the earth and who stretched out the universe on its line with absolute exactness (Job 38:4-5). He is the Sustainer of creation and life (Isa 40:26). He is sovereignly supreme and sure of all things. He is in control of the entire scope of human history and life (Rev 10:5-6). And because He is Elohim, we can rely upon His purpose and design as the very best for all humanity.
We rely on God because He is God, but He is also the God of our salvation. He is the One who has delivered us from sin’s embrace and given us victory through Jesus Christ His Son. He cares so completely for us that He determined to save us from our greatest threat. Paul said it this way:
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32, NKJV)
The God who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe is the One who has brought salvation to sinners through Christ. If God cares so much to deliver us from sin’s chains, we can rely on Him to teach us the pathway to a glorious life each day.
3. Wait on His work in our life. So often, we want to hear what God has to say about our journey, but we get impatient. It’s like waiting for Thanksgiving dinner. You know that the main course is coming, but you get impatient and start nibbling on the scraps around the kitchen. Pretty soon, you’ve filled your stomach with scraps and can’t enjoy the banquet feast that has been provided.
When we look to God’s instructions, we need to be patient, expecting Him to clear the path for His work to shape and create a banquet feast for our day. If we try to take a short-cut through His guidance, nibbling on the scraps, we can miss out on the grandeur of the main course that He has prepared. To follow God’s guidance means that we wait on Him to work through our day. To move in such a way that His presence and purpose become crystal clear to us as we journey through the details of each moment.
So, we wait upon the Lord’s instruction and activity today. We depend upon the God of our salvation to bend our hearts and minds to the truth of life. We listen and follow His instructions that will lead us to honor Him and bring Him pleasure, which is the aim for which you and I were created. The right decision is to follow the instructions of God today.