Training for Reigning - 43 - Some Guidance Notes

IN THE LAST chapter two ways of solving problems were outlined, and it was suggested that you deliberately try giving the Lord His rightful place as counsellor of your life; Isa. 9:6. Only the problems of separate existence were considered at the time. But it should be understood that the principle of seeking to allow the Lord to direct our course applies to every possible problem we may face.
In those far off times when the people of Israel were migrants in the wilderness they were provided with three forms of guidance - three forms which picture for us our own resources, though so little understood.
1. The Pillar of Cloud, or of Fire: Num. 9:15-23. This sets before us guidance by the Holy Spirit.
2. The Two Silver Trumpets: Num. 10:1-10. They represent Old and New Testaments - God’s Word.
3. The Ark of the Covenant: Num. 10:33-36; Josh. 3:3-4. Being the symbol of God’s presence in the midst of His people, it is a particular type of the Lord Jesus. It was carried before them, covered but in full view, that they might follow it, reminding us that the Lord Jesus is the great Example for the following of His people; John 21:19-22.
Here then are the three major ways in which the Lord guided His people then, and will do so still - if we permit Him. Let me try to jot down, as simply as I can how a young Christian may learn God’s mind for him, or her.
For our purposes the example of the Lord Jesus and the teachings of the Word may be linked together. His example becomes our guidance in all details of our behaviour before God and men; 1 John 2:6. We cannot walk in His steps, but we are commanded to follow His steps; 1 Pet. 2:21. For instance, in this chapter the exhortations are modelled on His example with reference to God’s guidance for us: - when we have strong desires to do certain things - well, mainly because we want to do them: 2:11;
- when people talk about us, even saying things about us that aren’t true: 2:12; - when authorities make irksome regulations, such as those affecting our school life, or our employment, or riding a bicycle, or driving a car: 2:13-16; when we believe the Lord has given us a job, but later on we find that our employer is unreasonable, unjust, froward (perverse), buffeting us even for well-doing . . . and we feel like telling him (or her) off, or like quitting. Or when people may revile us, hurting our feelings, and even cause us to suffer - at such times the example of the Lord Jesus stands out in striking contrast to guide us away from the action our own sin-spoiled natures would prompt us to employ: 2:18-23.
Indeed, the whole Bible is crammed with guidance for right living. These counsels govern the major, well-defined problems of life. BUT THERE IS MUCH MORE! From Christ’s example, and from the Scriptures, generally, we may gather the Lord’s mind concerning most of the lesser details of daily living. Indeed, I believe that there is guidance given therein to cover every possible contingency of life - if we had eyes to see and hearts to understand. After all, the Bible is the living Word (Heb. 4:12) of the living God, capable, is it not, of completely equipping His children unto every good work? (2 Tim. 3:16-17). So let me note a few simple principles that even a very young Christian can make use of.
I. The first thing needed is the settled desire to have God’s will rather than our own; Psa. 25:9; Matt. 11:29-30; Rom. 12:2; Luke 22:42. For be it clearly understood, Beloved, that unless this is our earnest quest we might just as well give up seeking His direction; Isa. 50:10-11; 66:2. If what we desire, and what we think, and what we decide to do, are to be our guides, then we shall be taking matters into our own hands, and God will be shut out. In Psa. 106: 13 we read concerning Israel, "they waited not for His counsel"; and nearly all their wilderness blunders, including the golden calf episode, had this attitude of self-sufficiency as a leading cause. They considered they knew what to do in the circumstances . . . and they did it . . . and so blundered their way into sickening sin. The Bible records many instances of this kind of misguidance. Yet notice carefully that that verse does not say they didn’t pray about their problem. It says, "they waited not for His counsel." So the very first step is to desire His will rather than our own, and therefore to be determined to wait until we receive His counsel.
2. We should expect to receive it from His Word.
(a) He commonly seeks to give guidance in many daily affairs BY SPEAKING TO US THROUGH HIS WORD WHILE WE ARE READING.
Don’t just read your Bible as a religious duty. If you have a problem, tell it out in detail before the Lord. Then, pleading Psa. 25:9, ask Him to speak to you through His Word as you read it. As you read, something may attract your attention. Stop, then, and consider it; because the Lord may have your answer, or some detail of it right there. (Usually I jot it down on paper). It may not seem to have anything to do with your problem; but keep lifting up your heart to God to open your understanding. Look over the words and their connection, carefully. If some other passage comes to mind look it up and jot down whatever comes before you. If your time runs out, keep your notes and go back at it when next you are reading. For while He may give you your answer the first time you read, yet it may have a number of details that can be revealed to you only as you continue to read His Word for several days. Furthermore, He may desire to instruct you, also, re matters other than the one for which you may be seeking light.
I keep some scribblers in which are noted a good many of such searchings and their answers. Most of them are too long to describe here. But let me tell of one brief example. While having believers’ meetings one time I found the ministry trend to be leading me to a subject I much desired to avoid. So I sought the Lord’s mind as to whether or not to continue. I seemed unable to recall anything from the Word that would guide me; but was reading in Colossians, and so asked Him to speak to me from His Word and to reveal to me His mind. But nothing that was read seemed to give any light. Now it is only a little epistle, and doesn’t take long to read: so I decided to finish it. I began to wonder if the Lord did not intend to answer me that day. But He was true to His promise in Psa. 25:9. His answer was given plainly, even with definiteness - as it has been given so many other times and for all sorts of problems. And if you would care to read the second last verse of that epistle you will see for yourself what His answer was.