The Lord’s GuidanceRelated Media
The Scriptures often speak of the availability of God’s guidance. Indeed, early Israel experienced such in their exodus from Egypt. As the psalmist records it, however, the Ephraimites on their journey to the promised land too often failed to keep in fellowship with the Lord.
Thus, the psalmist points out that the Lord, guided them with a cloud by day and with light from the fire all night. (Ps. 78:14).1 Indeed, a compassionate God:
Guided them safely so they were unafraid;
but the sea engulfed their enemies.
Thus, he brought them to the border of his holy land,
to the hill country his right hand had taken,
He drove out nations before them
and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance,
he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes. (Ps. 78:53-55).
Others also experienced God’s kindness, such as those who sailed on ships. For when the sea waters grew heavy due to a vicious storm, the sailors:
Cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven. (Ps. 107:28-30)
So it is that some Israelites learned to depend greatly on the Lord in their lives before God. As David remarked:
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God….
No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame…
Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore, he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way. (Ps. 25:1, 3a, 8-9)
In this psalm David also refers to his strong belief that God is “my Savior” (v. 5). Therefore, he pleads with the Lord:
Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God, my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long. (Ps. 25: 4-5)
As Futato suggests, “Since David knows the Lord as his guiding shepherd (23:2-4), he can plead for and be assured of the guidance he needs to avoid disgrace.”2 VanGemeren also points to the psalmist’s desire to reproduce God in his life: “He desires to live faithfully in accordance to his will and hopes daily and regularly in his God. Submission to God finds expression in constant trust and godliness.”3 May that be said of the psalmist’s readers as well.
Similar thoughts may be found in David’s later psalms:
In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me. (Ps. 31:1-3)
David’s confident trust in the Lord may also be found in other psalms. Thus, in Psalm 23 where he expresses such trust he views the Lord, as the one who shepherds the humble in paths of righteousness.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.
he makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake. (Ps.23:1-3)
Another psalmist pleads with the Lord to: “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me” (Ps. 43:3). As believers we should follow David’s example, not only in times of trouble and discouragement, but constantly. May we all trust the Lord to guide us every moment of every day! As the hymn writer says:
O God, Our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come.
Be Thou our God while life shall last,
And our eternal home.4
In the 48th Psalm, the psalmist sings praise to the Lord (v.1) and recounts his grace and guidance to the Israelites. He concludes by charging his readers/hearers to appreciate fully what the Lord has done for Jerusalem. Most importantly, he praises the Lord for being Israel’s “God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end” (Ps. 48:14). So, it is that he can say that not only will the Lord guide his people, but will be their God forever.
Such includes not only what lies ahead for God’s people but everywhere, whether on earth or in heaven (see Ps. 139:7-10). As I have written elsewhere, “It is simply the case that the Lord, the sovereign Creator, is a righteous God who can be trusted in every circumstance, no matter how difficult or terrifying.”5
So, Fanny Crosby, the famous hymn writer, can confidently praise the Lord for his gracious guidance:
All the way my Savior leads me;
Oh, the fullness of his love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above;
When my spirit, cloth’d immortal,
Wings it flight to realms of day,
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.6
1 All scripture references are from the NIV.
2 Mark D. Futato, “The Book of Psalms”, in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort (Carol Stream, Il., Tyndale House, 2009), 7:25.
3 Willem A. VanGemeren, “Psalms”, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, eds. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 5:266.
4 Isaac Watts, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”.
5 Richard D. Patterson, “A God Who Cares”, Bible.org., 2016, 13.
6 Fanny J. Crosby, “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.