1 August 2021 PM – Proverbs 3:5-6 – Guidance – Scott Childs
Introduction: The captain of a ship looked into the dark night and saw a light in the distance. Immediately, he told his signalman to send a message, “Alter your course ten degrees south.” He promptly received a reply, “Alter your course ten degrees north.”
The furious captain sent another message, “Alter your course ten degrees south. I am a captain!” Soon another reply was received, “Alter your course ten degrees north. I am seaman third class Jones.”
The captain sent a final message, “Alter your course ten degrees south. I am a battleship.” The reply was, “Alter your course ten degrees north. I am a lighthouse.” Source Unknown
We must stop trying to direct our own lives and seek God’s direction.
Transition: This evening, I want us to study together Proverbs 3:5-6 and uncover God’s four instructions on getting direction from God.
God’s first instruction is to …
1. Trust Wholeheartedly in God
a. We must NOT trust ourselves
1) Self-sufficiency and self-dependence are characteristics of our fallen nature. Wardlaw
2) We have a proneness to rely on ourselves – on our own might, our own wisdom, and our own resources. Ibid
3) God condemns this error in (Proverbs 28:26) “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.“
b. We must trust Jehovah
1) To trust God is to have confidence in Him.
2) We do not trust people who we do not know well. If a stranger knocked on your door and asked for $100 in cash said that he would later that day bring you $100 worth of groceries, you would not do it. NO! Why not? Because you do not know him or trust him. If a close friend made the same offer, you would more likely trust him.
3) One reason that we fail to trust God is that we do not know Him as well as we should. Every day, we should be looking for characteristics of God in the Scriptures. Seek to know God’s character through His Word. (Longsuffering, good, loving, unchanging, ready to forgive, plenteous in mercy, faints not, all fruits of Spirit, His way is perfect, comforts, faithful, will help, rock, fortress, thoughts & ways higher, holy, nothing too hard, A-W, our help, works all together for good, wise, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, cares, excellent in power, can do above all we ask)
4) God says we must trust Jehovah with all our heart. God desires our wholehearted confidence in Him. Our heart includes our emotions, thoughts and will. Trust Him, not just in word, but also in passion.
5) God does not want us asking for His direction while intending to follow our own plans if we do not like His. The Jews foolishly did that when they asked Jeremiah to seek God’s direction for them after their leader Gedaliah was murdered (Jer 42). When God told them not to go to Egypt, they went anyway because that is what they wanted to do all along.
6) We must wholeheartedly trust God’s direction, even when it conflicts with our personal desires.
God’s first instruction for getting His direction is to Trust Wholeheartedly. The second instruction is to …
2. Rest Exclusively on God
a. We must not lean on our own understanding
1) When we lean on something, we rest on it. For example, if I lean on this pulpit, I rest my weight on it.
2) Our own understanding is our own discernment. It refers to the ability to distinguish between two things.
3) A person’s ability to distinguish rests heavily on his knowledge of the subject. If you went on a bushwalk, and you saw several birds. In order for you to understand or distinguish the types of birds and the gender of the birds, you would have to know a fair bit about those birds.
4) Leaning upon our own finite understanding rather than God’s infinite understanding when making a decision is not wise. It is acting as if we know better than God does.
5) When we need direction, we must not rest on OUR discernment, with our limited knowledge database.
b. We must lean on God alone
1) God alone has an unlimited database of knowledge. He is not limited by time. He sees the future more clearly than we can see the present. He knows all the factors involved.
2) We must rest fully on God’s superior understanding. (Psalms 147:5) “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.“
3) When making a decision, we must rest exclusively on God’s divine understanding, even if it does not seem logical to us.
God’s first instruction for getting His direction is to Trust Wholeheartedly. The second instruction is to Rest Exclusively. The third instruction is to …
3. Listen Carefully to God
a. We must acknowledge God
1) To acknowledge simply means to know. Know what?
2) Wardlaw states, “Such acknowledgment of God implies the careful consultation of God’s word for guidance.”
3) We must seek to know God’s mind by listening to what He says. He reveals His mind through the statements, commands, and principles in the Bible. He also reveals His mind through the Holy Spirit as we pray.
4) We must seek to know God’s mind in all our ways. Our ways describe our paths, our manner of life, our habits and our directions. All our ways are every event in life.
5) On Wednesday nights, we are learning that every event of our life is important to God. We must prove ALL things. Likewise, we must acknowledge God in ALL things. We belong entirely to God; therefore, He has a plan for every part of our life – decisions, burdens, friendships, work, etc.
b. Acknowledging God is listening to God.
1) Since God often reveals His direction through His Word, the more carefully we listen to what God said in His Word, the clearer we will hear His direction.
2) Unless we come to God’s Word with a sincere desire to follow it and to relinquish whatever we may have planned the moment we perceive any inconsistency between our plan and His will, we are not “acknowledging” him. Wardlaw
3) We must sincerely believe that God will never direct us contrary to His Word.
4) Therefore, listen carefully for His direction as you read the Bible. Strive to get to know God intimately as you study and meditate on His Word.
God’s first instruction for getting His direction is to Trust Wholeheartedly. The second is to Rest Exclusively. The third is to Listen Carefully. The fourth instruction is to …
4. Expect Confidently from God
a. God has promised to direct our paths
1) The word for paths is a synonym for the word ways earlier in the verse. It is the road you travel in life or every event in life. Your path may be your work, your friendship, your marriage, your education, your hobby, your pleasure, or your entertainment. It includes every path.
2) If we follow the first three instructions in these verses, God promises that He will direct our paths.
3) The word direct means to make straight or smooth. The worst road I have ever travelled was in PNG. It was so rough and crooked that only a good four-wheel drive and experienced driver could handle it. When God directs our path, it will be straight and smooth, but not necessarily easy.
b. We must confidently expect direction from God.
1) If we fulfil God’s requirements, we must expect Him to do as He has promised.
2) God will direct our paths every time we follow the instructions in these verses.
Conclusion: Do you need direction from God tonight? If so, follow these instructions. (Review) To succeed, you will really need is to get to know God better. You will also need to fill our mental database with as many principles from His Word as you can. These instructions are not quick and easy. They are intense and thorough. However, God promises that He will direct those who follow them.