How To Find Guidance From God's Word
Psalm 119:105 NIrV “Your word is like a lamp that shows me the way.It is like a light that guides me.”
My pastor, Dr. Lacey, has a saying, "The will of God is the Word of God, and the Word of God is the will of God." What he means to say is this; everything that God wants us to know is wrapped up in the pages of the Bible. It is the guiding light for our life. Every decision we make should be made in the light of what it says.
There is no other book in the world like the Bible. It contains the entirety of truth. It records the only completely accurate history of the world. It holds the only words of prophecy that have ever been fulfilled. Nations have been lifted up by this book. Others have been thrown down when they forsake it.
It is the believer's most precious possession. Men and women have given their lives to give us the Bible in our own language. Even today, believers risk life and limb to acquire just a few of its pages.
Only in the west do we treat this book with contempt. Only here is it viewed as common. Even "Christians" in our western churches have lowered the truth of God's Word to the same level as the religions of the World! I'm sorry, but the Qur'an, the Book of Mormon, and the New World (Jehovah's Witness Version) Bible do not share the same platform as God's Word!
Why? Because John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God."
In the same way that Jesus was God in human flesh, the Bible is God in written script. Every word is completely true, and every word holds the power and the wisdom of God!
So...this book ought to be the at the center of every believer's life. The question is, how do we let God's Word guide our steps?
Rightly Dividing The Word
All of God's Word is true. But there is a grace in the believer's life to separate and correctly interpret what it says. Here are some of the divisions that should be (carefully!) made in the Bible:
Old Testament/New Testament
I am not saying that the Old Testament is obsolete! It is still very important in a believer’s life! But to understand it correctly, it must be read in the right light.
In the Old Testament, Jesus is hidden. Remember, they were looking toward the cross. So many of the specific customs and ceremonies aren’t binding on us now, having been fulfilled by Jesus' sacrifice. For example, I’m reading the book of Leviticus right now. Thank God that we no longer have to offer burnt offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and trespass offerings! These sacrifices and ceremonies are an amazing picture of what Jesus did for us, once and for all! But the principles of the Leviticus still remain – God expects to be honored by all of His people, and especially the spiritual leaders!
In the New Testament, Jesus is clearly revealed. We’re looking back on the finished work of the Cross. No more pictures. No more foreshadows. No more mysteries. Now we can clearly see what Jesus did for us!
It's important to remember, We interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New. For a believing student of the Bible – Jesus can clearly be seen in the Old Testament. Why does this only apply to believers? Because we learn that the veil that covers the Old Testament is only removed when one looks to Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:14 For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
So when we look to the Bible for direction, we need to remember to interpret the Old by the light of the New. For example, God will never tell you to annihilate a nation – but the principle remains. He does not want you to mingle with immorality! You see? The principle remains when it is interpreted through the cross.
What's Said To Israel/What's Said To The Church
Remember, certain things are written directly to the Jewish people. God never promised that the Church would possess the land of Israel. Some of the book of Romans is written specifically to Israel. For example, Romans 11:26 specifically says that “all of Israel will be saved”.
You see, just because God made a covenant with the Gentile believers, doesn’t mean that He cancelled His covenant to the Jews! In fact, when the church is raptured, we know that God's primary focus is going to be directly on the nation of Israel once again.
Having said that, many of God’s promises to Israel in the Old Testament do actually apply to the Church too!
2 Corinthians 1:20For all thepromises ofGodin Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory ofGodthrough us.
Galatians 3:29And if you are Christ’s, then you areAbraham’sseed, and heirs according to the promise.
So the promises that God gave to Abraham now apply to us in the church too. Paul said in Romans 8 that we are a part of the spiritual heritage of Israel. So while Israel maintains its natural heritage – we have a part in their spiritual heritage. We need to know our heritage in order to claim the promises that are rightfully ours!
If we're going to rightly divide the Word of Truth, we need to know what were foreshadows and what is now fulfilled. For example, we know that our Passover lamb was Jesus, who delivered us out of Satan’s power. Jesus fulfilled the Passover! We also know that we no longer have to offer sacrifices for our sin to be forgiven. Why? Because Jesus fulfilled every type of Sacrifice!
Another example of foreshadowing in the Old Testament can be found in the books of history. The Bible says the things that happened to Israel in these books are meant to teach us in the church. So we can see that God will provide for us by looking at His provision for Israel in the wilderness. We can see that we shouldn’t grumble against God or His leaders because of what happened to them when they grumbled against Moses. We know that we shouldn’t stop short of our promise because of what happened to the Israelites in Joshua and Judges.
So it's easy to see that we can find guidance for life today by the foreshadows in the Old Testament.
Now let's look and three specific ways the believers can be led by God's Word.
For issues where there is no direct command, try finding basic principles. You see, many issues in life have no direct command from God, but are still included in scriptural principles.
The Bible doesn’t tell husbands to buy their wives flowers – but it does give the principle of loving your wife!
It doesn’t tell us specifically what movies to watch – but it does give clear warning against violence and lust!
It doesn’t tell us the names of who our friends should be – but we can see clear principles about the nature of godly friends!
When you are faced with a choice and only have a basic principle to go by, make the choice that best fits that principle. Once you've made this choice, don’t worry about whether you made the right one, you can never go wrong when you follow biblical principles!
Some decisions shouldn’t take long to make.
Should I stay home from church today?
No, because we’re not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together!
Should I return the extra money the bank gave me?
Yes, because we are not supposed to steal!
Should I forget about my parents when they’re old?
No, because we’re supposed to honor our father and mother!
A direct command is the simplest form of guidance in God’s Word. These issues are a no-brainer. Five minutes and a concordance will usually give you these types of answers. These commands are so simple! And yet, if someone would just govern their life by them, things would go well!
So what's the problem then with most Christians? Ignorance. Most Christians don't know the commands of God. And yet, Psalm 19:7 says, "The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul." If you want to change your soul, find out what God commands!
When you find this type of direction in the Bible, it cannot be interpreted or explained away! Do try to spiritualize the meaning of “Thou shall not commit adultery” - or make it somehow inapplicable to you!
Examples From History
Sometimes our guidance can come from the example you find in a story. For example:
Daniel, Esther, and the Apostles show us how to fearlessly stand up to godless authorities.
Isaac and Rebekah, Ruth and Boaz, and Elkannah and Hannah give us examples of a healthy husband/wife relationship.
David gives us a good example of true repentance in Psalm 51.
David and Jonathon are a great example of covenant friendship.
As necessary as these good examples are, it is sometimes just as important to learn from the bad examples in the Bible. These are the men and women who show us what not to do:
The wrong way to relate to a person in spiritual authority can be seen in the story of Korah’s rebellion.
The wrong way to get a promotion is exampled by Absalom.
David’s liaison with Bathsheba shows us what a little secret sin can do to a leader.
Here's the key to being guided by Biblical history: every story should be judged by the direct commands and biblical principals you've already discovered in the Bible. Otherwise, how would you know whether a person in the story is a good or bad example to follow? We know that David and Bathsheba are bad examples because of what the Bible has already commanded about adultery. At the same time, we know that David's treatment of Saul is a good example because of the biblical principle of honoring authorities in our life.
The Results Of A Bible-Centered Life
When we take time every day to read God’s word, it becomes easier to know the right decisions to make. Soon, we won't need to look through the Bible to make our choices - we will have enough of it inside of us! Sadly, this isn’t to say that making the decision will be any easier! Sometimes making what you know to be the right choice is a very hard thing to do! But it is always best to follow God’s Word, whether it’s easy or not
Here are some of the benefits of living your life by God's Word:
It becomes easier to hear God's voice in your spirit
I’ve found that when I spend more time in the Bible, it’s easier for me to hear what the Holy Spirit says to me. Why? Because it's the same voice! You learn what God sounds like when you read His Word! You see, the more you hear His voice in His Word, the easier it will be to recognize His voice in your spirit.
You can more accurately judge when someone is speaking truth or lying to you
“Thus says the Lord, you need to trade spouses with your friends” – isn’t a valid word because it disagrees with the real Word of God. This applies to every so-called 'word' that a Christian brother or sister tells you is from God. If it disagrees with the Bible (in command or principle) then it is a false word.
You'll also recognize true prophecy and true words from God. Why? Because it will line up with what you already know the Bible says!
The Bible is the complete revelation of God. Anything that God will ever say to you will flow with what the Bible already says!
You will make the decisions necessary for a successful and prosperous life
Joshua 1:8“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
A life that is led by the Bible is a successful and prosperous life!