How Does God Guide Us In Truth? #236 #PrayforSalinas
Hello friends and happy Wednesday to you. Please allow me to open with a prayer request for our city: Salinas, Ca. The fire I mentioned earlier in the week has grown significantly, and many houses have burned down, and many others are threatened. Another fire nearby started today and also seems very aggressive. Please pray for our city, and the surrounding areas – these fires are pretty incredible, and it is so, so dry out here. We need rain!
Our Bible readings for the day include 1 Samuel 11, Jeremiah 48, Psalms 25 and Romans 9. Lot’s of big Bible questions we could choose for today: Why did God say that He loved Jacob, but hated Esau? (This isn’t a heavy theological podcast, so I don’t think we will cover that one today.) We could ask why is one of the longest chapters in the Bible a prophecy against Moab? (a good question, but this isn’t exactly an ancient middle East history podcast, so we will skip that one too.) We could ask why the Israelites kept cutting up pieces of things and sending it to all of the tribes of Israel, but this isn’t an ancient cultures of Israel podcast, so I’ll avoid that too. Finally, we could ask what Psalm did Third Day use for some of the lyrics to their best song (IMHO), My Hope Is In You? But that question is answered quickly, as it is our Psalm for today, #25. All of those would be good questions, but our real big Bible question is all about God’s guidance, and how He leads us to truth. So – how does God guide us to truth? I see two major ways that He does this:
#1 – By His Word. Perhaps the primary way that God guides us into His truth is by His Word. I know, I know – that is a Sunday school answer (very elementary!) But I think we can go deep today. Jesus, in His wonderful prayer of John 17, prays this to His Father, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” The Word of God is the ultimate base and foundation of truth. Not our opinions, not our feelings, not what news says, or the president, or the king/queen, or our friends, or whatever, but the Word of God is TRUTH. Psalms 119:60 tells us that the entirety of God’s Word is TRUTH. in 2nd Thessalonians 2, Paul tells us that the antichrist will be able to deceive and lead astray many when he comes, and that those who perish during that time will do so because they do not love the truth – i.e. they do not love the Word of God…a most dangerous place to be in.
9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with every kind of miracle, both signs and wonders serving the lie, 10 and with every wicked deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth and so be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
#2 – By His Spirit. God also guides us by His Spirit who indwells all of those saved by Jesus. Listen to Jesus’ teaching on the guiding ministry of the Holy Spirit:
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.(John 16:13)
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26)
So the Holy Spirit guides us into truth, AND He reminds us of the teachings and Word of Jesus. I take that guidance to mean that the Spirit illumines the Word and gives us understanding, that He helps us remember, recall and accurately apply the Word of Jesus, AND He sometimes actively guides us like He did with Paul and Silas – leading us in one direction, and forbidding us to go in another (See Acts 16.) The same Holy Spirit that helped guide the steps of Paul can still guide us into truth. Here’s Charles Spurgeon on how God guides us into truth:
The little child having begun to walk, asks to be still led onward by its parent’s helping hand, and to be further instructed in the alphabet of truth. Experimental teaching is the burden of this prayer. Lead me according to thy truth, and prove thyself faithful; lead me into truth that I may know its preciousness, lead me by the way of truth that I may manifest its spirit. David knew much, but he felt his ignorance and desired to be still in the Lord’s school; four times over in these two verses he applies for a scholarship in the college of grace. It were well for many professors if instead of following their own devices, and cutting out new paths of thought for themselves, they would enquire for the good old ways of God’s own truth, and beseech the Holy Ghost to give them sanctified understandings and teachable spirits. “For thou art the God of my salvation.” The Three-One Jehovah is the Author and Perfector of salvation to his people. Reader, is he the God of your salvation? Do you find in the Father’s election, in the Son’s atonement, and in the Spirit’s quickening all the grounds of your eternal hopes? If so, you may use this as an argument for obtaining further blessings; if the Lord has ordained to save you, surely he will not refuse to instruct you in his ways. It is a happy thing when we can address the Lord with the confidence which David here manifests, it gives us great power in prayer, and comfort in trial. “On thee do I wait all the day.” Patience is the fair handmaid and daughter of faith; we cheerfully wait when we are certain that we shall not wait in vain. It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in worship, in expectancy, in trust all the days of our life. Our faith will be tried faith, and if it be of the true kind, it will bear continued trial without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously he once waited for us.
C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 1-26, vol. 1 (London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers, n.d.), 392–393.
The soul that is insatiable in prayer, he proceeds, he gets near to God, he gains something, he winds up his heart higher. As a child that seeth the mother have an apple in her hand, and it would fain have it, it will come and pull at the mother’s hand for it: now she lets go one finger, and yet she holds it, and then he pulls again; and then she lets go another finger, and yet she keeps it, and then the child pulls again, and will never leave pulling and crying till it hath got it from its mother. So a child of God, seeing all graces to be in God, he draws near to the throne of grace begging for it, and by his earnest and faithful prayers he opens the hands of God to him; God dealing as parents to their children, holds them off for awhile; not that he is unwilling to give, but to make them more earnest with God, to draw them the nearer to himself.—William Fenner.
C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 1-26, vol. 1 (London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers, n.d.), 400–401.