Kia ora Cambridge Baptist and friends,
A lot of people are saying with this COVID-19 situation we are charting unknown waters and walking untraveled paths. The closest comparison we have is the 1917 Spanish flu pandemic, but that was over a hundred years ago - a completely different world. So, because we can’t recall walking a similar journey, we feel a bit uneasy and a bit frightened. We need a shepherd who will lead us to a place of safety. And to be fair Dr Bloomfield and our prime minister are doing a pretty decent job, but even they admit know where this is all going to end up.
However, spiritually we don’t want to take any chances of getting it wrong - because the end point is too important. Thankfully, David reassures us in Psalm 23 that if God is our shepherd, he will guide us in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. What does that last bit mean, "for his name sake" - it means that he stakes his reputation and the glory of his great name on guiding us down the right path.
It’s interesting that the Hebrew word translated “paths” means “a well-defined, well-traveled path”. They are well travelled because shepherd knows the trails. He has been there before, so we can trust him when he leads.
Every day We have to make countless decisions, many which touch the lives of our loved ones. We need wisdom. We need to know the right path to take. We need a shepherd. We need someone who knows the trails, someone whom we can trust. And David says that God is our shepherd.
But the question arises - “How can I know where God is leading. What is his will for my life?” May I suggest these steps?
First, submit wholeheartedly to the leadership of the shepherd like I said yesterday. That is the basic attitude we must maintain. Unless we are willing to admit that we don't know the way through the twists and turns of life and we submit to His leadership, we will never find the way.
The second thing we must do is to obey what we know now to be God's will for us. Most of God's will is already revealed in His Word. It is the clearly defined path David speaks about. We have to begin by obeying the truth that we have. So, if God says we should’ve done something then we need to stop or take step to address it so we can.
But what about other areas of life where the Scriptures do not give specific information? There we are led by the peace of God. As we spend time praying and waiting upon God, there comes a sense of peace, an inner conviction, about the correctness of a certain direction. The peace of God will umpire in our life and let us know what to do. When we move out on the basis of it, we discover that God supports and underpins our actions and, through confirming circumstances, further strengthens our sense of peace. When we do this even if God leads us through the darkest of valleys, we will have nothing to fear.
Heavenly, Father, you have promised to lead us in paths of righteousness. Help us to be willing to follow, even when we don't understand.