Divine Guidance

The Nugget:

Psa 23:3  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

My Comment:

Psalm 23:3 is a key text in the Bible related to divine guidance. The Bible has much to say about how God guides us. Psalm 32:8 is another important verse about this subject.

Studying the cross references given in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury or its predecessor, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, will lead to many more helpful related verses in the Bible about this theme.

Some years ago I made a careful study of what the Bible teaches about guidance. One semester I had a very fine student who was most interested in pursuing this subject even more. I typed up this selection for her, and made a copy for her to keep.

Today, I thought it might help many to make this selection available to a wider audience by posting it here. This information is available in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury and The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, but here I have presented it in a teaching outline.

Mr. J. H. Smith                                                           Selection Number: 1503

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F#JHS0082 of 11/18/95.                                                                     page one

 

TITLE: PSALM 23:3. CROSS REFERENCE STUDY: GUIDANCE.

 

 

  1. he leadeth. T#806. ver. Ps 23:2. *Ps 5:8. *Ps 25:4, 5, 9, 10. 27:11. *Ps 31:3. +*Ps 32:8. 33:18. 43:3. 48:14. 61:2. 73:24. 119:133. 139:9, 10, 23, 24. *Ps 143:8-10. Ge 12:1. Ex 13:21. 15:13. 33:13-15. Dt 32:10-12. Jg 4:14. 2 S 5:24. 22:29. +*1 K 13:9n. 2 Ch 32:22. **Pr 3:5, 6. *Pr 8:20. Is 30:21. 40:10, 11. *Is 42:16. 48:17. 49:9, 10. 55:4. 57:18. 58:11. 61:8. Je 3:4. 6:16. *Je 10:4.  Je 10:13. 16:13. Phil 1:10. Col 1:9, 10. 1 Th 3:10, 11. Re 7:17.

 

 

T#806.  Divine Guidance.

 

  1. 1 Kings 13:9n. by the word. %+*1 K 13:18. Scripture by example and precept suggests several sources of true guidance:

 

  1. The written word of God found in the Bible, Ps 119:105.  +*Is 8:20n.
  2. God speaking to us through our thoughts, 1 K 8:18; +*Pr 4:23; **Pr 16:3, 9. Thoughts must be tested as to their source, 1 K 8:17, 18. *1 K 10:24. Je 23:16. %Ac 5:3. Thoughts may be correct and good, *1 K 8:18; 2 Ch 31:20, 21; Da 1:8; Ac 7:60; 26:29. But thoughts may be evil, Dt 15:9; Pr 23:7; 1 Tim 4:1, 2; James 1:14, 15. Even diet may affect our judgment, Is 7:15, 22.
  3. Circumstances, 1 S 14:15n; Pr 16:33.

 

1 S 14:15n. very great trembling. Heb. trembling of God. +*Ge 23:6. FS108C4. Idiom B834. “of God” is used as an adjective. Here, “trembling of God” means a very great trembling, meaning an earthquake. For another instance of this figure see Ps 36:6mg. God will in some way or other direct the steps of those who acknowledge him in all their ways, and seek unto him for direction with full purpose of heart. Sometimes we find most comfort in that which is least our own doing, and into which we have been led by the unexpected, but well observed, turns of Providence.

 

But care must be exercised in interpreting circumstances, 1 S 24:4n:

 

1 S 24:4n. the men. *1 S 26:8-11. Nu 31:16. 2 S 4:8. 1 K 12:10, 28. 2 Ch 10:10. 22:3. Jb 2:9. 31:31. I will deliver. ver. 1 S 24:10, 18. 1 S 23:7. 26:23.

 

Mr. J. H. Smith                                                           Selection Number: 1503

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For Student Use                                                          Copy Number:

 

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F#JHS0082 of 11/18/95.                                                                     page two

 

TITLE: PSALM 23:3. CROSS REFERENCE STUDY: GUIDANCE.

 

 

David’s men urged very plausibly, that God had brought his enemy into his power, in order to fulfill his promises to him: yet they were greatly mistaken; as in reality the Lord intended to give David an opportunity of exercising faith, patience, and generous kindness; of showing the tendency and efficacy of his religious principles, the tenderness of his conscience, and the steadfastness of his loyalty; for the confutation of his accusers, a rebuke to Saul, and an example to all who read it. David had a promise of the kingdom, but no command to slay the reigning king, or promise that God would deliver Saul into his hand (Scott). See related note (1 K 13:18n) regarding circumstances not being a sure sign of God’s leading or providence. Saul’s robe. Heb. the robe which was Saul’s. ver. 1 S 24:5. 1 S 20:40. 1 K 1:33.

 

  1. Steadfast, committed obedience to the already revealed will of God, **Ro 12:1, 2; **2 Cor 6:14.
  2. Our enlightened understanding as we study God’s word, Ep 1:18, 1 9; 5:17; Col 1:9.
  3. Obedience to the direct commands of Scripture, +*1 S 15:22.
  4. Judgment as to needs, Ac 15:36.
  5. By checks in the way, Ge 24:27. Nu 22:22, 26. Pr 30:19. Ac 16:6. Ro 1:13. 15:22. %1 Th 2:18.
  6. By faith and by bridle, Ps 32:8, 9.
  7. Wise counsel, 1 S 9:27. +**1 K 12:7n. Pr 11:14. 15:22. *Pr 24:6. 27:17.
  8. The peace of God, wrought by the Holy Spirit, Jn 14:27. Ro 15:13. *Phil 4:6, 7. Col 3:15. But feelings are subjective, not objective, may be mistaken (whether by a misinformed conscience, a mistaken interpretation of Scripture, a misreading of apparently favorable circumstances, etc.) or counterfeited, affected by mood and temperament, and are based upon an “experience centered” rather than a Bible or Christ centered approach to the Christian life (Is 65:5n). Great caution must be exercised in evaluating any feeling of peace, lest one be misled by false peace, ver. 1 K 13:18n. +*Ezk 13:10.
  9. The voice of the church, Ac 13:1-3; +*1 Tim 4:16; He 13:7, 17.
  10. Through chastening, He 12:6.
  11. Pastors and elders, He 13:7, 17.
  12. Parents, Pr 12:15; 13:10; 1 Cor 7:37, 38; Col 3:20.

 

Mr. J. H. Smith                                                           Selection Number: 1503

Special Skills File

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F#JHS0082 of 11/18/95.                                                                     page three

 

TITLE: PSALM 23:3. CROSS REFERENCE STUDY: GUIDANCE.

 

 

  1. Wife or husband, 1 S 19:11;   25:33; Mt 27:19; Ep 5:22, 23; 1 P 3:7, 8. See related note on sources of wise counsel (+**1 K 12:7n).

 

 

  1. 1 K 12:7n. they spake. ver. %+*1 K 12:10n. Ex 18:19. 1 S 19:11. *2 S 20:16-22. *2 S 25:33. Da 4:27. Mt 27:19. Ac 5:35. Re 3:18. Scripture furnishes a  number of suggestions for sources of wise counsel:

 

  1. The Lord, Pr 16:9.
  2. God’s written word, Ps 119:105.
  3. Pastors and elders, He 13:7, 17.
  4. Mature men, +*1 K 12:7.
  5. Parents, Col 3:20.
  6. Wise women, +*2 S 20:16.
  7. Wife, 1 S 19:11. 25:33.
  8. Servants or employees, +*2 K 5:13.
  9. The lowliest servants of Christ, 1 Cor 6:4.
  10. Individuals who are faithful in even the smallest of matters, +*Lk 16:10. Pr 20:6.
  11. Individuals who are well-grounded in Bible doctrine, +*1 Tim 4:16.
  12. Those whom God has placed in authority over us, +*Ge 16:9.
  13. Those believers who manifest the Biblical pattern of relationships to others, Lk 3:12, 13, 14; +*Ro 12:3; 15:7;  *2 Cor 1:24. +*Phil 2:3; **1 P 5:5.
  14. Those individuals who by their successes demonstrate the qualities of character and special talent in the area of needed advice, Pr 13:20; Lk 16:8; +*Ac 6:3. See related notes on sources of true guidance (+**1 K 13:9n).

 

 

III.       1 K 12:10n. spake unto. ver. +*1 K 12:7, 28. Nu 31:16. 2 Ch 10:10. 22:3. Jb 2:9.        Scripture furnishes suggestions that warn us of sources of unwise counsel:

 

  1. Immature advisors, often young, lacking in judgment and experience, 1 K 12:10.
  2. Members of our own peer group, *2 Ch 13:7.

 

Mr. J. H. Smith                                                           Selection Number: 1503

Special Skills File

For Student Use                                                          Copy Number:

 

Please DO NOT write on this page. Handle this material very carefully as more students need to use it after you. Sign this material out then check it back in.

F#JHS0082 of 11/18/95.                                                                     page four

 

TITLE: PSALM 23:3. CROSS REFERENCE STUDY: GUIDANCE.

 

 

  1. Individuals who, though they claim to have spiritual insight, offer advice contrary to the already revealed will of God as found in his written word, *1 K 13:18n.
  2. Individuals prompted by false spiritual gifts, +*Je 23:28n.

 

+*Je 23:28n. that hath. Heb. with whom is. a dream. ver. Je 23:32. Ezk 13:7. The contrast is between the false prophets who have their dreams and the true prophet who has God’s word. The opposition between chaff and wheat which follows shows these alleged supernatural dreams for what they are–not divine revelation, but a dream of their own heart, mere chaff, unsuitable and valueless for spiritual sustenance. This is perhaps the clearest and strongest appeal to the perspicuity of Scripture to be found in the Bible, for an appeal is here made for the ordinary believer to discern the difference between the false and the true. A mark of false religion is placement of spiritual and doctrinal authority in any other source than the written word of God found in the Bible–whether the source be an organization and its literature, the writings of a particular teacher or prophet, or a claim to divine authority based upon apostolic succession, or even a line of succession through valid baptizers traced back to John the Baptist! +*Is 8:20n. speak my word. *Pr 14:5. +**Mt 24:45. +*Lk 12:42. *1 Cor 4:2. **2 Cor 2:17. 1 Tim 1:12. 1 P 2:2. A mark of the false is adding to the written word of God supposed new revelation from whatever source–whether supernatural dreams, or alleged supernatural gifts of the Spirit. +*Pr 30:6. Jn 16:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. +**2 Tim 3:15, 16, 17. *2 P 1:21. faithfully. +*Da 11:33n. +*1 Tim 4:16. +**2 Tim 2:15. *2 Tim 4:2. What. FS138C,

+Ge 22:14. That is, when the dreamers declare their dreams, and the true prophets faithfully declare their message, the difference between them will be as evident as that between “the chaff and the wheat.” *1 Cor 3:11, 12, 13.

 

  1. False teachers, Ezk 14:10n.

 

Ezk 14:10n. punishment of him that seeketh. Note the awesome principle stated here: those who follow false prophets will receive the same punishment as the false prophets who led them. How important it is to discern the false from the true, and to base this discernment on the only authority God has

 

Mr. J. H. Smith                                                           Selection Number: 1503

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F#JHS0082 of 11/18/95.                                                                     page five

 

TITLE: PSALM 23:3. CROSS REFERENCE STUDY: GUIDANCE.

 

 

Authority God has provided–his written word. +*Pr 19:27. +**Is 8:20n. +Je 18:15. %*Mt 10:41. +*Mt 15:14. +*Mk 4:24. **Ro 14:12. 1 Cor 11:19. %*1 Tim 4:16. **2 P 3:17.

  1. Those who have an unstable character, Pr 22:24.
  2. Unfaithful individuals, Pr 25:19.
  3. The proud and boastful, Pr 20:6.
  4. Those who lack integrity, or compromise justice, +*Lk 16:10.
  5. Those who compromise the truth and receive falsehood, Pr 29:12.
  6. The generality of opinion expressed by the crowd, or majority opinion, when not in accordance with the principles of God’s word, *Ex 23:2.
  7. Feelings and emotions, Ge 49:4; Je 23:17; 2 Cor 5:7; James 1:6, 8; 2 P 2:14.
  8. Conscience, when not informed by the written word of God, Pr 14:12; %Ac 24:16.
  9. The occult, +*Is 8:19, 20.
  10. Misunderstood or misapplied Scripture, Jg 6:40n; 11:39n; Mt 4:6; 2 Tim 2:15n; **2 P 3:16. See related notes on sources of false guidance (+**1 K 13:18n).

 

  1. 1 K 13:18n. a prophet also. ver. +*1 K 13:9n. Scripture warns against the dangers of false guidance from various sources:

 

  1. Careless handling, and incorrect understanding and application of God’s written word, Jg 6:40n; Jg 11:35n; Mk 9:43; 2 Tim 2:15n; *2 P 1:20n; *2 P 3:17. Do not seek for guidance by opening the Bible at random and hoping for a verse to speak to you, Ge 24:44n; %+*Jn 5:39.
  2. Itching ear syndrome: seeking guidance until you find the advice you wanted to hear, 1 K 12:9n; 2 Tim 4:3.
  3. Wrong friends, +*2 Ch 13:7; %+**Ps 119:63;  1 Cor 15:33.
  4. Inexperienced and unqualified individuals, often young (1 Tim 3:6), who lack the necessary discernment, +**1 K 12:10; 2 Tim 3:14; He 5:14; 13:7.
  5. Requiring God to specially engineer circumstances or signs, Jg 6:40n. Be especially wary of looking to signs or circumstances to confirm guidance when what is sought is contrary to the written word of God, 2 Cor 6:14.

 

Mr. J. H. Smith                                                           Selection Number: 1503

Special Skills File

For Student Use                                                          Copy Number:

 

Please DO NOT write on this page. Handle this material very carefully as more students need to use it after you. Sign this material out then check it back in.

F#JHS0082 of 11/18/95.                                                                     page six

 

TITLE: PSALM 23:3. CROSS REFERENCE STUDY: GUIDANCE.

 

  1. Basing our thinking on artificial categories either imposed upon Scripture or Christian experience, such as the distinction of sacred and secular, or of “called” and “voluntary” Christian service, distinctions not taught in the word of God, 2 Tim 2:15n.
  2. Wrongly weighting factors in determining God’s guidance. Certain factors are readily subject to misinterpretation, such as circumstances, 1 S 24:4n; 2 S 4:8. Others, such as the feeling of peace (ver. 1 K 13:9n. %+*Ezk 13:10), are extremely subjective, and can be affected by our present physical state of health, Pr 17:22; Ro 15:13; 2 Cor 5:7. Guidance must be based upon wisdom and sound principles, properly weighted, and applied without haste, Pr 19:2; 28:22; Col 1:10; James 1:5.
  3. Occult practices, *Is 8:19.
  4. Dreams, +*Je 23:28n.
  5. Exclusive reliance upon our own resources in understanding God’s word without seeking the assistance of the godly, consecrated scholarship of other men available to us in books and Bible study tools, Ac 8:31n.
  6. Resolutely holding to a favorite set of prooftexts from Scripture, rather than adhering to the whole counsel of God, 2 K 22:8n; Ac 2:38n; 1 J 2:19n; 2 P 1:20n.
  7. In doctrinal matters, failing to genuinely accept the Bible as the sufficient, perspicuous, sole and final authority, +*Pr 8:9; 18:1n; +*Is 8:20n; +*Je 23:28n; Ga 1:8n; +*2 Tim 3:15, 16, 17.
  8. False teachers, false cults and religions, **Je 14:14n; *Ezk 14:10n.
  9. Any plan or scheme that lacks wisdom, prudence, and good judgment (sanctified common sense), +*Pr 22:3; Lk 14:28, 29, 30, 31, 32.
  10. Guidance from an individual who falsely claims possession of a spiritual gift, or possesses a false gift, 1 K 13:18.
  11. Guidance which conflicts with genuine guidance previously received, 1 K 13:18. It is wise to commit to writing a record of God’s leading in our lives, recording the specific reasons which originally committed us to a given course of action or life direction. Then, should mixed signals, conflicting advice, or doubts later arise, we can return to that record for confirmation of the original guidance. See related notes on sources of unwise counsel (**1 K 12:10n); compare the note on sources of wise counsel (**1 K 12:7n).
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