A Journal for Bible Teachers

Daily Trust and Obedience in God

Daily Trust and Obedience in God

“Oh Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walketh to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23).

Man’s Inadequacy

This limitation of man’s ability to direct his steps is something we must realise, but in the age in which we find ourselves it is a very difficult thing to come to grips with. We live in an age when emphasis is given to self-expression and the questioning of all values and norms. Everybody is taught to be self-sufficient. This is the whole trend of the thinking of society today. Because of this, we may find it difficult to grasp and really understand that our total dependence must be in God alone.

Recently, the Lord has been speaking deep within my heart concerning this verse in Jeremiah 10:23 , that I must embrace it, believe it, and really inwardly know it. It is not enough to just give mental agreement to Scriptural truths. We must allow God to experientially work truth down deep within our being, then it becomes ours, and there is an “inner knowing.”

Jesus said that even the devils believe, and tremble, so ‘life’ cannot come from this kind of knowing. But we want to “know” the Lord and the truths of God deep in our hearts. By the Spirit we must grasp that it is not in us to direct our own ways.

If we go to the cupboard and what we want is not there, we are not able to be helped. This is what it is like when we go to man for the answers. We naturally must be disappointed, because God has declared that man does not have the answer. In contrast, God is so direct and specific when He speaks to us from His word. If we can believe that quickened word, life will immediately flow from the word of God that is given to us.

Proverbs 16:25 tell us, “There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” That is so simply and clearly stated. The Lord leaves no question, does He? We would rather have a little of God’s way, and a little of ours. This is human nature! But God does not allow that! With God there is no “middle of the road!”

In our situations in life there is a way that seems to be right, that “feels” right. But it is spiritually a very dangerous thing to rely on our senses. We can be fooled by our senses when we want to discern something spiritually, because, “ . . .the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto Him; neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). Genesis 27 tells how Isaac relied upon his senses and he made a terrible mistake. He pronounced the blessing upon the wrong son!

God’s Adequacy

In 2 Samuel 5, there is a wonderful example concerning King David of what our attitude should be. The Philistines came against Israel in Rephaim and verse 19 says, “And David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I go up to the Philistines? Wilt thou deliver them into mine hand?’ And the Lord said unto David, ‘Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand,’” David then made the plans and strategy of war as the Lord had directed, and the Lord gave them a marvelous deliverance, and a tremendous and wonderful victory. In verse 20, David said, “The Lord hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. . .” (like a mighty sweeping wave).

In the account in 2 Samuel, only one tiny verse intervenes, and lo-and-behold the very same circumstances arise again: verse 22, “And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.” Surely we would have cleverly realized that the answer was an obvious one, and we would have said, “It is the very same circumstance so we won’t bother to ask the Lord this time.” We would probably imagine something like this, “If God handled the situation that way before, then obviously He will do the same thing again. Common sense tells us that! God is going to give the victory.” We might even quote a few Scriptures to back up what we are going to do.

But David did not do that! He did not presume! Verse 23 says, “And when David inquired of the Lord, He said, ‘Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.’”

Do you see the humility of his heart and his total dependence on God? No wonder God’s heart was toward David!

In Psalm 19:13, David prayed, “Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins. . .” In many things we act presumptuously and according to our own intellect and abilities. Anything we do independently of God is presumption. It is difficult for us to grasp and embrace this concept because everything about our normal life in the world acts to teach us the opposite . . .that man is self-sufficient and self-contained. But, remember that our blessed Lord said in John 5:19, “ . . .The Son can do nothing of himself, but what He sees the Father do . . .” Jesus limited Himself totally to only what He saw His Father do.

If anyone should have been able to call upon their own ability or past experience, David was the one. He was a man qualified in the area of leadership and at winning mighty victories and deliverances. David was a great warrior! It almost seems that the more “qualified” we might be, the more our reliance should be placed upon God, for there is such a danger of us relying on past experiences or natural ability.

Sometimes we may feel that in spiritual things we have a few answers, but this is a dangerous place for us to be. In contrast, the Lord requires us to be more and more reliant upon Him. We must look again to Jesus, and, regardless of how many times the same situation reappears again and again, we must not presume to know the answer. Each time, in humility of heart, we must go to the Lord Jesus and say: “Lord, what would you have me do?” He will speak to us if we make ourselves available.

I can just imagine that you might be now thinking: “Well that is a very high standard, and you are being pretty idealistic!” But God’s ways are higher. God is calling for disciples; disciplined ones! When Jesus gave the great commission, He did not say, “Go out and make believers!” He said, “Go out and make disciples unto Me.” We want to learn to be controlled of the Lord in every area of our life, and especially in our thoughts and words. We sing, “He is Lord,” but is He really “Lord” in every area?

God’s Ways

We know it is not in man to direct his steps, so how can we know what is the Lord’s way when we are faced with decisions and choices all day long? Every day of our life, every week, and every year there are tiny little decisions to be made, and big ones! Continually there are two ways presented before us – the way of the flesh, and the way of the Spirit. The way of life, or the way of death! By what we choose, we give place to life or death. This is especially noticeable in the power of the tongue, for we may give forth life, or death, according to decisions we make on the spur of the moment (and usually we are only given a second or two to choose!).

The Lord wants to develop keenness and sensitivity within us that we become aware of what really pleases Him, and when we are relying on our own initiative or strength. As we become sensitive to the Lord, and to His ways, we begin to know what HE wants.

God’s Promise

We have the marvellous promise of the Lord in Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” But to receive this kind of instruction, we first have to be convinced that we do not have the answer ourselves. Also, another precious and reassuring verse is in Isaiah 48:17, “I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”

It is not in man to direct his way, but the Lord has promised to instruct and teach us. This means that when we are faced with decisions, and our trust and dependence is on the Lord, He will cause us to know which path to take.

Man’s Choice

In Deuteronomy 28, God relates again His covenant to Israel and spreads before them two ways—the path of blessing, and the path of cursing; blessings if they follow the Lord, but curses if they turned away from what God was so clearly showing. There is no middle way! God is very clear, for He does not like mixtures. He sets before us two ways, but He wants us to choose life and blessing. In Deuteronomy 30:15, He said, “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil . . .” God clearly defines things. He does not leave any question in our mind.

In verses 16-20, God said (paraphrased), “If you love the Lord your God, and walk in His commandments, then He is going to multiply you and bless you in the land, but if you do not, if you turn away, then He calls heaven and earth to record this day against you.” He repeats that He has set before us two ways, life and blessing or death and cursing.

In our lives the principle is the same, whether our decisions be about small or major things. Our large, important decisions are based upon a multitude of little decisions. We are what we are today because of past decisions. We are here because God has apprehended us in the past.

We are strengthened by every good decision we make, but every poor decision (or lack of judgment on our part) will take us down another road.

It is not in us to know what to decide, yet God wants to direct us in the way we should go, to, “ . . .guide us with His eye.” But to be guided by God means we must have a very close relationship with Him. We are to be dependent on Him and not on our own strength or ability.

When the Lord sets before us two ways, we can think death, or life. So many of our problems or hang-ups occur because we lend ourselves to the wrong master. “To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans. 6:16).

We do not have the ability to direct our way, but God is saying to us, “Be like David; ask Me, ask for wisdom, continually.” Each day we must ask God for grace to make right choices. We must ask God to put within us a desire toward Him so we can respond and be of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.

The Lord is saying a very positive thing to us. His desire and ability is toward us. For us to understand that all the resources of heaven are at our disposal, we must first realise that we do not have the ability to direct our own steps. Only then are we free to draw on God and His unlimited supply for us.

Once, when I was praying, the Lord graciously gave me a vision of an ordinary kitchen funnel. I could not understand this at first, but then I felt the Lord show me, “I want you to stop bringing Me down into the little end of that funnel. I want you to allow Me to bring you up into the riches and the grace of the big end of the funnel. Come up and see things My way. Do not limit Me continually to your tiny little understanding of Me.” It is not in us. We are on the tiny end of the “funnel,” but God is saying to us, “Come on up. Come on up. I am inviting you up into the vast resources of My grace and the riches of My glory. All of this is at your disposal if only you will learn to be totally dependent on Me.”

We need to be like David, to become more and more dependent upon God. To walk more and more in the Spirit. It is just that simple! If we desire to walk with Jesus, then there is going to be an issue of life continually in us, and out to those around us.

We all want to be a blessing, but of ourselves we cannot because we have nothing to give. It is only as Christ is allowed to live within us, and is projected from us, that others will be blessed. He alone is the Giver of Life. Therefore, as we become more and more united and dependent upon Him, we learn to love Jesus so dearly. As this occurs more and more there is an outrushing of His precious life to those around us. We may not even be aware of it!

The Lord wants us to be so united with Him, so totally “fused” to Him, that in everything we are dependent on Him. We do not have to make a big deal out of this. It is a simple way of life! Uncomplicated. We can “tune in” continually and say, “Lord Jesus, deal with me today. Guide my decisions. Teach me to know Your ways.” Jesus wants to visit us, to commune with us while we are going about normal life, doing the very ordinary things that do not seem spiritual at all! God has visited me in very extraordinary ways when I have been doing my dishes!

Jesus wants to give us a constant flow of His life as we begin to exercise a total dependence upon Him; as we become less and less independent and more and more dependent upon Him.

Conclusion

Throughout life, God sets before us two ways, and it is not in us to know the way. There is a way that seemeth good and right, if we use our senses. But please do not follow that way! Let us learn more and more to rely on spiritual perception and less and less on our natural senses. In everything, let us allow the life of Christ to fill us.

Do you remember this lovely chorus?
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust You,
How I’ve proved You o’er and o’er.
Jesus, Jesus, oh precious Jesus,
Oh for the grace to trust You more.

This should be our thinking.

Let us say to the Lord, “Create in me a desire to be as David, not to presume, not to rely upon my own wits and figure things out for myself, but to be totally child-like, totally reliant upon You, because there are many, many important things that face me today. If I do not learn to trust You in the little things, when the big things come, it will not be my habit to trust You then. Lord, make this my way of life!”

God grant that the Spirit of the Lord will make this very real to our hearts today, for He wants to invest in us His own divine qualities.





About the Author

Mrs. Audrey Bailey is the late wife of Dr. Brian J. Bailey. She served in the ministry, with her husband, for over 30 years.

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