I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.—Psalm 34:8
In the summer of 2013, during a much needed getaway trip with my wife, God revealed the truth of this wonderful promise in Scripture to me in a new and fresh way. We were at a point of decision. God had began to work in my heart about becoming a pastor. At first (and at the time He revealed this verse to me) I was resisting His moving. After all, I was completely content and happy right where we were serving, as a youth pastor in Tennessee. But, in the midst of this time of uncertainty about the future, God delivered this encouraging promise to me.
Though God promises to show us His will for our lives, sometimes, we can become impatient during the time He has us wait to discover what He has in store for us. At other times, the gap between what God is leading us to do and where we are currently may seem insurmountable—it may seem as though it is years away from our being able to “get there.” It is in moments like these that I love to claim the promise of Psalm 34:8. Not only does God promise to “guide” us, but He also promises to “instruct” and “teach” us concerning His will. It is one thing for God to tell us what His perfect will is; it is quite another for Him to show us how to practically accomplish His will. Every one of us need both the declaration of His will for our lives and the demonstration of how He intends for us to accomplish His will.
Now, God does not give to us a checklist of how He intends for us to accomplish what He has planned for us from beginning to finish. He only gives us one step at a time. Oh, but what a joy it is to trust in His wonderful promise that He will instruct us, and He will teach us every step of the way! When we are uncertain about how we are to accomplish what He has given us to do in His will, He has already promised that He will instruct us concerning the very steps we are to take along the pathway to the completion of His perfect will for our lives!
How do we receive this direction from the Lord? Here are three ways the Lord instructs us in the way that He is leading us.
God first uses His Word to instruct us. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). In the darkness of our uncertainty, God uses the light of His Word to direct our steps.
God uses His Spirit to instruct us. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). There are some things in life that we will not discover any other way than the Holy Spirit teaching them to us through personal study of and the preaching of God’s Word.
God also uses godly counsel to instruct us. “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” (Proverbs 19:20–21)