Most people in the world are looking for guidance. Satan has some paths also. Some go to astrology and seek it from the stars. Some go and have their tea cups or palms tread hoping to find out the future. Some go to a medium and seek the dead. All this is occult or trickery to get people to follow them, get power or money. God warns against them, “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?” (Isa. 8:19); And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. (Deut. 4:19.)
There are those who think life is a chance happening. Jacques Monod said “For some time now, the unpleasant idea has been dawning on mankind that it may owe its existence to nothing but a roll of some cosmological set of dice.” In other words it is mere chance that all the molecule, and atoms in their complexity came together to bring order out of chaos. This is absurd. There is order in the human body, order in the universe. There is the invisible guiding hand of God ordering it all.
We all need guidance to know how to live in this confusing world. There is no one shot decision that is ever going to do anything special for you. Your life must be made up of thousands and thousands of decisions. Some of these decisions will be compatible with your spiritual gift.
Some seek guidance about a boyfriend or girlfriend, a husband or wife, a job, what college we should apply for what university course should they follow. People need guidance in financial affairs, in what home to buy, where to live. It is endless. Most of the time we can get direction from the Word of God He guides us what paths to go down. God’s Word tells us, “Go this way! Don’t go that way!” Things that are not as clear can be helped by using Biblical principles. His paths are paths of righteousness. The Good Shepherd will only guide in paths of righteousness. To continue in sin will take us of the path. “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness” (2 Tim. 2:19). God’s name is bound up with our walk as believers. He has chosen to identify His holy name with us. If we live just like the world, we cause His name to be blasphemed. For His name’s sake, He guides us in paths of righteousness.
Life is active, we cannot always lie down in the fold. Sheep are on the move and need direction. The believer has to go out to work or school or college or into the community. We rest in order to move out the next day to work or do our duties.
The Good Shepherd provides spiritual guidance.
David led his father’s sheep along to greener paths to on a daily basis. He would lead them to paths he knew before hand, paths he approved of. They may lead up through mountain passes, or ravines, or over the barren wilderness of the desert. The shepherd was well acquainted with these paths, he knew the ones to avoid and the ones that were good and safe. They sheep were safe and secure if they follow him. He would lead them to a safe place.
Our Lord, our Good Shepherd; knows the dangers in this world we live in, He is aware of the pitfalls and dangers that lie ahead. When we follow Him He will lead us through the mountain path, through the desert places and bring us to a safe place. We Christians have chosen the narrow way that leads to life, we have gone through the door and now we follow that way. Sometimes it seems too narrow for us, or that it is too rugged and uphill. But He knows where He is taking us. We must keep focused on the Good Shepherd and depend upon His wisdom and knowledge of the terrain and have confidence that He will get us to the destination.
We need to see where we are going and Receive Instruction and Teaching.
“He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). This is a picture of a person walking along a difficult and dangerous path or road on a dark night. If he had a torch, a lantern he could see where he was going and avoid any pitfalls or danger before him. Peter in the New Testament says, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19). The world is the “dark place” and Gods Word, is “light” to guide us. God’s Word cannot be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path unless we know His Word.
Psalm 32:8- 9 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go.” God says He will instruct and teach you in the way which thou shalt go. He has a plan for you, a way, a path for you to go. He says, “I will guide thee with Mine eye.” He does not want you to go your own way, or say “I done it my way”. Nor does he want you to be stubborn like a mule and fight against the way He has chosen for us. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof (are) the ways of death” Proverbs 14:12. God has a plan, a way for each one of us to go. He will guide us and reveal through His Word.
God’s eternal plan for you includes His providence, “The ways of a man are in his heart but God directs his footsteps.” Proverbs 16:9. The people you meet the situations you come across are no accident but a divine appointment for you. As believers we make thousands of decisions each day so it is good to commit our way unto Him and ask for wisdom to make the right choices. We don’t make just one decision and it’s over. You have to make thousands of them. Some of Gods sheep have a difficult path to travel seem not to have too many problems in life. But He will bring us all home.
Some people have been led astray through false teachers or wrong understanding of the Word. We must understand what the Bible says about a subject. Peter warns Christians of all ages: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways” (2 Peter 2:1,2). Christ said: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). False teachers are false not only in doctrine but also in their appearance. They pretend to be something they are not. On the inside they are vicious wolves who kill and scatter the sheep. But they wear a sheepskin to trick the sheep. What does God think about false teachers? “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” (Jeremiah 23:1). They will be punished for their evil deeds: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings” (Jeremiah 23:2). Shame on the shepherds who let my sheep scatter and be lost! says the Lord. Those who pastor and lead God’s people have a great responsibility. They must teach the truth and be a good example to the people and lead them into a relationship with God. God sees those who misuse their authority as shameful.
With leadership comes heavy responsibility. The Lord holds accountable those who have spiritual authority over the people of God.
In verses 9 and 10 Jeremiah laments the terrible state of the land “because of the prophets.” “For both prophet and priest are profane” (verse 11). Profane means ‘secular’, ‘not holy’. The prophets and priests were supposed to be spiritual and holy. Instead, they were secular.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. The Christian wants to obey in love to the Good Shepherd because He lovingly leads us. They know God’s Word is the most important thing for their guidance and they follow its directions. You cannot neglect it or pick and choose what pleases you.
“Paths” is in the plural, “the paths of righteousness.” The plural, suggests divine leadings in all the individual ways of our lives. The Christian life is described as being narrow. The Lord leads his individual sheep through one experience after another, overruling each one for his eternal good. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5, 6). First trust or lean upon and have full confidence in the Lord. You can count upon Him in every emergency, to look to Him for the supply of every need, to say with the Psalmist “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psa. 23:1). It means that we cast all our cares upon Him, we trust Him every day for our needs. We rely upon His ability, His wisdom, His knowledge and grace. We trust Him like a little child trusts their parent. We believe He will do as He says.
Then it says, “and lean not unto thine own understanding,” we are not to trust in our own wisdom or human reason. Many of God’s ways are “past finding out,” you cannot solve the mysteries of Providence or His Infinite wisdom.
Fourthly, “in all thy ways acknowledge Him.” We acknowledge He is in control. We seek His guidance in every thing we do “ALL THY WAYS”. Paul says “In every thing by prayer and supplication” (Phil. 4:6). And, “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
We desire Gods blessings on our lives. We seek His glory.
Lastly, “And He shall direct thy paths”: When we obey the whole verse he will do this. Sheep are prone to stray or wander. Bur the Good Shepherd will “direct” or “make straight” our paths. The world has lost its way, it is mixed up and confused. Wickedness and deceit are all around. We need Him to “direct our paths.” We need to follow Gods will.
As we move out and about in our daily lives we need direction and the wisdom what path to choose and where will it lead us. It should lead us to righteousness or the right place. The wilderness, or desert there are no tracks or roads that run alongside each other. There are many paths one could take in this world. As we have many choices or paths to take each day it is important to make the right choices, there are consequences for making the wrong ones. But whatever we do it should be “for his name’s sake.”
Ver. 3. Paths of righteousness. The path may be narrow and so full of ruts, we need His help to get through them. They are right paths, He will never lead us into wrong paths or to paths that are contrary to His Word. He will not lead you down the path of error or false teaching or to follow false teachers or prophets. They are “paths of righteousness” and the Great Shepherd knows his way around, He will lead us safely through each day. Sometimes the paths go through the wilderness “My Lord knows the way through the wilderness all I have to is follow.” He knows where there are difficulties, exposures and every danger.
Ver. 3. For his name’s sake. “Whatever we do we should do for the glory of God.” Good sheep will give a good name to the Good Shepherd bad sheep will bring derision upon Him. .
The Christian is in full time service for the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Spirit will lead you to have a life of fruitfulness (Gal. 5:22-23), Each believer has at least one spiritual gift. Our gift is a help in guiding us what way to go, how to serve him. It helps us follow His directions. Your path may be a mother, a wife, a husband, a teacher, a children’s worker, a bus driver, a computer expert, or using your gifts to minister in music, in prayer etc. You have to make many every day. The Spirit will never lead you away from holiness, , many decisions in line with the will of God and with the Word of God. You use your will to make decisions.
Vs 8 “I will guide thee with Mine eye.” Gods way is not a mystery, He doesn’t hide from you. He reveals it to you
Led by the Spirit Gal.5:17-18
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (Gal.5:17-18)
To be led by the Spirit is the same as walking by Him (vv. 16, 25, Romans 8:3-4). He guides us. Walking by the Spirit is a step at a time. It is keeping in step with the Spirit. Not running ahead of Him or behind Him. When we are children we to learn to walk. The apostle Peter says we need the milk of the Word to help us walk spiritually. The milk strengthens strengthen us as we read it study it are taught it.
You will have difficult times and a variety of circumstances as you walk your path, you may be confused or when the flesh tempts and seduce you. He will never lead you into a lie, into error, for He is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13-15), He will lead you to pray (Ephesians 2:18), He gives you assurance (Romans 8:16), He will enable you to witness (Acts 1:8). He will showus that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4)
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:4. The Spirit of God leads the people of God. Don’t resist Him, don’t grieve Him, follow His directions. He will lead you to live right and do right. He will not bring you into bondage or legalism to the law, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” We are to “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has set us free and not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage”. Galatians 5:1.
Don’t Be Ignorant About Gods Will
“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).
God wants us to use our brain and a sanctified common sense and Godly conscience to follow and serve Him. He wants us to be enlightened by the Word and convicted by the Spirit. Believers need instructed by His Word. He wants to lead us to His paths and be acquainted with His ways. God will reveal His will for us. He says “Lean not unto thine own understanding!” (Prov. 3:5). He says “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psa. 146:3.) God makes something good out of the messes we make of our lives. He knows the hidden things and leads His sheep step-by-step. We follow our shepherd through the divine wisdom and helps us make the best possible decisions (James 1:5;). We are not to lean on our own understanding but trust in the Lord (Prov. 3:5, 6).
His direct will. God’s Will of Decree, or Sovereign Will
The “will of God” He is sovereign and in control of all that comes to pass. Jesus said in Gethsemane, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matt. 26:29. Gods plan would be accomplished. Acts 4:27-28. The “will of God” was that Jesus must die. He decreed and nothing could change it.
Gods permissive will was that he permitted sinful men like, Herod, Pilate, the soldiers, the Jewish leaders to fulfill God’s will that his Son be crucified (Isa. 53:10). .
Gods overruling will. Paul tells us, “In him [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” Eph. 1:11.
Romans 12:1-2 God wants all that we do to be “spiritual worship.” Verse 1: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Gods will is to use your minds, hearts and bodies to worship Him. That’s the way he will lead us. Our minds are to transformed to think his way. Verse 2 “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” This will effect the way we follow the Good shepherd and how we live.