Tuesday, January 27, 2009
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A dear friend of this ministry donated the car that he was about to trade in. It was a whole lot more car than I was used to driving, and it was a wonderful gift. It was pretty much fully loaded. One of its nice features was a compass that was mounted on the rear view mirror. At any given moment, it was showing an "N" for north, or an "S" for south...you get the idea. Now for someone with my sense of direction. Wait...did I say "sense"? That compass is a real boon. I have no excuse now for not knowing where I'm going. Hey, just consult the compass!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Never Get Lost."
If you belong to Jesus Christ, I have great news for you. You don't ever have to be lost when it comes to knowing the right direction. God is in the business of providing a compass for all His children so they can know on a daily basis the right way to go.
There's a dramatic example of that in our word for today from the Word of God in Numbers 9:15. It says, "On the day the tabernacle...was set up, the cloud covered it...and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the Lord's command the Israelites set out, and at His command they encamped...whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out."
Here's the picture: two important guidelines for God's children today from this example of how He led His children yesterday. First, God guides us in ways that we won't miss Him. We can miss Him if we're not following closely, but we always can know the direction He wants us to go. In this case, there was this massive cloud that His children couldn't miss. When it's dark, you can't see a cloud very well, so God lit it up with fire at night; again, so they could not miss if He was moving or where He was going. By the way, notice that the darker it is, the brighter God's direction is.
Now how does God lead us today? How can we see the pillar of cloud? Where's His compass? Let me suggest three factors that God uses to give clear direction to those who are seeking it. First, a timely verse. As you pray for direction, God will just light up a verse or verses in His Word that seem as if they were written just for you, just for this situation. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" the Bible says. The lantern of God's Word doesn't show you the whole picture, usually just the next step. Secondly, God directs us through defining circumstances as He did Paul in Acts 16. It says God's Spirit closed the door to one mission field and opened the door to another.
Thirdly, the "pillar" comes in the form of an inner compulsion - the kind Paul talked about in Acts 20:20, "I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing..." He didn't know what awaited Him, but the magnet of God was pulling Him to Jerusalem. God's Spirit often leads us with a strong inner pull that seems to say, "I can't not do this!"
So God guides us in ways we won't miss Him. There's a Part 2 to this equation, though. Our job is to move only and always as He does. Just like those Old Testament believers. No matter how long the cloud stood still, they didn't let their impatience with the status quo make them run ahead of God. Conversely, no matter how quickly or how often the cloud moved, they didn't get so settled into the status quo that they refused to move when God was moving.
This very day, God's wanting to show you the way to go with His pillar of cloud. Your Holy Spirit compass can keep you from ever getting lost. Listen to God's promise, "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go" (Isaiah 48:17).