GOD knew the hearts of Mary and Joseph. Because HE knew that they would listen to HIS words and follow them, HE could lead them in what they needed to do. That was so important in their raising of JESUS. GOD wants to use each of us too. HE has specific assignments for us and HE wants to lead us in the way we should go.
But how do we get direction in our day in/ day out decision making?
I maintain that we can get direction the same way Mary and Joseph did.
They didn’t run to people to get advice but turned to GOD and what HE said. “YOUR words are my counsellors” (Psalm 119:14). For HIS Word broadens our understanding (Psalm 119:32).
Neither did Mary nor Joseph act on their feelings/ emotions. Mary could have drawn back in fear of what Joseph or other people would think or of even being stoned to death. But instead she submitted herself totally to GOD and pondered in her heart GOD’s words given her through HIS messengers (Luke 1:26-2:19). Joseph didn’t work on emotions either for he most likely did not want to begin his marriage with Mary to be in name only. But he waited for his marriage rights until after JESUS was born (Matthew 1:25). When Joseph was afraid, because of the news he heard, Joseph didn’t go on what he felt, but listened and followed the instructions of GOD’s word- given through the LORD’s messengers (Matthew 1:19-25, 2:13-15, 19-23).
Am I contending that we wait for an angel to appear to tell us what to do? No way!
It is written that GOD spoke HIS word through HIS prophets, HIS messengers (Hebrews 1:1). We are also told that all scripture was written for us- for out learning (I Corinthians 10:11, Romans 15:4) and that all Scripture was written as GOD the Holy SPIRIT moved on the hearts of HIS messengers to speak HIS words (2 Timothy 3:15-17, Acts 28;25, 2 Peter1:19-21). So as we read or listen to GOD’s Word, GOD can and does speak to us personally (Hebrews 4:12). By knowing HIS word, we learn what GOD our heavenly FATHER is like and how HE acts. In that way we know how we are supposed to act. Just like a toddler learns how to act by mimicking what they see.
“Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of GOD” (Matthew 4:4).
Charles Stanley put it well: If we ignore the Bible, we’re like someone who smashes his compass and flashlight and then tries to find his way out of a jungle at night.
But there is much said in the Bible. how do we get specific direction for our specific situation?
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (don’t trust in your own ideas). In all your ways (that means everything- big or small) acknowledge HIM (talk to GOD about it) and HE will direct your path (lead you in what you do). Be not wise in your own eyes (Proverbs 3:5-7a, explanation added).
“For it is GOD who is at work in you both to want to do and to be able to do HIS good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, personal translation).
Remember how much trouble the Jews got into by doing what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:16, 21:25)? “Woe to the obstinate children, says the LORD. “ to those who carry out plans that are not MINE… who go and do without consulting ME” (Isaiah 30:1,2).
If you lack wisdom, you are told to ask GOD who will freely and generously give to all who ask IF they go expecting HIM to answer them and are determined to do what HE says. But, if you go without expectation and without commitment to obey, don’t bother… for HE will not tell you anything (James 1:6-8)
“For without faith it is impossible to please GOD, for he who comes to GOD must believe that GOD is and that GOD rewards those who diligently seek HIM (Hebrews 11:6). GOD demands expectations and rewards them.
We can’t depend on our feelings, for there is no standard to keep them in line. For “our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked and we can’t know it” (Jeremiah 17:9).
We can’t depend on someone else’s or on our own understanding and ideas because of our limited knowledge and understanding. We don’t know all the facts. But we can talk everything over with GOD and ask for HIS wisdom. We are encouraged to run to HIS throne for mercy and grace to help in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16).
We can get to know GOD’s word so that when HE speaks it to our hearts, in our times of need we will know HE is talking. That is often how HE leads us in the way we should go (Isaiah 30:21).
A couple of simple illustrations:
I am usually even tempered but there are times I get angry. Often when I stop to talk it over with GOD, HE reminds me to put away my anger (Psalm 37:8).
Sometimes after a busy day and I am so tired and my legs ache and I see a mound of dishes left from cooking and feeding the nine of us. I initially rebel and say to myself, “NO! I won’t do them!” But then a little nudge and a whisper, “Do all things for ME” (Colossians 3:23 KJV). When I choose to obey, HE gives me the energy to do them and it goes quickly.
I am not saying that GOD requires you to always do the dishes. HE doesn’t always require it of me either. I am just giving you a simple example of how HE works with me to direct my steps, hoping it will help you hear HIM speak to you. For that is HIS heart. HE wants to talk everything over with you.
Just one more thing before I close. I have found when GOD had impressed on me that I should do something (text, do the dishes or write a blog- it doesn’t matter what) but I have not done it, HE will not give me any more instructions until I do what I already know I should do. So if you know you should do something, get with it and then go to GOD for the next step.
Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you (Matthew 7:7). JESUS is the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6) and will lead you in the way you should go.
Looking unto JESUS the Author and Finisher of my faith