‘And guided them on every side.’—2 Chron. xxxii. 22.
SEE the completeness of Jehovah’s guidance! It is so different from human guidance. How seldom we feel that a human counsellor has seen our difficulty from every point of view, balanced all its bearings, and given guidance which will meet all contingencies, and be right not only on one side, but ‘on every side.’ But ‘His work is perfect’1 in this as in all other details; He will guide ‘when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Perhaps we have gone about as Ely mas did in his mist and darkness, ‘seeking some to lead him by the hand,” putting confidence in earthly guides, and finding again and again that ‘it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps,’* and getting perplexed with one-sided counsels. Let us to-day put our confidence in His every-sided guidance.
Very often, the very recoil from an error lands us in an opposite one; because others, or we ourselves, have gone too far in one direction, we thenceforth
1 Deut. xxxii. 4. 2 Isa. xxx. 21.
* Acts xiii. II. •* Jer. x. 23.
do not go far enough, or vice versa: excess re-acting in defect, and defect in excess; a received truth overshadowing its equally valuable complementary one; the fear of overstepping the boundary line of the narrow track of truth and right, on the one side, leading us unconsciously to overstep it on the other side. But the promise which we should claim is, that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth, ‘on every side.’1
How intensely restful is this completeness of guidance! There is nothing outside of God’s all inclusive promises about it. ‘I will direct all his ways.” ‘I will direct their work in truth.” Not only the general course, but ‘the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord ;’1 and what is less than a single step! Just realize this: every single little step of this coming day ordered by Jehovah! And lest you should sigh, ‘This is not for me, because I am not good,’ He repeats the same assurance still more simply: ‘The Lord directeth his steps.” Now if we really believe these words, need we feel worried because we cannot see the steps ahead which Jehovah is going to direct, if we will let Him ?«
If we will let Him! Yes, this is no fatalistic leading. The guidance is conditional. He says, ‘I will guide thee with Mine eye;” but then we must look up to meet His eye. ‘Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel ;’8 but then we must listen for and listen to His counsel. ‘He shall direct thy paths;”
1 John xvi. 13. 2 isa. xlv. 13. 3 isa. Ixi. 8.
^ Ps. xxxvi. 23. 5 Prov. xvi. 9. * Isa. xlii. 16.
‘ Ps. xxxii. 8. 8 Ps. Ixxiii. 24. 9 Prov. viii. 34.
but it is when we acknowledge Him in all our ways.2 He does not lead us whether or no!
Suppose a little child is going with its father through an untracked wood. If it walks ever such a little way apart, it will make many a lost step; and though the father will not let it get out of sight and hearing, will not let it get lost, yet he may let it find out for itself that going just the other side of this tree leads it into a hopeless thicket, and stepping just the other side of this stone leads it into a muddy place, and the little steps have to be retraced again and again, till at last it asks the father to hold its hand, and puts and leaves its hand in his. Then, and not till then, there will be no lost step, for it is guided ‘on every side.’
Need the little child go on a little longer by itself first? Had it not better put its hand into the father’s at once? Will you not do so ‘ from this time ‘?2 from this morning? Give up trying to pick your way; even if the right paths in which He leads you are paths that you have not known, say, ‘Even there shall Thy hand lead me.’3 Let Him teach you His paths,4 and ask Him to make not your way, but ‘Thy way straight before my face. ‘5 So shall you find the completeness and the sweetness of His guidance. For ‘the Lord shall guide thee continually,” ‘by the springs of waters shall He guide’ thee ;T He shall be the guide of your youth, and carry you even unto your old age ;8 He will be your guide even unto death,9 and beyond: for one strain of the
song of the victorious ones that stand upon the sea of glass mingled with fire1 shall be, ‘Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy Holy habitation.”
‘I know not the way I am going,
But well do I know my guide;
With a childlike trust I give my hand
To the Mighty Friend at my side:
And the only thing that I say to Him
As He takes it, is: “Hold it fast;
Suffer me not to lose my way,
And lead me home at last.”‘