Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – August 21st, 2016
Theme: Standing on God’s Promises
Topic: I Will Guide You
Main Texts: Psalm 32:1-11; Acts 16:6-10
Key Verse: Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, we learnt the implication of God’s promise: “I Will Strengthen You”. God stands by His word, strengthening us in many ways:
- He strengthens us when we are emotionally down and feel despondent. None of us is above being emotionally drained – as we saw in the case of Elijah who was so discouraged he wanted to die – straight after the famous triumph at Mount Carmel!
- God strengthens us to overcome sin and evil. We saw him strengthen Joseph when being seduced by Potiphar’s wife. Paul echoed this type of strengthening in 1 Corinthians 10:13 where he says God ensures we are not tempted above our strength, and that He provides a way out of our temptations. We fall into sin when we do not draw from the strength He provides
- He strengthens anyone He chooses – even unbelievers – to do exploits to fulfil His purposes. He strengthened Samson and David to defeat the Philistines. He strengthened Nehemiah to lead the rebuilding of Jerusalem, just as He had strengthened the pagan king Cyrus to conquer Israel in order to restore His own people.
- We need to make ourselves available for strengthening to carry out the exploits needed to rid our nation of the ills holding it down from progressing.
This Sunday, we will be discussing God’s promise: “I Will Guide You”. If we could be certain that all decisions we take in life are truly guided by God, we would be truly confident that we are walking with Him. Our learning from the study should include the following:
- Over time God has guided His people in various ways; mostly by visible and physical indicators and prophets in the Old Testament, but more by His Word, the Holy Spirit and His manifestations in the New Testament.
- When we genuinely seek God for guidance on specific issues, we must, in the spirit of Isaiah 30:21, then move by faith, listening to Him to tell us “whether to turn to the right or the left”.
Our being guided by God does not mean that all would be easy and pleasant, and as such we must avoid judging guidance by immediate outcomes. God can indeed guide us into and through difficult paths as part of His overall plan. He guided Paul in His missionary journeys, but that did not stop Paul from being persecuted and imprisoned!
Imagine the confidence we would have if we could be absolutely certain that all we do, the decisions we take, our choices in life, are exactly as God guides! If we could be that certain, even when things seem to go wrong, we would maintain an inner peace – even if we are asking God “why me?” Prophet Hosea could bear the burden of a wayward wife because he knew he was in obedience to God. But imagine that he had not heard from God but just found himself with this whore of a wife! God knows the importance of our being sure we are led by Him, and has, from the beginning, led His people. When the Israelites left Egypt, “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” (Exodus 13:21 NIV). Then God raised prophets from among His people, through whom He revealed His will. God’s promise “I will guide you” is good for all time – He is just as willing to guide His people today as He was in the days of the patriarchs. His written Word is the first reference for guidance on all issues and no true guidance from Him contradicts the Word.
1. When we seek God’s guidance, what indications do we expect for us to be confident that He is indeed guiding us in key decisions and choices in life?
As we noted, the Israelites were guided by pillars of cloud and of fire on their way from Egypt to Canaan. Later, Gideon wanted assurance from God that he would lead the Israelites to defeat the enemies, he asked God for a visual sign of a fleece getting wet or not getting wet; God granted him the sign – Judges 6:33-40. God also chose to assure king Hezekiah of victory over the Assyrians by making a shadow go back ten steps – Isaiah 38:6-8. These, and other instances of God guiding His people through visible signs and wonders characterise the Old Testament, and have given many Christians the idea that the Christian can always seek God’s guidance by some kind of fleece. However, pointing to the day when the Christian would be guided by God’s Spirit rather than fleeces, God said to Isaiah: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21 NIV). We later see in the New Testament God guiding His people in ways not dictated by the individuals but as He chose.
2. From Isaiah 30:21 and Paul’s experience of God’s guidance in Acts 16:6-10, list some of the ways God guides us today, and the role we play in the guidance.
Within the few verses in Acts 16:6-10, we read statements of God guiding the disciples. We read statements like: “having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia” (v6); “they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” (v7). Apostle Paul buttressed this way of God’s leading when he wrote: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14 NIV). But we also read of a more eventful and dramatic leading: “During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”” (v9). However, despite these leadings, the disciples still suffered severe persecution.
3. How important is the outcome of our following what we believe to be the Spirit’s leading in confirming that we have indeed been led by the Holy Spirit in the matter in question?
Father, grant us the grace to so walk with You that we will have no doubt as to Your guidance in key matters of life and of Your kingdom, In Jesus’ name, Amen.