Who was better equipped than David to teach us about God’s leading? (I guess you could answer “Christ”– being very God Himself, but I mean of the human with the capability to sin variety.) David started out on the fields of his father Jesse. From there he was chosen to be king of Israel, but only after all of his brothers were passed over. From there, he conquered Goliath at God’s leading, and then spent years being chased by Saul. He went into battle and expanded the empire, and even after he sinned and was paying the penalty, the Lord was still leading.
It is obvious that no man can be lead of God without a saving relationship with Him. That’s why Jesus came– so that we could have fellowship with the Father. Apart from this relationship, we wander in darkness. Ephesians 4:17ff talks about how Gentiles (or those without a relationship with God) walk in blindness, in darkness. Why are they such? Because they only have their internal feelings to guide them. What is right in their own eyes is what is right to them. Tell me that is not what we see a lot of today!
The next concept that we must master when seeking God’s will according to the passage is that of being submissive to that will once it is made known. In Psalm 25:9, David underscores this point. Why would God want to respond to a call for His leading when He knows you won’t follow it. J. B. Phillips, who is the author of a commentary on Psalms has this illustration:
A young believer comes to a counselor for guidance as to whether she should marry Sammy. The counselor asks: “Is he a Christian?” She says: “Oh yes. He’s a wonderful Christian. He never goes to church or reads his Bible but he’s a wonderful Christian.” The counselor says “If he’s not a born-again believer God says that you should not marry hi. The Bible says you are not to be unequally yoked together with an unbeliever.” But that is not what Maggie wants to hear, so she goes off and marries Sammy anyway. Maggie might be saved herself but she certainly was not submissive to the Word of God. Any guidance in her case is not only useless, it is incriminating.
In verses 10 and 11 we see two basic principles of guidance. A lot of times we have our priorities backward, and that is why we have trouble seeing God’s will as it is presented before us. In verse 10, David emphasizes what is important to God– that we keep His covenant and His testimonies. There’s a powerful truth here, if you’re looking for it.
You see, God is not really all that interested in what you are as He is in who you are. God is working His will in you for His purpose– to bring glory to Himself. He uses instances in our lives as trials, as times of testing and proving, and as times to bring glory to His Son. Look back through the Old Testament and you can see time after time where a circumstance was brought into someone’s life for the purpose of testing their character, and molding them into what they should become.
You can see it in the life of Job– where Satan challenged God about Job’s character, and God proved that Job was of upright heart. You can see it in the life of Abraham– God tested him first with the promise of a son and when Abraham failed that (to an extent) He tested him again with the life of that son. Look at the band of disciples that Jesus gathered unto Himself. People from all occupations, from all walks of life, all banded together by what He saw in them– their character and who they would be.
We get very focused on the decision that is at hand– what should I do with my life? Where should I live? Whom shall I marry? God’s asking instead for us to be people of character, people waiting on Him. He’s given us a blueprint for living a godly life– that’s part of the yoke that is references in Matthew 11:29 where Christ says that we are to take His yoke and He’ll take ours. You see, God is basically saying, “You concern yourself with living a life pleasing to me and let me worry about all the things you used to concern yourself with.” (Of course, he probably wouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition.)
Part of this is making sure we are right with Him. We need to confess and get any sin out of the way between us and Him. If we want Him to lead– if we want to take advantage of the promise and to live a right life so He will guide– we have to get that sin out of our lives.
We need to have a right attitude toward the Lord. We need to fear Him (Psalm 25:12-13). David states that it is the person that fears the Lord that God will guide. When Israel was in the wilderness, the Lord guided the people with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. That guide was useless when the people did not have their eyes affixed on it, though. It was also that cloud that covered the Mount where Moses ascended to gather the Ten Commandments– and the people trembled as the lightning and thunder crowed around it. They had a fear of the one who was in that mountain.
We also must be willing to spend time in the Word (Psalm 25:14). There will not a chapter and verse that will tell you your street address no matter how you parse it, but the Word will contain direction and how to please God. Phillips again states, “There is no situation we can face in life which is not covered by some specific word of God.”