God’s Leading: Biblical Leading
When we only go by what people think or what we see of it ourselves, then we do not get very far to notice God’s leading in our lives. It brings us even less to the point of recognizing God in his leading and to thank and honour him for that.
If we can get some Bible-light on our path, then we can improve our vision. We will even look past many things which otherwise would tend to take all our attention.
In God’s Word
Light from God’s Word shines on the life of the individual and over God’s leading in the life of an individual. When we first focus on the Old Testament, we discover that God’s leading in the life of man gets quite a lot of attention there. It is so often emphasized there that you could call the Old Testament a book of God leading people’s lives.
In the beginning of the Bible we already see that Eliezer receives the command to find a good wife for the second patriarch.
This servant of the “father of believers” gets the task to go to the land and family of Abraham. There, far away, he must search to find a bride for Isaac.
It is remarkable that Abraham’s servant goes on his way prayerfully, and to his great surprise he is able to finish his task so quickly. It is as if the Lord leads him directly to a wife for Isaac. After the necessary ceremonies Rebekah goes along to the Promised Land. Also Isaac may, in prayer, receive his wife from God’s hand. God’s leading can be clearly seen here. At the end of Gen 24:27 we read the clear confession: the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master's kinsmen!
Leading can sometimes be “leading out of,” such as we read in Genesis 19:29, when Lot is led out of Sodom. Even if God’s leading is not immediately apparent (we can even call it opaque), and the opposite of God’s leading seems to happen, we still see Joseph ending up in Egypt because of God’s hand. And this with the specific intent to later on keep God’s people alive in the midst of a severe famine.
Who cannot speak of God’s leading when Ruth travels with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem and so ends up in the field of Boaz and becomes his bride and in this way becomes one of the “mothers” of the promised Messiah.
The life of Moses is one huge example of God’s leading. It is not by chance that he ends up at an early age at the royal court, to be educated there in leadership. In this way he is being equipped to later on lead God’s people out of Egypt. And what first (as two forty-year periods) seemed like a detour, is being used by the Lord to lead a whole flock in the desert. God’s leading in the life of this extraordinary leader of Israel can be shown throughout his life.
Who does not believe in God’s leading when exactly at the moment that God’s people are threatened with extinction, Queen Esther receives a place at the royal court. Her “appearance” is even being utilized so that as queen she receives the opportunity to save her people, when the evil plans of Haman are about to be carried out.
Many more examples could be mentioned.
Job speaks of God’s leading from an early age. In Psalm 73:24 Asaph witnesses of being guided by God’s counsel. The psalms are filled with praying for God’s leading and with promises of God’s leading. To name a few: Psalm 25: 3, 5, and 9, Psalm 27:11, Psalm 31:3, Psalm 43:3, Psalm 45:15, and Psalm 61:2. The poet of Psalm 139 prays in verse 24 to be led in the way everlasting. He knows himself through and through dependent on God’s leading to tread on the right path.
In the New Testament
In the Old Testament you will find more talk about God’s leading of his children in comparison to the New Testament, where this is addressed less emphatically. Not that it is missing there. On the contrary.
In the very beginning we can notice God’s leading in the lives of the wise men from the East. Time and again they are shown the way. We notice that they indeed take this road in obedience.
Simeon is being led to the temple in God’s time, to prophesy there and to sing his “song” when Jesus is carried into the temple, to do with him according to the law of God. And it is not by chance that Anna stands right there as prophetess.
Joseph is being led to Egypt, together with Maria and Jesus, when dangers lurk in Bethlehem. Subsequently the Son of God is called out of Egypt, as is chronicled with prophetic words.
It is clear why the Son of God then must go to Nazareth, so that other prophesies may be fulfilled. Throughout salvation history, things do not happen randomly, but they are a continued leading of God. Especially Matthew can very often say in the life of Jesus that words of Scripture are being fulfilled in him.
Later we see God’s leading remarkably in the life of Philip, when he is led by the Spirit from his work situation to the lonely road from Jerusalem to Gaza, to meet the court official there. He has to proclaim to him that Jesus is the Lamb of God, about which the court official just read from the Isaiah scroll, which he brought along from the holy city. Along the way he thus starts to understand Isaiah 53 and is being baptized in Israel, probably as one of the first people from Ethiopia.
Paul is so being led that he always travels the road that the Lord shows him, even while knowing that he will be imprisoned and must witness to Christ in Rome. It is God’s leading that through him the gospel can be proclaimed with boldness in this world city, as the ending of the book of Acts shows us.
For those who love God all things work together for good, says Paul (Rom. 8:28), and all things are from him and through him and to him (Rom. 11:36).
We pray at and for church meetings for the leading of the Holy Spirit. But no less do we pray for this leading so that we ourselves may completely go hand-in-hand with God and end up where God wants us to be.
The supreme Founder of our salvation holds everything in his hand, as we read in Hebrews 2:10. He leads God’s children to glory.
In Hebrews 12:2, where he is called the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, we are being called to look upon him alone and to follow him in faith on the way which he shows us. We saw already mentioned in Hebrews 11 a whole row of “champions of the faith,” who all let themselves be led, also on seemingly impassable paths. But they walked these paths “by faith” alone.
This article was translated by Bram Vegter