Lead me in the everlasting way!
In our planning and processes have we neglected to listen to the still, small voice of the Lord, asks Dave Ayling.
David had an amazing revelation of the heart of God towards his people.
Psalm 139:23-24 says: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
The everlasting way isn’t all about the destination… it’s about the journey! The Bible calls us to journey with God – we are called to follow Jesus, to walk with the Spirit, to be pilgrims in this land, to move forward to the promise of his kingdom. It is the Lord who leads us, and we go with him. I think God wants us to enjoy the journey more than we do! I think he wants us to make the most of being with him and experiencing all that he has for us.
Jeremiah 31:9 adds, “I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.”
The promise of the Lord is to lead us through life. David – who knows so much about leading – recognises his own need to be led in the ways of God. This is the great challenge of our lives as followers of Jesus: being led by the Lord and his Spirit through our lives.
David recognises that being led in the everlasting way deals with two issues:
Firstly, it’s offensive ways that lead us down the wrong paths. You can’t reach the destination that God has for you if you follow offensive ways.
“Search me, O God,” means allowing him to decide what is the wrong way for us.
Proverbs 4:11 says, “I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.”
Remember the story of Balaam? The Lord sent an angel to stop him. Numbers 22:32 says, “The angel of the Lord asked him, ‘Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.’”
The Lord sent an angel and made a donkey talk to stop Balaam from a reckless path. As leaders, we won’t often get a donkey and an angel to tell us that we are choosing the offensive way… that is why David asks the Lord to see if there is something offensive in his life. Some attitude, direction or characteristic that he needs to change.
The Bible tells us that if we judge ourselves we will not come under judgement. We need to be able to allow the Lord to point out the offensive ways in our lives that lead us away from his life not towards it.
We all have them. The prophet told us to think carefully about the path. Jeremiah 6:16 says, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
Secondly, it is about remaining teachable. The everlasting way is not just a direction but a journey. It’s not simply a destination, but a pilgrimage through life with the Lord. Psalm 25:4-5 says. “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.”
This is what the Lord is looking for in our lives as we follow him – a sense of wonder and expectation. Our prayer should be: “Help me to walk in your ways today. Be my guide as I make decisions. Show me where you are going, what you are doing.”
I wonder sometimes if in our planning and processes we have neglected to listen to the still, small voice of our Guide, who has come to show us the way.
The key to being led is to be teachable. If God can use a donkey to guide Balaam, it’s just possible that that weird person in your church can help you walk the path! That the dead-end that you seem to be in can position you for more of the success of God’s plan and purpose.
The problem with being led is that it is hard to stay teachable; hard to admit you are lost and don’t know which way to go.
Psalm 32:8-9 adds. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”
It is just possible that the Lord might put you in a bit of discomfort to lead you with his loving eye. I think we struggle with the sovereignty of God today and find it difficult to trust that his ways are better than ours.
We need to be like David, who surrendered his path to the Lord: “Lead me in the everlasting way!”
Through all circumstances
The Bible teaches us that our Lord leads us through all sorts of experiences and opportunities. Through valleys and over mountains, across deserts and plains.
It is not the terrain that we are in that matters, but the determination to keep being led by the Spirit of the Lord through all the circumstances and experiences that we are going through.
To those who are struggling and feeling overwhelmed. Lead me Lord!
To those who are fighting battles of faith against the hounds of hell. Lead me Lord!
To those who are climbing the mountain with great anticipation. Lead me Lord!
To those who have wrongly taken an offensive way. Lead me Lord!
Dave Ayling is Senior Pastor at Derby City Church
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