God’s Guidance: A Legacy of Faith

by Norman Bishop

This week’s study from the book of Proverbs will examine one of the most well-known verses in the Bible regarding God’s guidance. In four simple phrases, King Solomon records three essential principles for discerning God’s paths in Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” NIV

Solomon encourages us to trust God, to refuse to lean on our own intellect in self-reliant pride, and to walk with God in worship and submission. In the final phrase, God gives a promise: He will surely guide us.

Let’s examine the first phrase-trusting God completely. God appeared to Solomon twice in his lifetime. The first encounter is recorded in I Kings chapter three. When God appeared to the young monarch, Solomon referred to the impact his father’s faith had made upon him in 1 Kings 3:6:

“Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.” NIV

• What are your greatest challenges in being able to trust God with your life?

• Can you remember a time when God spoke clearly to you as a result of your prayers? How did that make you feel?

• How often do you search for God’s counsel? Do you enjoy remaining in His presence in prayer, patiently awaiting His answers, or is it really difficult to be patient?


Solomon received a remarkable legacy from his father David. King David, with all his foibles, powerfully taught his son about a life of trusting God. You see, David kept a diary. Every psalm ascribed to the Shepherd-King was a window into David’s soul. David’s poems were beautifully artistic, brutally honest, and deeply spiritual. Few children have inherited such a cherished gift from their parents! Psalms is divided into five books. Most of Book One (Psalms 1-41) is attributed to David. Here are just a few observations from David concerning God’s guidance:

Psalm 5 is a tender song accompanied by flutes. David, surrounded by his enemies (Vs. 4-6,8) sighed heavily and earnestly cried out to God for wisdom:

“Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies—make straight your way before me.” Psalm 5:8 NIV

Psalm 16, a mitkam of David depicts a devoted man who delighted to remain in the center of God’s will (vs. 5-6). Verse seven paints a picture of David seeking God’s counsel at night:

“I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.” Ps. 16:7 NIV

David’s most beloved poem, Psalm 23, teaches that God guides us in paths of righteousness for the sake of His kingdomplan:

“He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Ps. 23:3 NIV

Solomon learned that God leads us to play a part in His grand design.Psalm 25 is one of David’s most complete theological treatises discussing the dynamics of Divine revelation and human
comprehension. In twenty-two short stanzas, David gives us tremendous insight into the heart of God. Verses 1-3 reveal that the person who lifts up his soul to God in trust will never be put to shame. Verses 4-7 is a model prayer for seeking God’s will. David writes that understanding God’s ways (His heart) intimately is the key to discovering how to respond to His leading. The rest of the Psalm discusses the significance of confession, humility and constant communion. The final picture King David paints describes a love relationship between creature and Creator:

”The LORD confides in those who fear him; He makes his covenant known to them.” Psalm 25:14 NIV

• Take a brief moment and write a prayer to God. Ask Him for wisdom regarding the current struggles in your life.

• Can you reflect on a time in your life when you got on your knees, asked God to guide you, and surrendered to God without relying upon your own wisdom? What did that feel like? Where did it lead you? Can you see the blessings that you reaped from this action of devotion?

• Can you think of anyone you know that appears to trust God’s guidance in all they do? How do they do that? What do you observe in them?


“If we make life decisions apart from God’s leadership, we will flounder. Self-effort and self-reliance only produce frustration. When we seek God’s wisdom and direction, we become wise. We are freed from sin’s bondage and experience true fulfillment. Why, then, is it so hard for Christians to actually seek God’s counsel in all we do? Why do we make major life decisions, and then ask God to put His stamp of approval on our plans?

A great example of this came years ago when it was obvious that God was calling me to a new place. The firm for which I had been working had just merged with another larger company. I had been the General Manager of our little eleven-person business. In the owner’s grace, he secured a job for me within the merger. The job was paltry-with little responsibility, a pay decrease, and a relocation from Denver, Colorado to Eugene, Oregon. Being young and totally sure of myself, I said ‘no thanks.’ I sent a proliferation of resumes to Denver employers. Quite frankly, at that point in my career, my resume and experience were impressive, yet there was no response. Frustrated, I finally began to pray about it. I clearly was nudged. The Holy Spirit said, ‘I need you in the Pacific Northwest.’ I stubbornly responded: ‘Are you sure? You have to be kidding! It rains there all the time!’ After a few weeks of struggling with God’s call and a couple of fruitless interviews, I decided I should seek employment in the Pacific Northwest. I subsequently sent fifteen letters of application to places in Washington state. To my surprise, twelve successful companies contacted me within a week’s time requesting interviews with me. Still unsure that God wanted me there (pretty dense wasn’t I?), I selected the five best, flew to Seattle/Tacoma, and interviewed. Each of the five companies offered me positions that were jobs I would really enjoy. Upon returning home, I received even more calls from other companies interested in hiring me.

I ask you, why would God have to close every wrong door, nudge me, and then push me out the door to do what He wanted? If I had just sought His guidance, I would have more rapidly enjoyed His wisdom. I could have avoided three months of feeling inadequate while unemployed. I know the answer-I was too proud and selfish to seek His counsel. I failed to trust His leadership even when He made His will so obvious it was right in front of my face!”-Norm Bishop


Read Proverbs 20:5; 18:13; 13:16; 19:2; and 13:5; Psalms 5, 16, 23 and 25.

In the area below, write out the Scripture(s), thought(s), and question(s) from today’s devotional that you want to spend more time thinking about. What will you apply to your life?

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