“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Prov. 3:6
I was talking to someone recently who asked me to pray that God would give him (or her) direction in life right now. I told this individual, “God will give you direction when you’re headed the right way.” This may sound blunt, but the occasion warranted it, I think. And this promise in Proverbs immediately came to mind.
There are some promises in the Word of God that are conditional, while others are unconditional. This verse is an example of a conditional promise. “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” If we want God to lead us, we have to consult Him. It only makes sense that a map is only helpful if one refers to and follows it. The word “acknowledge” here is not the casual meaning, as in the case of acknowledging an acquaintance on the street with a friendly “Hello”—a simple recognition. Instead, it’s the more formal meaning, which is to confess a person to be what he claims, and to own the authority of that claim.
Hebrews tells us, “...he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (11:6). Unless believe God to be Who He says He is, able to do what He says He can, we need not apply for direction in our lives. He must be acknowledged not only as a subject would acknowledge a Sovereign (which He is), but as a child would his Father (which He also is.) A judge may be called upon to decide a question of law; but surely the decisions he makes for his children are no less important. The former may be weightier, but the latter are no less meaningful to him.
Sometimes I come to God with weighty questions—important decisions. Other times I ask Him for, or about, so-called little things. Either way, I’m comfortable coming to Him. In the first instance, I know I’ll find infinite wisdom; in the second, I can always count on loving compassion and interest. I have acknowledged Him to be not only Lord of Heaven and Earth, but Lord of my life…all of it.
We read in Jeremiah 10:23, “...it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” Left to ourselves, all of us have a poor sense of direction. This is unfortunate, because day to day decisions will be governed by the default settings of your character and the direction in which we’re headed. After all, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction.” But God has promised if we’ll acknowledge Him and His right of way in our lives, He’ll graciously direct our paths. You can’t ask for a better deal than that.
“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye in it…” Isa. 30:21