Seeking God’s Guidance When Troubles & Confusions Multiply

2 Corinthians 4:8; Psalm 73:24 ;Psalm 31:3

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.

Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel.

For thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Any sincere follower of God may use these words.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Happy is the man who personally appropriates God’s Word, and practically uses it as his comfort and counsellor…One of the most practical benefits of Holy Writ is guidance in the acts of daily life; it is not sent to astound us with its brilliance, but to guide us by its instruction.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): In dark and doubtful [times], when a man multiplieth consultations and perplexed thoughts, and changeth conclusions as a sick man doth his bed, and knows not what course to take, whether this or that, then the Word will direct him what to do, so as that a man may find quiet in his soul.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): The grand question is this: Is God’s Word sufficient or not?

THOMAS MANTON: Indeed, here is the question: How far is the Word of God a counsellor to us in such perplexed and doubtful cases?

ALEXANDER COMRIE (1706-1774): [Believers] “expect” counsel and teaching in obscure matters. Sometimes the soul is brought into circumstances wherein she knows not God’s will, nor can distinguish between sin and duty, which come very close, since both in what she commits and omits, the soul can fall into sin against the Lord.

C. H. SPURGEON: Of two evils, choose neither.

THOMAS MANTON: The Word of God will help him to understand how far he is concerned in such an action in point of duty and conscience…Now it is a great relief to the soul, when a man understands how far he is concerned in a point of duty. The conflict many times lies not only between light and lust, or light and [self-interest]―then a gracious man knows what part to take; but when it lies between duty and duty, then it is tedious and troublesome to him. Now the word will clearly tell you what is your duty in any action, whatever it be. As to the prudent management of the action in order to success, the Word will teach you to go to God for wisdom (James 1:6), and to observe His answer.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): God at all times, circumstances, and places, though ever so minute, ever so particular, will―if we diligently seek the assistance of His Holy Spirit, apply general things to our hearts, and thereby―to use the words of the Holy Jesus―“lead us into all truth” and give us the particular assistance we want.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): If any man object, that angels come not down daily from heaven to reveal unto us what we ought to do, the answer is ready, that we are sufficiently taught in the Word of God what we ought to do, and that they are never destitute of the counsel who ask it of Him, and submit themselves to the government of the Spirit. Therefore nothing doth hinder and keep us back from being ready to follow God, save only our own slothfulness and coldness in prayer.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Study the Word with prayer. Mark the Divine Spirit shedding light upon it.  Compare it with the observation of the providences of the day (Psalm 107:43); not judging by constitutional bias―a most doubtful interpreter―but pondering with sober, practical, reverential faith. Let the will be kept in a quiet, subdued, cheerful readiness, to move, stay, retreat, turn to the right hand or to the left, at the Lord’s bidding; always remembering that is best which is least our own doing, and that a pliable spirit ever secures the needful guidance.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD: It is the application of all the doctrinal and historical parts of Scripture, when we are reading them over, that must render them profitable to us, as they were designed “for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, and to make every child of God perfect, thoroughly furnished to every good work,” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. I dare appeal to the experience of every spiritual reader of Holy Writ, whether or not, if he consulted the Word of God in this manner, he was not at all times and at all seasons, as plainly directed how to act, as though he had consulted the Urim and Thummin which was upon the high priest’s breast.  For this is the way God now reveals Himself to man: not by making new revelations, but by applying general things that are revealed already to every sincere reader’s heart.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): One erroneous principle, than which scarce any has proved more mischievous to the present glorious work of God, is a notion that it is God’s manner in these days to guide His saints―at least some that are more eminent―by inspiration, or immediate revelation.

A. P. GIBBS (1890-1967): Like the people of Athens, they spend their time in nothing else, but either to tell or hear of some new thing.  This is a mischievous malady indeed.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): When God is said to enlighten us, it is not that we should expect new revelations, but that we may see the wonders in His word, or get a clear sight of what is already revealed.  Those that vent their own dreams under the name of the Spirit, and divine light, they do not give you mysteria, but monstra―portentous opinions; not to show you the wondrous things of God’s law, but the prodigies of their own brain…The light which we have, is not without the Word, but by the Word.

JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): He that would utterly separate the Spirit from the Word, had as good as burn His Bible.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD: Our blessed Lord, though He was the eternal God, yet, as man, He made the Scriptures His constant rule and guide―And thus, when led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil, He repelled all his assaults with “It is written.”  A sufficient confutation this, of their opinion who say “the Spirit only, and not the Spirit by the Word, is to be our rule of action.”  If so, our Saviour, who had the Spirit without measure needed not always to have referred to the written word.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Every child of God has a twofold guide: the Word without, and the Spirit within, Isaiah 30:20,21: “Thine eyes shall see thy teachers: and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): To ascertain the Lord’s will we ought to use scriptural means.  Prayer, the Word of God, and His Spirit should be united together. We should go to the Lord repeatedly in prayer, and ask Him to teach us by His Spirit through His Word.  I say by His Spirit through His Word. For if we should think that His Spirit led us to do so and so, because certain facts are so and so, and yet His Word is opposed to the step which we are going to take, we should be deceiving ourselves.


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