November 11

Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) 9In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

16:25 (NIV) 25There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

We often go through life guessing which way is best. A man who wants to please the LORD will ask for His direction and help in decisions. Sometimes the answer comes clearly, and at other times there seems to be no answer at all. Yet, because of our situation, we must make the choice we think is best. Scripture declares that the LORD has already planned our steps. He has ordained each day of our life to teach us and draw us closer. We often fret over our decisions, but what a peace to know that when we choose what we believe to be the LORD's will, we will either have His instruction that we have made a mistake or we will go on in the steps He has already ordered.

The other side of this coin is the second verse above, which is repeated in the proverbs. To merely go by what looks good or seems right, may end in disaster. Only God can see all the consequences from a decision. We need to take the time to seek God's direction. Just because it looks good to men, or even may be a success in the eyes of the world, doesn't mean it is good for you. So what are we to do?

Commit your way to the LORD. Seek to know His will. Get the counsel of godly people. Make your decision with a heart surrendered to God. Then, trust that if you have erred, the LORD will make it clear to you and show you how to correct your error. It is not as if God cannot get through to us. As long as we have a surrendered heart that is listening, He can make His will clear to us.

Consider: If I am seeking to know God's will, He can make it known to me. Until He does, keep going in the direction He has led me.

November 11

Hebrews 4:11-13 (NIV) 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. 12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

The author of Hebrews compared our spiritual journey to that of the Jews making their way to the Promised Land. He reminded the Hebrews that they were promised a place of rest, but many never made it. We, too, are promised a place of rest from our efforts to be made right with God. If we place our trust in Jesus' work in our place, we no longer strive to please God by keeping rules.

It is a strange paradox that we make every effort to enter that rest. What is the effort against? The author points to two things, unbelief (3:19) and disobedience to the voice of God (4:6). Our sinful nature leans toward unbelief and disobedience, and we must make every effort to keep from sliding in that direction. When we see the historical examples and examples in lives around us of the devastation of unbelief and disobedience, we should let it remind us that going in that direction is utterly destructive. Make every effort to stand firm in your faith and obey the voice of God today.

Next, the writer tells us that the Word of God is a living and active thing. It is not just words from long ago. We share it with others, but as we do, it speaks to us. Those stories we read are God's voice to us today. It examines the thoughts and attitudes of our heart. Make every effort to hear and receive what is being said, mixing it with faith that results in action.

The language of the last verse implies that we must look straight into the eyes of God as He examines the very depths of our soul. He sees it all. There is no fooling Him. All the more reason to listen to and obey what the Word of God is speaking to your heart today.

Consider: Are you listening to the living Word today?