The Berean Expositor
Volume 11 - Page 15 of 161
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Without any special prayer, or special guidance, this lamp unto our feet will settle the
Lord's will for us. We stand at the cross-ways of life. Which is the path for us? This
road seems attractive, but it leads in a direction where it will be difficult or impossible to
acknowledge the Lord in all our ways. That is the Lord's guidance; that shuts the door
for us. Scriptural examples, as well as individual experience, go to show that the Lord's
answers are far more frequently in a negative than in a positive direction.
Take, as an illustration, the case of the apostle Paul and those with him as given in
Acts 16: 6-10. After they had preached the word in Phrygia and Galatia, we find that
they were forbidden to preach the word in Asia. Here is a negative leading; they were not
told where they were to preach, but were simply forbidden to preach in that one spot.
They arrived on their journey at Mysia, and here it appears they wondered whether it was
the Lord's will for them to evangelize Bithynia; "but the Spirit suffered them not." Here
again was a negative answer, there was no other course open apparently than to go
straight on, so
"passing by Mysia they came down to Troas, and a vision appeared unto Paul in the
night.......immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that
the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them."
Here was at last the positive. There is no mystery whatever about the preponderance of
negatives in our experience. Just as there is one right way of doing a thing and a hundred
wrong ways, so is it with the will of God. And just as there are 99 chances to 1 that we
shall adopt the wrong way first, so it is highly probable that we shall attempt to preach in
our Asia, or assay to go into our Bithynia instead of going straight from our Galatia to
Troas and Macedonia.
The negative answers will grow less in proportion to the nearness of our walk to the
Lord, and the knowledge of His will. As we grow in grace we shall sense as it were the
right and the wrong, we shall ask less for those things that are not according to His will,
we shall seek more to please Him than to please ourselves, and instead of experiencing a
whole list of negatives, we shall approach the Divine plan for us more quickly and
certainly. Our prayers are answered when the Spirit forbids or suffers us not, just as
surely as when He gives the vision and the assurance of the call.
With what certainty we tread when the positive answer is given: "immediately we
endeavoured", "assuredly gathering", "we came with a straight course", and we find
the one "whose heart the Lord opened", (Acts 16: 6-15). It is helpful in this connection
to remember the LXX rendering of Prov. 3: 6:--
"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall RIGHTLY DIVIDE thy paths."