The Leading of God.
(From a recorded sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi, Night Vigil, 8/25/95)
"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways." (Psalm 119:1-3)
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed
thereto according to thy word" (Psa.119:9)
The verses above said "blessed are the undefiled in the way". Remember, the Christian race is like a journey. We are on a journey to a glory land, like the Hebrews were on a journey to the promised land. The road signs warn us: we are moving closer to the city of God: Jesus is coming soon! But what are we to be like on this journey. The Lord reminds me of this verse: "Blessed are the undefiled in the way". We are walking in this way. But you can remember many of our folks started with us many years ago. One can say "you know that man who was almost a preacher among us? he is backsliden. You can see he is defiled now, gone back into fornication, revelry and so forth!" We know a lot of ministers, over the years who had been defiled. What do we mean by being defiled? They went back into sin. They went into fornication or adultery, or drunkeness. But the Lord is reminding us here: "Blessed are the undefiled in the way".
It reminded me of a long time ago, after I graduated from College, and started to work in an engineering shop. I witnessed about Jesus to a co-worker who had been out of college many years before me. The man saw the zeal and enthusiasm for Jesus in me, fresh from College and he commented to others that "give Julius some few years after college and he will be back into the things he condemned just like the rest of us." But I reminded him of the words of the Lord Jesus himself: "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (Jn.10:29). Behold, twenty years later, bro. Julius is still with zeal and enthusiasm, preaching Jesus. Young people, you have to make up your mind to follow Jesus. No man can pluck you out of the Father's hand. The problem with many folks is that they voluntarily pluck themselves out of the Father's hand. He has left us with our free will. Christ said "any one that comes to me I will in no wise cast out". But Judas Iscariot casted himself out!
We know that all the things spoken of in the bible are going to take place. We know that we are on a journey. We only have to be holy and spotless before God. God said "wherewithal" or "How can a young man cleanse his way? " He answered it by himself: "By taking heed thereto according to thy word". God's word! So that's all we need to do: Take heed to the word of God. Someone mentioned temptation, that there are lots of temptations! Who cares? Resist it! Violently sometimes! Think of temptation as someone or something is trying to push you over the cliff to your death. Won't you resist the atempt violently?
It reminds me of a new convert, a lady, who began to attend our bible study in the late 70's. I was still single and living alone in an apartment. This lady had some carry-over dresses which were so short a godly lady ought to stop wearing them, because when she sat on a chair, one could see all her upper thighs. She came to my apartment to pay me a visit one day and I noticed the shortness of the dress. I pointed it out to her that the dress is too short for her now and that she should stop wearing such. And the lady smiled and giggled, as if to say "I tantalize the man!" I became furious in my spirit, and told her loud "this is not a joke! If you don't want the correction, keep away from us! We are on our way to heaven! If you don't go, don't hinder me, lady! This is serious business!" I know she got the message that day. That is why I said, you may have to resist temptation violently. Do I hear some Amen? Similarly, you godly ladies who keep wearing pants and sexy-looking dresses and think you are doing no wrong: are you serving God or yourselves? Think about it! Is your revealed contour causing some sinners or weak brothers to commit adultery and fornication with you in their minds?
Yea, Blessed are the undefiled in the way who walk in the law of the Lord! Don't get defiled! I remember a minister said in his book that when he was growing up, a voice spoke to him that "God has a work for you in the future, don't defile yourself like the other kids". Though he was scared when he heard the voice, it stayed true that God used the minister mightily in the 50's. Blessed are the undefiled in the way who walk in the law of the Lord. They also do no iniquity; they walk in his ways. All we ought to do is to keep ourselves in the narrow road, to make sure that we are undefiled in this journey, and do no iniquity. We don't assume we are okay, but we are to consciously walk in his ways. Amen!
"How will a young man cleanse his ways? By taking heed thereto according to thy word!"
There are three things the Lord pointed out to me in this exhortation. The Lord lead his people in several ways. One of the ways is by circumstances.
What do I mean by being led through circumstances? I will give some examples in a moment. Sometimes it can be through direct instruction from the Lord. We all love to receive such instruction where we hear a dream or vision or prophecy or God talks and you hear his voice. Another way God has been known to lead people is by understanding. He reveals something to your understanding. That may be classified as the "word of knowledge" which is one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost. It can be understanding of the scriptures. It can be also another form of understanding whereby you search and study, then you understand and therefore take some actions. That will look like we are doing it ourselves. God still leads that way. It may look as if it is ourselves who studied and used our intellectual knowledge to make decision, but if we walk with the Lord, He has used such knowledge to reveal more to us to guide our way, especially in business issues. God delights in leading his children in all aspects of our life. Sometime it could be through counselling, where someone else understood and gave you counsel. Either you ask for advice or they saw that you need one and they gave it to you. It can be later realized that the Lord actually led you to the counsellor or led the counsellor to you. I am simply generalising the ways whereby the Lord can lead someone.
Instead of waiting for a dream or vision or prophecy, which God does use regularly, we must throw these also in that circumstances sometimes will be used by God to lead mankind. Ofcourse you can go further and classify the classes of relationship with God which will enjoy one form of leading more than the other form of leading.
Being led through circumstances:
For example, remember the situation with Jacob the son of Isaac. They were living in Canaan while Joseph was already in Egypt. There came a famine. No more food, no more grass. Even if Jacob would not like to leave Canaan, but due to the bad circumstance caused by the famine, and there came an invitation from Joseph to come over to Egypt, he had to move. The famine has set things up for him not to refuse by the time the invitation came. God didn't tell Jacob upfront to move to Egypt even though the famine has started, until Joseph's invitation came. Then the Lord confirmed to Jacob that God will go with him into Egypt. (Gen.46:1-4).
For another example, the hebrews had been in Egypt for long. They enjoyed the favour of Joseph for a long time. Suddenly things turn around, and they were enslaved. That was an evil circumstance. Remember God did not cause those evil circumstances, even though God will use it to fulfill his purpose in the end. God used the persecution perhaps to call their attention in Egypt. "And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey." (Exo.3:7-8).
Circumstances do happen, sometimes naturally, and sometimes by the devil. When they happen, and people find themselves in the dilemma, when they call upon the Lord, he will guide them out of the trouble. Psalm 107 is full of cases of such situations and when God delivers men, the psalmist wrote "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"
Remember this, young people, as you grow up, circumstances will come your way. You may come to a cross road of decisions to make. When you cry unto the Lord, He will show up to lead you in the right way. It may be the circumstance that make someone to cry unto the Lord and to look for an alternative.
Suppose somebody employed with good salary is suddenly laid off or fired from his employment. He has not been looking for job for years, but he is now fired from his job. Now he is going to begin to look for job. A lot of folks have been driven, in such situations, to set up their own company, to work for themselves or to change career which succeeded. If they were successful in their new ventures they would say the Lord led them in the proper way, but they were set up for that change by the circumstances. God did not cause the man to be laid off or fired from his previous job. He only brought something good out of a bad situation. As we usually say, "all things work together for good to them that love the Lord; to them which are called according to his purpose."
Another example is seen in the book of Ruth. An evil circumstance caused the woman, Naomi, to lose all her sons in Moab, which made Ruth the daughter-in-law came back to Judah to re-marry a kinsman called Boaz. From Boaz and Ruth came the line of king David.
God can always bring something good out of a bad situation if we follow the Lord.
This is one thing the Lord wants me to point out in discussing circumstances: In Rev.13, God will use that circumstances of persecution. God will not cause the persecution himself, but it will occur. Verse 7 said "power was given to the beast (antichrist) to make war with the saints, and to overcome them". That is the persecution. Many will be killed, many imprisoned. That evil circumstance will make believers to cry unto God. When they cry unto God, God will hear. Even before the rapture, there will be a form of such persecution which will make believers be fed up with this world. Then they can leave when God says "come up hither", they will be ready to leave. That is a circumstance which God will use to lead his people out of here.
Being led through understanding:
The second method I said is by understanding the scriptures. In the book of Daniel, Daniel said he understood by books after reading the book of Jeremiah. He used that knowledge to begin to pray for revival. (Dan.9:2). You may say this is like our own knowledge. Yes, God can inspire your knowledge to serve his purpose, and thereby lead you in the right way. Revelative understanding is what I'm talking about. By revelative knowledge, from searching the scriptures, you may understand something and begin to take action. I studied the writings of the prophets, found out how they got supernatural power from the Lord, and I acted the same way, praying and fasting, and the Lord visited me also. That will still be the leading of the Lord, but it's through the understanding which he led me to acquire.
For another example, the birds, by instinct, perhaps the knowledge of weather changes, will begin to migrate from one side of the world to another side. It actually could be the understanding of the weather changes and the wind directions which they use.
The Magis came to the baby Jesus when he was born. They actually got some understanding. Either they had been reading some books, or by their study of the heavens, or whatever, the Lord stepped in to lead them to the Messiah. They could also have received dreams and visions along the way.
By direct instruction:
God can give direct instruction to those who can hear him. He has done that over and over and over. An example is the story of Noah. God spoke to Noah directly to prepare for the flood. Whether through vision or dream or by a voice, God told him how he should prepare an ark to escape the flood, with his household. So God do speak to individual by direct instructions. Abraham heard from God. Elijah also heard from the Lord to go from one city to another. Many of us have received direct instructions from the Lord at several occassions. It's not a forgotten method. However there are some pitfalls in some of these methods of leading which I'll like to point out in this exhortation. When we want to be led by the Lord, we also want to avoid those pitfalls.
For example, when we say we can be led by circumstances. Circumstances can also cause negative leading. Because of an evil situation, people can walk by sight and go in the wrong direction which the Lord has not led him to go. Those are things we want to watch against. We know all things work together for good to those that love the Lord. However, we want to make sure we are not taking the wrong steps by ourselves. Those who are not walking with the Lord before the bad situation occurs will still have difficulty in choosing the path out of the circumstances. The story of the Jews who fled to Egypt, after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, when those Jews found it difficult to accept God's counsel through Jeremiah that they should remain in Judaea, shows that before, during, and after the bad circumstances, men need to still walk closely with the Lord.
Abraham left Canaan and went to sojourn in Egypt because of famine which occured in the land which God promised him. That was an example of choosing the wrong direction out of an evil circumstance. He must have moved away from Canaan without the leading of the Lord, because he was sent away from Egypt by Pharaoh. (Gen.12:14-20). In the days of Isaac, when similar famine occurred, God told Isaac not to go into Egypt.
Even in direct instructions, we are to watch for some pitfalls. The devil can immitate some of those direct instructions. An example of how people can be misled by deception simply because they think it's a direct instruction from the Lord, is seen in the story of the prophet which was eaten by the lion. (1Kgs.13). This man of God from Judah was misled by a false prophet who claimed to have heard an Angel told him to bring the man of God back to eat in his house, contrary to what God originally told the man of God. This is a pitfall which can occur in listening to direct instruction. This man of God did exactly what God told him to do in Bethel and went away. But he did not go all the way back home. He stopped perhaps to rest on the road till the false prophet caught up with him to destroy him with lies. You can read the whole story yourself. What I'm pointing out is that even direct instruction has pitfalls to watch out for. The false prophet, called an old prophet in Bethel, has heard what this man of God told the king, that he was not to eat in that town, but the false prophet went after him to test him. He told the man of God that "I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. " But he lied to him!
Search the word of God, get the word, and line up whatever you receive or hear with the word of God, to be certain that it is the Lord speaking to you. Well, you may ask, "what is the word of God which this man of God from Judah should have used to compare with the lies of that false prophet?" Another prophet told him that he was instructed by an angel to bring him home for meal! What word of God should he have used to validate this new information? He has to know the ways of God perhaps. Could God have sent a second information like that, and has God changed his mind? It pays to walk closely with the Lord and really know his ways. Can God send another man to come and tell you a word which does not confirm what he originally told you?
For instance, many years ago in the 70's, most of the brethren around me were singles, and they had began to pair up as fiancees, planning to get married soon. In those days, there rose up certain personalities in the congregation who began to prophezy to individual sisters (and perhaps brothers), breaking the planned union. Strange prophecies like "your future man is not the brother you are going with now but that other brother over there!" There was bitterness and confrontation already surfacing from such demonic manifestations. If the first choice of your future partner was from God, would God have sent another prophet some months later, to prophezy that it should be another partner and not the one you already began to go steady with? That was an example of knowing the ways of the Lord which this man of God from Judah could have used to judge the false prophet.
Anyone who will follow direct instruction from the Lord must watch out for such pitholes. In dreams or in visions and in voices, there are pitholes, because the devil can always camouflage and mimmick those voices. That does not erase the fact that God gives dreams, and visions and do speak sometimes by his voice to saints. How then can you distinguish the true from the false? It's by walking closely with the Lord till you can identify and discern the voice of the Lord clearly. And then also the Holy Ghost in-dwelling the believer can confirm by the quickening of the spirit that what the believer receives is of the Lord. Ofcourse one has to get used to that signal from the Holy Ghost also. You may stumble and fall in few cases of learning to discern, but God will not cast you out for making mistakes. However, you don't want to make cataclysm mistakes of a life and death situation like that man of God from Judah.
There is another leading which I classified as "spiritual eye". It's like "the word of knowledge" in action. The Lord has made me to use this spiritual eye once or twice. For example, remember the story of Elishah the prophet: he was able to spot what Gehazi his steward was about to do, when he ran after Naaman the Syrian who had just been healed of leprosy, in order to take some of the gifts for himself. How did Elishah see what Gehazi did? He could have seen a vision of Gehazi on the road to meet Naaman, like a television. There was a gift the Lord gave me which I didn't recognize to be a gift until I think back at this. My testimony was as follows: a Christian brother stayed with me in 1982 during a brief visit. We were both singles then. He was already searching for a partner to marry. He began to tell me about a sister he had began to believe the Lord has brought across his path so that I could pray along with him on the issue. But he was not ready to tell me who this sister was. As he was describing the occasions where he had met this sister and the dreams and visions which he had seen afterwards which was telling him that God had this sister in mind for him, I began to search in the spirit which sister he was speaking about. Then the picture of the sister came to my spirit. When I told him who he was referring to, he was surprised and he asked " how do you know that she is the lady I am reffering to?" I simply told him, I used the spiritual eye to search the country among the brethren for whom he was talking about and I saw her in the spirit. Elishah could have used such gifts at several occasions, especially when searching for what to pray about for the brethren. I have used that "telescopic" eye, as I like to call it, to search for prayer points for the brethren at distant lands. Also in 2Kgs. when there was famine in Samaria. When the king of Israel was about to send a servant to Elishah saying, "the Lord is doing this against us why wait for the Lord any longer?" Elishah discerned it before the messenger came.
Those are gifts of discernment which we can pray for. Many ministers have testified to the feeling of the Spirit which make them to know that something is about to happen, or to know what is happening in a distance, so that they know what to pray for.
If you will just stop and desire to pray for your kids perhaps when they are gone to school. All you need to do is to look in your spirit towards the direction of the school and wonder what they may be getting into. Focus your mind on them. A prayer point may flash to your mind which can deliver them from trouble instantly. There had been testimonies on this by several saints of God, even mothers, homemakers in their kitchens, have paused and been reminded by the Spirit of God to scan and see situations of their children who were away from home, which they had rebuked in short prayers. And it was so, as they had prayed.
When you are in the Spirit always, you will be like the African proverb which says: "he sees with all his body". That is, he has eyes all over his body. Let's pray that such anointing come to the body of Christ.
Leading by Counselling:
The Lord can use counseling also to lead people. Moses was talking face to face with the Lord. Yet God didn't tell Moses how to handle the load until his father-in-law, Jethro the priest of Midian, came and saw how Moses was so busy. He gave Moses counsel to set up more or less an hierachy of government to handle the caseload of the people. (Exo.18:13-24). Moses had been doing the job for days and months. "And it came to pass on the morrow that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.... ... (v.17) And Moses father-in-law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou , and this people that is with thee: ... hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee cousel .....
(Verse 24) So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law and did all that he had said."
God did not tell Moses about this. Ofcourse God could have given him signals which he did not grasp. But Jethro had knowledge of government and he gave the counsel. Jethro told Moses "you shouldn't handle this job all alone, you've got to delegate!" Well it takes wisdom of experience to give such counsel. God later told Moses to chose seventy elders of the people and God put the Spirit upon those elders. There are some things God has already ordained on earth. He does not want us to keep calling him to re-invent the wheel. He perhaps will lead us to meet somebody or lead somebody to meet us to give us the counsel.
Sometimes it may be counseling that we need in order to do what we want to do.
These are ways by which the Lord can lead us.
However, Let's covet earnestly the best gifts. We need the gift of discernment. We may need to fast sometimes to get these gifts of the Holy Ghost. Let's pray that the Lord help us to exercise those senses to be able to scan and receive prayer points in order to interceed for our loved ones far away. Ask and ye shall receive!
I pray that the Lord will answer the prayer of everyone that sincerely desires and asks for the gift of the Holy Ghost, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Bro. Julius Adewumi
Gospel Distribution Ministry