"Understanding God's Clear Direction"

Good Morning. If you have your Bibles turn with me to Psalm 25. King David the author of Psalms 25 finds that he is in trouble and danger. His foes are many. He has no idea what to do about his situation or even where to go, but he knows to call out to His God. David realizes that he needs God’s deliverance, God’s direction, God’s forgiveness and even God’s encouragement. Is this how we feel at times? God I need your direction.
The title of our message today is, “How To Understand God’s clear direction.”
Have you ever wondered what is crystal clear direction? What should I do about this problem or that situation? Many of us today have wondered what to do, where to go, how should I handle a particular situation and we want specific answers. So often, we have no idea where to go or even know what to do next. Having direction from God and having Him lead us is everything in this life. However there are several problems that arise. First of all, we want to be the leaders, and so humbly submitting to Christ is never easy. We like to be in control and directors of our own lives. Until we fully submit and surrender to Christ, life is always going to be an ongoing fight. The other problem is that we are not listening to God and His Word. This was a problem for the nation of Israel.
2 Kings 17:13–14 ESV
13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” 14 But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God.
Psalm 25 is an individual lament Psalm that is of course a Psalm of David even though in the last verse David asks of God, is to Redeem his people (Israel) from their troubles. This is also a prayer of confidence because David is confident in his God. David is confident that God’s guidance is wise and true.
So, how can we understand the clear direction of God?

1. We must turn confidently to the Lord in Prayer.

Psalm 25:1–3 ESV
1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. 3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
David’s appeal here is to the Lord. Notice Davids Words here in verses 1 and 2. “To You” and “In You.” O Lord I put my trust. Clearly, David is dealing with some difficult things. His enemies, his past sin, and he is in need of help. He clearly needs God’s help, so he calls out to the Lord through prayer. But, even more importantly David needs God’s guidance. David has come to a place of complete surrender because we know that his trust is in God. He is lifting up his soul to God and no one else or one thing. This is where the Christian life begins. It begins with faith in Christ and complete surrender. When we come to Christ we don’t hold onto our sin, we don’t keep making a practice of sinning. We completely surrender to Christ. Let me give you a few Scriptures to help with this.
James 4:7 ESV
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Romans 12:1–2 ESV
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 8:7–8 ESV
7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
This is what we are like when we don’t surrender to the Lordship of Christ. So, Christ tells us to follow Him and submit to Him.
Matthew 16:24 ESV
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
John 10:27 ESV
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
John 14:6 ESV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
There is no other way. There is no other god, no other religion that leads to heaven. We are to follow God and fully submit to Him.
What David says here in verse 1 is what every believer must do. We must lift up everything to Christ and surrender to Him.
As David fully surrenders to God and seeks the Lord through prayer he asks the Lord for Him not to let David be put to shame. David doesn’t want his enemies to rejoice over him. But right after David says this he realizes in verse 3 that those who have surrendered to God will not be put to shame. There is no risk in letting God guide and lead us, because the problem comes up when we don’t let God lead, and we take matters into our own hands. Let me ask you today, is Christ the center of your life? Is He leading you and guiding you? Do you turn to God daily through prayer and ask Him to show you His plans? So, this is where David begins.

2. We must fully submit to God’s guidance.

Psalm 25:4–7 ESV
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. 5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. 6 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
We now see just how much David needs God guidance in his life. Here we see great evidence of David’s trust in God. David prays four times for God’s guidance.
-First, David asks God to show him His ways. May this be our prayer as well. God show me your plans. God help me to follow your righteous ways. Help me to wait on you and not take matters into my own hands.
-Second, David prays that God would teach him. He had a lot to learn and wanted or desired to grow in his faith.
-Third, David prays that God would lead him in truth. David knew that there were things that were sinful and lies, so he desired to learn God’s truth.
-Finally, David prays that God would teach him again because God is his salvation. David doesn’t know what to do or where to go next, but he realizes that he must fully submit to God’s guidance for his life. Again John 14:6 says, “Jesus is the way the truth and the life” and we must look to his guidance in our lives church. This must be the central focus if we are to grow in our faith and have any clear direction.

3. We must learn from God as He guides us.

Psalm 25:8–10 ESV
8 Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. 10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
These verses give us confidence as the Lord leads us and guides us. If we love God and follow Him and stay humble He will lead us. But, what exactly does this look like? What do we need to learn here? Sinners here in verse 8 are those who have humbly submitted to God. We as sinners need to learn the righteous ways of the Lord. So, first of all we learn as God instructs us through His word. God instructs us through His word to do what is right and show others love. We are to be imitators of Christ.
Ephesians 5:1 ESV
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
God also helps us to learn by leading the humble and teaching the humble. When we are prideful and think we know better than God we try and lead ourselves. The point here is to remain humble and let the Lord guide us.
Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

4. We must realize how much we need God’s forgiveness.

Psalm 25:11 ESV
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Psalm 25:7 ESV
7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
Psalm 25:18 ESV
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.
When we as believers come to a place where we recognize our sin and have fully surrender to Christ there comes a recognition of what our sin deserves. We realize our problem and that we need a Savior. We come or should come to a place where we see just how awful our sin is and how much we need God’s forgiveness and mercy. So, we cry out to God and we ask His forgiveness. Has there come a time in your life where you have gotten alone with the Lord and asked Him to forgive you? Even as a believer there are times where we need to confess our sin to Christ asking His forgiveness? And then know today that Christ will forgive us of our sins.
Colossians 3:13 ESV
13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

5. When we submit to Christ guidance, we see the benefits of being a true disciple of Christ.

Psalm 25:12–14 ESV
12 Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. 13 His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. 14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
Notice the question in verse 12 that the Psalmist asks the Lord. “Who is the man who fears the Lord?” Who is truly a God fearing person? This word fear carries the meaning not of terror and anxiety toward God, but an attitude of reverence and awe. When we fear the Lord and follow His direction for our life we see several benefits.
-First, God will show us the right way when we fear Him. Verse 12 tells us that God will instruct us in the way He should choose, not in the way we want or desire. We can be stubborn and proud. We hate to stop and ask for directions men, until everyone else is lost, don’t we? But, the Lord here is inviting us to follow His lead. Without God’s leadership we make a mess of things. Let’s be a people that fear God and get into His Word and seek Him in all matters.
-The second benefit are the blessings of God’s covenant. Verse 13 tells us the inheritance of God’s seed would be the earth or land. What this means here is not that David or his descendants would become rich or wealthy land owners, but that they would continue to share in the possession of the land promised by God to the covenant people.
Deuteronomy 4:1 ESV
1 “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
In other words the Lord blesses those who follow Him. He watches over, guides, protects, provides for His children.
-Third, the more important blessing here was to be found in the friendship of God. To those who feared God and obeyed His word, they were promised and intimate relationship with God. To be close to God is such a wonderful thing.
-Finally, those who follow the Lord’s guidance are promised the Lord’s help. Verse 15 says, “He will pull my feet out of the net.” God protects those who follow Him and will help them when trouble comes their way.
We can try and lead ourselves and make a mess of things, or we can lean unto the Lord and learn from Him.

6. When we submit to Christ we can be assured of God’s protection even as we face the hardships of this life.

Psalm 25:15–21 ESV
15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. 18 Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. 19 Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. 20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
David here has clearly dealt with some misfortune. He is clearly pleading with the Lord for deliverance. Yes, there may be times even in our own lives where we feel as if the Lord has left us alone. These are the times that we must call out to God as David did, and wait on God as well. I think one of the toughest questions for believers is how can I discern or know the will of God while waiting on Him to answer us? There are so many people who struggle with this question. Psalm 25 here reminds us that God’s will is not about a place or even a thing it is about God and His Word. When we follow God and what His Words tell us, we will be able to discern God’s will for our lives.
When we wait on God and fully submit to Him we can be assured of God’s protection, guidance, and help as we face the hardships of this life. I think that there are many times throughout this life that we deal with difficult matters and affliction but these times provide and opportunity for us to look within by self-examination and confessing sinful things. We make sure there is nothing in our lives that hinders us from a close relationship with Christ.
Finally in verse 22 the Psalmist prays on behalf of his people or the nation of Israel. They too have gone through troublesome times because of their own disobedience. So, David ends by praying for his people. This psalm should lead us as God’s people to pray and seek the Lord. As believers we should have a desire to pray and seek God, to stay humble and fully submit our lives to God.
(Close and lead into Communion)
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