BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
Following God’s direction is vital, for anyone to enjoy God’s blessing and fulfil destiny. From the Bible, we learn that God gives direction to people through the following medium: (1) His Word (2) The Holy Spirit through the still small voice, inner witness, or a knowing (3) Dreams, visions, and trances (4) Prophecies (5) Godly counsel (6) Angels (7) Circumstances – People and events God arranges to give you direction. Nevertheless, you still have to be convinced by the Spirit of God that it is God speaking and not just a coincidence or circumstances that have no particular meaning.
While the Bible says we should not despise prophecy, it says we should test everything that is said and hold on to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21). Not all prophecies you’re given or hear are correct. You must have a witness in your spirit before you follow a direction you receive through a prophecy. That is different from “prophetic declarations”, which are decrees rooted in the promises of God in the Bible, but may essentially not be predictive or foretelling. They are not to be despised.
Not all dreams, visions, and trances are divine communication. Satan transforms into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Also, not all counselors speak by the Spirit of God. Isaiah 19:11b says, “Pharaoh’s wise counselors give foolish counsel” (NKJV). However, God is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance (Isaiah 28:29). God still gives people counsel by His Spirit through the mouths of wise counselors. The psalmist says, “You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny” (Psalm 73:24 NLT).
Let’s see some examples of cases where God gave direction to some Bible characters through the means I have highlighted earlier. These cases are not exhaustive. However, the bottom line is that it is God who determines how He’ll give you direction. It is dangerous to try to predict how God will give you the direction or dictate that you want divine direction in a particular way. You may play into the hand of the devil who may appear as an angel of light and you’ll think it’s God. Let God have His way. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT).
God led Moses
God spoke from the burning bush to give Moses direction. He changed the direction of His life forever; He ‘sacked’ him from his job of leading sheep and gave him a new assignment to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites out of 430 years of slavery. “And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt’” (Exodus 3:7-10 NKJV).
The call, which Moses answered, came at an unexpected time in his life. Exodus 3:1 says Moses was tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. That day, he thought he was only leading the flock to the backside of the desert; he didn’t know God was actually leading him to the place He would encounter him at the burning bush. I pray that God will encounter you today as you go about your normal life. May you receive a word of direction from God today.
God led Elijah
In 1 Kings 17:8-16, we see how God gave Elijah direction twice. First, God’s word came to Elijah directing him to Brook Cherith to drink water from the brook, and to be fed by the ravens there. He obeyed. When the brook dried up, God sent him to the widow of Zarephath to preserve him throughout the duration of the famine – to be fed by a widow who was the least expected person to feed somebody during a famine. Again, Elijah obeyed and enjoyed God’s provision. If you’ll follow God’s direction, He’ll take care of you, no matter the situation.
1 Kings 18:1-2 says, “And it came to pass after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, ‘Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.’ So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria” (NKJV). There had been famine in Israel for three years after a declaration by Elijah. Then in the third year of no rain, God’s word came to Elijah to go and appear to Ahab. After showing himself to Ahab, there followed a contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. Because God had given him direction and he followed, God backed him up and he succeeded; he turned the entire nation back to God. If you follow God’s direction, it’s your enemy that will be disgraced, not you.
Nevertheless, after this national revival, Elijah fled Beersheba running from Jezebel who had threatened to kill him. “Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’ And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there” (1 Kings 19:2-3 NKJV). God didn’t direct Elijah there – fear did. If Jezebel couldn’t kill him before, why did he think she would be able to kill him then following the killing of the 450 prophets of Baal? Even though Elijah fled, God didn’t abandon Elijah – He still came to give him direction and sent him back to his ministry with specific assignments. If you know you’ve gone astray, return to the place you’re sure God wants you to be. Don’t be like Jonah, the disobedient prophet. Don’t get yourself in the “fish’s belly” before you agree to obey God.
God led Philip
Philip was doing very well in his ministry in Samaria when God directed him, through an angel, to go to the desert. He did. And the Holy Spirit took over the direction in the desert, telling him to join the chariot of the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians. Apparently, he had earlier been converted to Judaism and had come to Jerusalem for worship and was returning home when Philip joined his chariot.
The conversation between both men led to the eunuch’s salvation and eventual baptism in water (Acts 8:26-40). Some Bible scholars have suggested that this eunuch took the gospel to the continent of Africa. If it’s true, this happened because one man followed God’s direction from a city into the desert, an action which, on the surface, didn’t make sense. Indeed, God’s goal wasn’t the desert but a continent. You may never know immediately what can come out of your steps of obedience. Why don’t you follow that direction God has given you? You don’t know what will happen next.
God led Ananias
In Acts 9:10-19, the Lord gave direction to a certain disciple, Ananias, in a vision to go where He would use him to open Saul’s eyes. “So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight’” (Acts 9:11-12 NKJV).
He objected initially because of the evil reports he had heard about Saul. Nevertheless, he went after God had told him Saul was his chosen vessel. Saul received his sight back and was baptized. Don’t let fear stop you from following God’s direction.
God led Joseph
God led Joseph, the husband of Mary, in a dream, not once, not twice. A dream is “a state of mind in which images, thoughts, and impressions pass through the mind of a person who is sleeping” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers). After he had taken a decision to divorce her secretly because of her pregnancy, the Bible says, “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins’” (Matthew 1:20-21 NKJV). Joseph did as he was told in the dream.
Just about the time that Herod wanted to start killing children, in his bid to kill Jesus whom he saw as a threat to his throne, an angel, in a dream, gave direction to Joseph to flee with the child and mother to Egypt. Matthew 2:13 says, “Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him’” (NKJV). Joseph obeyed and the life of Jesus was preserved.
After the death of Herod, and Joseph was to leave Egypt with Jesus and Mary, he received direction again from an angel in a dream. “Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.’ Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’” (Matthew 2:19-23 NKJV). As that Scripture showed, quite characteristic of Joseph, he followed the direction given to him. Joseph was a dreamer like Joseph of the Old Testament. Does God talk to you in a dream regularly? Don’t despise your dreams. If it’s a dream you need to pray over, please, don’t be careless about it.
God led Cornelius and Peter
In Acts 10, we see God leading through vision or trance and the Holy Spirit. A trance is “an ecstatic state of mind that gives a person a sense of detachment from his physical surroundings” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers). But a vision is similar to a dream. However, whereas dreams occur only during sleep, visions happen while a person is awake.
In a vision, God directed Cornelius to send for Peter. The same God gave direction to Peter, through a trance, and prepared him to go and minister in Cornelius’ house. When Cornelius’ emissaries came to Peter, the Holy Spirit made the meaning of his trance or vision clear to him by telling him to follow Cornelius’ emissaries. At Cornelius’ house, Peter ministered to the Gentiles for the first time and they were baptized with the Holy Ghost while he was still speaking.
If Peter had remained conservative, refusing to go, Cornelius and his household might have had to wait for another vessel that God would use. Thank God he obeyed God.
On another occasion, God used an angel for Peter. Acts 12:5-6 says, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison” (NKJV). However, an angel came and rescued him from this prison. The angel led him through the first and second gates and past the iron gate that led to the city before leaving. Peter thought it was a vision, but it was real. “And when Peter had come to himself, he said, ‘Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people’” (verse 11 NKJV).
There was no way Peter could have beaten all the security posts there to come out of the prison except an angel led him out. It was supernatural. The Lord shall give you a supernatural deliverance in Jesus’ name. He will send His angels to deliver you and give you direction.
God led prophets and teachers
In Acts 13:1-3, prophets and teachers were meeting at Antioch. It wasn’t a commissioning service. However, as they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost spoke that Barnabas and Paul should be separated for the work to which God had called them. These prophets and teachers complied. They prayed for them, laid hands on them, and commissioned them. The two of them followed God’s direction for their lives, and what a great blessing they were to Christianity! When you follow God’s direction, your life will be a blessing to others.
Conclusion: There are so many cases of divine direction to believers in the early church. In contemporary history, many believers have enjoyed and have continued to enjoy divine direction. There is a great blessing in receiving and following God’s direction. All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God (Romans 8:14).
God gave His people direction in the past; He is still giving them direction today. He is God; He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Pray to God for divine direction, and be sensitive to receive and follow His direction. When God leads you, it will always be beside the still waters (Psalm 23:2). Shepherds in Israel never lead sheep beside roaring or troubled waters. The psalmist cried, “Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face” (Psalm 5:8 NKJV).
God has promised to lead you. You should trust Him to continue to give you the direction that will lead you to fulfill your destiny. He says, “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16 NKJV).
Where God’s direction is followed, there’ll always be provision. God’s mercy ensures there’s no lack (Isaiah 49:10). I pray that you’ll not lack God’s direction. In that area of your life where you currently need God’s direction, may it come to you clearly. You’ll not grope in the dark in Jesus’ name. You won’t go astray.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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