Wednesday, January 04, 2006

It is not in Man Who Walks to Direct his Steps

from the Chapter, The PROVIDENCE of God—in its application to the whole path of life
by James Alexander (1852) in his book, CONSOLATION.

"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps" (Proverbs 16:9). I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man who walks to direct his steps (Jeremiah 10:23).

The labyrinth we walk through is superintended by Our Father’s infinite wisdom and infinite love — every step of the journey is ordered.  Faith recognizes God in the smallest hair that falls, as every hair is numbered.  Since it is not in us to direct our own steps, let us seek the direction of God by way of providential indications and by way of revealed duty. We can take each step in light of what God has revealed to us about our character, talents, experience, and the unique events that have prepared us for that next step. But perhaps a more reliable guide is to trust the path of duty as the path of Providence. The revelation of God's will in the Scriptures is our pillar of cloud and of fire.

Let’s not ask what tends to advance our comfort, profit, or temporary desires, but rather what is God’s scripturally prescribed duty for us in this current circumstance. Our greatest glory and usefulness is conformity to the revealed will of God.

His eye not only superintends our whole path from beginning to end, but His Mighty hand establishes every step!  After our grandest plans and efforts or in spite of our stubborn resistance, we are merely being carried along the mighty stream of His Providence, either kicking & screaming or merrily, merrily at rest in Him.

We are God’s craftmanship and we don’t know the means He needs to arrange for us so we are fitted into Christ’s Body precisely where He wants us.  So, we cannot know what trials we need since we are ignorant of our specific end or the means to get there.  We cannot really know what to choose or what to refuse so God’s Providence superintends our yeses and nos. All events are beyond our control and the future, with its millions of contingencies, is mercifully opaque to us.
All of the voluntary decisions of millions of individuals, both the redeemed and the damned, will harmonize in the accomplishment of God's purposes.  There is an awesome display of God's Infinite wisdom and power in the heavens where each star within each galaxy behaves according to God’s uniform laws as they circle their respective courses age after age without confusion. Yet it will be even more amazing when all of Creation understands for the first time how God has superintended the conflicting desires and decisions of millions of redeemed saints and millions more godless men to at once accomplish the greatest possible Glory in exalting the Triune God and the greatest possible joy for Christ’s loved Bride.

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