Day 111

Five Ways God Guides You

Wisdom Psalm 48:9–14
New Testament Luke 19:45–20:26
Old Testament Deuteronomy 31:30–32:52


God designed you with a purpose in mind. God loves you. He has a specific, unique and glorious destiny for you. He promises to guide you.

God’s purpose for you is bigger than your mistakes. I have made many mistakes in my life, but God has not stopped guiding me.

When we go on a journey by car we use a GPS. When we take a wrong turn, it reroutes us. But it never gives up until we reach our destination. You can ignore it or switch it off but if you follow it, it makes your journey more enjoyable and peaceful. Eventually, it will say ‘You have reached your destination.’

Of course, this is not a perfect analogy. God is not a machine but a person who is with us on the journey. God wants to communicate with you and has promised to guide you.

There are five main ways in which God guides us (the five CSs):

  • Commanding Scripture (the Bible)
  • Compelling Spirit (the Holy Spirit)
  • Counsel of the Saints (the church)
  • Common Sense (reason)
  • Circumstantial Signs (providence).

In each of today’s passages, we see first something general about the way in which God guides us, and then specific examples of each of these ‘five CSs’.


Psalm 48:9–14

9 Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.
   10 Like your name, O God,
   your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
   your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices,
   the villages of Judah are glad
   because of your judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
   count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
   view her citadels,
that you may tell of them
   to the next generation.

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
   he will be our guide even to the end.


Promise of guidance

God promises to guide us all the way through our lives: ‘he will be our guide even to the end’ (v.14). But how do you receive this guidance?

The secret is a close relationship with God. It involves spending time in his presence meditating on his ‘unfailing love’ (v.9).

  1. Counsel of the Saints
    Guidance is not an individual activity. It is significant that the psalmist says, ‘Within your temple... we meditate on your unfailing love’ (v.9). The temple was where the people of God came together to worship God. We receive guidance in the context of community. On our own, we can sometimes get things very wrong (Proverbs 12:15). God can speak to others, as well as to us, and it is always wise to seek advice about major decisions.


Lord, thank you that you promise to be my guide and that you guide me in the context of the community of your people.

New Testament

Luke 19:45–20:26

Jesus at the Temple

45 When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

47 Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

20 One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. 2 “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”

3 He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me: 4 John’s baptism —was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

5 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”

7 So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”

8 Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

The Parable of the Tenants

9 He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. 10 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. 12 He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.

13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’

14 “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

“What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!”

17 Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?

18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

25 He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.


Model of guidance

As in every other area of life, Jesus is our model for how to be guided by God.

Living under God’s guidance does not lead to a trouble-free life. Jesus was constantly under attack from the ‘religious police’ of his day. He did not shy away from controversy and confrontation.

Indeed, in the parable of the tenants Jesus shows that God’s servants can expect trouble. The servants were beaten, sent away empty-handed, treated shamefully, wounded and thrown out (20:9–12). When the son was sent they ‘killed him’ (v.15).

Divine guidance led Jesus to the cross. However, it also led to the resurrection. Behind it all was God’s purpose and his victory. What Jesus did had the appearance of failure but Jesus accomplished more in his life, death and resurrection than any other person in history.

Of course, much is said in the New Testament about the way in which God guided Jesus. In the passage for today we see:

  1. Commanding Scripture
    Be extremely careful to avoid any situation in which ministry is being used for personal gain.

    Jesus sees people who are trying to make money off the back of spiritual activity. He confronts the activity with the word of God. He says, ‘It’s written in Scripture, My house is a house of prayer; You have turned it into a religious bazaar’ (19:46, MSG).

    Jesus’ understanding of the will of God came from studying the Scriptures very carefully. This is the supreme way in which God guides us all.

  2. Compelling Spirit
    When Jesus is questioned about his authority he challenges the ‘religious police’ with a question about John’s authority. Jesus is suggesting that John received his authority ‘from heaven’, that is, from God himself. The clear implication is that Jesus’ own authority also came ‘from heaven’. It came from his close relationship with God.

    Even his opponents recognised ‘the truth’ (20:21) in Jesus’ teaching. Jesus was not willing to curry favour or to show partiality. He was guided by what he knew to be the truth. He spoke the truth fearlessly.

    Jesus challenges the premise behind their question: to what earthly power should we give our primary allegiance? The key issue, he explains, is whether we give God the primary allegiance we owe him – whether we count ourselves as citizens of his kingdom before any earthly one. We should ‘give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s’ (v.25). They were astonished by Jesus’ answer and became silent (v.26).

    Luke tells us that Jesus was ‘led by the Spirit’ (Luke 4:1). Presumably it was the Holy Spirit who gave Jesus his answer. As Jesus walked in this close relationship with God, studying the Scriptures and teaching the truth, the Holy Spirit (‘the Spirit of truth’, John 15:26) prompted him with words of extraordinary wisdom.


Father, help me to follow the example of Jesus, to stay close to you and to hear your voice as I read the Bible and seek to be led by the Spirit.

Old Testament

Deuteronomy 31:30–32:52

The Song of Moses

30 And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel:

32    Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
     hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
   2 Let my teaching fall like rain
     and my words descend like dew,
   like showers on new grass,
     like abundant rain on tender plants.

   3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD.
     Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
   4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
     and all his ways are just.
   A faithful God who does no wrong,
     upright and just is he.

   5 They are corrupt and not his children;
     to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation.
   6 Is this the way you repay the LORD,
     you foolish and unwise people?
   Is he not your Father, your Creator,
     who made you and formed you?

   7 Remember the days of old;
     consider the generations long past.
   Ask your father and he will tell you,
     your elders, and they will explain to you.
   8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
     when he divided all mankind,
   he set up boundaries for the peoples
     according to the number of the sons of Israel.
   9 For the LORD’s portion is his people,
     Jacob his allotted inheritance.

   10 In a desert land he found him,
     in a barren and howling waste.
   He shielded him and cared for him;
     he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
   11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest
     and hovers over its young,
   that spreads its wings to catch them
     and carries them on its pinions.
   12 The LORD alone led him;
     no foreign god was with him.

   13 He made him ride on the heights of the land
     and fed him with the fruit of the fields.
   He nourished him with honey from the rock,
     and with oil from the flinty crag,
   14 with curds and milk from herd and flock
     and with fattened lambs and goats,
   with choice rams of Bashan
     and the finest grains of wheat.
   You drank the foaming blood of the grape.

   15 Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;
     filled with food, they became heavy and sleek.
   They abandoned the God who made them
     and rejected the Rock their Saviour.
   16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods
     and angered him with their detestable idols.
   17 They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God—
     gods they had not known,
     gods that recently appeared,
     gods your ancestors did not fear.
   18 You deserted the Rock, who fathered you;
     you forgot the God who gave you birth.

   19 The LORD saw this and rejected them
     because he was angered by his sons and daughters.
   20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said,
     “and see what their end will be;
   for they are a perverse generation,
     children who are unfaithful.
   21 They made me jealous by what is no god
     and angered me with their worthless idols.
   I will make them envious by those who are not a people;
     I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.
   22 For a fire will be kindled by my wrath,
     one that burns down to the realm of the dead below.
   It will devour the earth and its harvests
     and set afire the foundations of the mountains.

   23 “I will heap calamities on them
     and spend my arrows against them.
   24 I will send wasting famine against them,
     consuming pestilence and deadly plague;
   I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts,
     the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
   25 In the street the sword will make them childless;
     in their homes terror will reign.
   The young men and young women will perish,
     the infants and those with gray hair.
   26 I said I would scatter them
     and erase their name from human memory,
   27 but I dreaded the taunt of the enemy,
     lest the adversary misunderstand
   and say, ‘Our hand has triumphed;
     the LORD has not done all this.’”

   28 They are a nation without sense,
     there is no discernment in them.
   29 If only they were wise and would understand this
     and discern what their end will be!
   30 How could one man chase a thousand,
     or two put ten thousand to flight,
   unless their Rock had sold them,
     unless the LORD had given them up?
   31 For their rock is not like our Rock,
     as even our enemies concede.
   32 Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
     and from the fields of Gomorrah.
   Their grapes are filled with poison,
     and their clusters with bitterness.
   33 Their wine is the venom of serpents,
     the deadly poison of cobras.

   34 “Have I not kept this in reserve
     and sealed it in my vaults?
   35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
     In due time their foot will slip;
   their day of disaster is near
     and their doom rushes upon them. ”

   36 The LORD will vindicate his people
     and relent concerning his servants
   when he sees their strength is gone
     and no one is left, slave or free.
   37 He will say: “Now where are their gods,
     the rock they took refuge in,
   38 the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices
     and drank the wine of their drink offerings?
   Let them rise up to help you!
     Let them give you shelter!

   39 “See now that I myself am he!
     There is no god besides me.
   I put to death and I bring to life,
     I have wounded and I will heal,
   and no one can deliver out of my hand.
   40 I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear:
     As surely as I live forever,
   41 when I sharpen my flashing sword
     and my hand grasps it in judgment,
   I will take vengeance on my adversaries
     and repay those who hate me.
   42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
     while my sword devours flesh:
   the blood of the slain and the captives,
     the heads of the enemy leaders.”

   43 Rejoice, you nations, with his people,
     for he will avenge the blood of his servants;
   he will take vengeance on his enemies
     and make atonement for his land and people.

44 Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. 45 When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. 47 They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

Moses to Die on Mount Nebo

48 On that same day the LORD told Moses, 49 “Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. 50 There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. 51 This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. 52 Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.”


Example of guidance

A century or so ago, a ship in a storm was dashed against the rocks in Cornwall, at the South West corner of England. A fifteen-year-old sailor swam to safety on an offshore rock. He climbed up and waited all night until he was rescued the next morning. A reporter interviewed him and commented, ‘You must have been shaking all night as you clung to that rock.’ ‘Yes,’ the young sailor replied, ‘I trembled all night with fear and cold.’ Then he added, ‘But the rock never trembled once.’

As Moses comes to the end of his life he reflects on the way that God has guided his people throughout his life, and has been their rock (32:4a,15,18,30,37). He is your rock. He is solid, stable, dependable, always the same and totally reliable; he does not have his ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ as we do. You can trust in his unwavering faithfulness. He will always be there for you.

God is not only ‘the rock’, he is also ‘your Father’ (v.6b).

Moses described how God guided and led his people (Israel) with a father’s love: ‘In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions. The LORD alone led him’ (vv.10–12a).

  1. Circumstantial Signs
    He goes on to describe how God, in his providence, looked after his people. He ‘fed him… nourished him with honey… oil… curds and milk… lambs and goats… the finest grains of wheat… the foaming blood of the grape’ (vv.13–14). These were the providential signs of his presence with them on the road.

    However, God’s people, here described as ‘Jeshurun’ (meaning ‘the upright one’, that is, Israel), ‘abandoned the God who made [Jeshurun] and rejected the Rock his Saviour’ (v.15c). It was this rejection that led to God saying, ‘I will hide my face from them’ (v.20).

    Sometimes, it is sin that prevents us from hearing God’s voice. Sin can lead to disaster (vv.23–27). Now we have a remedy in the death and resurrection of Jesus: ‘the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin... If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:7,9).

  2. Common Sense
    When we fall, as we all do, the sensible thing is to get up quickly. Part of guidance generally is doing the sensible thing. This was Moses’ complaint: ‘They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!’ (Deuteronomy 32:28–29). God made us thinking beings. He guides your mind as you walk in a close relationship with him. Avoid a super-spirituality that expects an inward voice to guide every little detail of your life.

Moses returned at the end of his song to the word of God, ‘Take to heart all these words to which I give witness today and urgently command your children to put them into practice, every single word of this Revelation. Yes. This is no small matter for you; it’s your life’ (vv.46–47, MSG).


Lord, thank you for the way that you have led me through all these different ways at different times. Thank you that you have had compassion on me. Help me to take to heart all the words you have spoken and to obey them carefully. Help me to reach my destination.

Pippa adds

Luke 20:20-26

I have sometimes been offered a reduced price if I pay cash when buying something or getting something mended. There may be a legitimate reason for this, but it may also be that they don’t want to declare the money for tax. . In Luke 20:25 Jesus says, ‘Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s. If Jesus says we had better pay our taxes, then we had better, however painful that might be.



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Sailor / rock illustration taken from Washington Jarvis, With Love and Prayers, (David R. Godine Publisher, 2004) p.286.

The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel (commentary formerly known as Bible in One Year) ©Alpha International 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Compilation of daily Bible readings © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 1988. Published by Hodder & Stoughton Limited as the Bible in One Year.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.

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