We were driving with some of our young Native American friends in Arizona and we were returning from a little sightseeing outing. And even though men never get lost, right? Well, the man driving did. As we were debating which way to go to get back, one of our Indian passengers described exactly how we had traveled to this area and exactly how we could get back. We listened, we tried it, and we weren’t lost anymore! Now maybe it’s just been my experience, and sometimes I even joke about it with my Native friends – Native Americans just don’t seem to get lost! I’ve tried to figure this out. Maybe it’s just instinct, but over and over I’ve noticed something. My Native friends pay very close attention to where they’re going. Seldom do they have to travel there twice to know where they’re going. Now, they have taught me a very valuable lesson – the way to know your way is to pay close attention to where you’ve been!
I’m Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You about “The Secret of Not Getting Lost.”
Which brings us to our word for today from the Word of God which is in Psalm 78. It’s a record of the sad history of God’s ancient people – oh, and some of His current people too. Verse 10: “They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by His law.” Now why? Verse 11, “They forgot what He had done, the wonders that He had shown them.”
You see, they forgot the road that God had brought them on in the past. And then there is a tragic description throughout the chapter of a lifetime of bad choices. It says, “They spoke against God” (verse 19), “they kept on sinning” (verse 32). In spite of His wonders they did not believe. Another verse says they rebelled against Him. And the result? Well, it says that, “They ended their days in futility and their years in terror.” The bottom line mistake is summed up in verse 42, “They did not remember His power.”
All the wonderful times God had provided, intervened, blessed, protected. They simply forgot when they were facing a new challenge or a new choice. So what’s changed? Not much! As God’s children today we get lost because we fail to remember where we’ve been with Him before. We live in unbelief, failing to trust God to work in this situation because we ignore how God has worked before. It’s like spiritual amnesia. The result is we start to invent our own solutions; we come up with our own plans. We run ahead of God, we run behind God, or in some way we take a detour from His perfect will.
Now maybe you’re facing a choice right now, a challenge, a crossroads that could take you deeper into God’s great plans for you, or down a road that’s wrong for you. It’s time to retrace the road He’s already been leading you on. Ask yourself questions like these: What have been the milestone scripture verses that God has used to guide my life in the past? Go over them, quote them, depend on them for this crossroads. Another question: What’s God been saying to me in recent months as I’ve prayed and spent time with Him in His Word, the Bible? Look for the recurring themes that He’s been bringing into your heart.
By the way, that is why it is so helpful to keep a spiritual journal of each day’s time with Him. Oh, and there’s another question: what patterns can I see in how God has led me in the past? Remember the past has been preparation for this moment. What does it look like He’s been preparing you for? Another question: What are some times that I’ve seen my God majorly intervene and support me, use me, and supply for me? Expect Him to be that same God for you again. It might be a different method, but it’s the same awesome Heavenly Father.
The hymn writer looked back over the path of his lifetime and he said what we’ve all sung with all our hearts, “Great is thy faithfulness, oh God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with thee. Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not; great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
There’s a way to keep from getting lost. Pay close attention to where you’ve already been. The Good Shepherd who brought you this far isn’t about to leave you now.