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By J.I. Packer


Today, knowledge of God has been obscured--turned, in effect, into ignorance of God--by the twisting of our thoughts about him. The reality of God's rule, God's speech, God's independence, God's moral goodness, even God's personality has been questioned not only outside the church but also inside it. This has made it hard for many to believe that divine guidance can exist at all. How can it if God is not the sort of being who can, or will, give it? That is what, in one way or another, all these doubts imply.

God does have a plan for us, and Scripture promises that divine guidance will help us know God's plan. This is the topic of Psalm 25.


Recall a time you're sure the Lord guided you in a decision. How did God's guidance come to you?

(If you're doing this study online, you may want to grab some blank sheets of paper to jot down your thoughts and responses to this and following questions.)

What has been the outcome (so far)?†

How do you typically go about asking God for guidance?

  • I pray in times of crisis.

  • I look for confirming signs.

  • I try to act on general principles from Scripture.

  • I don't proceed until I feel an inner certainty.

  • I pray about everything.

  • I seek counsel from godly people.

  • I am unsure about how to receive guidance from God.

  • Something else?

In what ways are you dissatisfied with how you make decisions?


Read Psalm 25:

1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. 4Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 6Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD. 8Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 10All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. 11For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. 12Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. 13He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. 14The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. 15My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. 16Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. 18Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. 19See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! 20Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. 22Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!

  1. What indications do you see that David, the psalm writer, fully expected the Lord to guide him?
  2. How would you describe David's stance before the Lord?
  3. In order for people to receive the Lord's guidance, what conditions did David consider necessary (vv. 9-14)?
  4. How did David acknowledge his own failings (vv. 7, 11, 18)?
  5. Besides his own inward sin, David faced external opposition and problems (vv. 2-3, 16-20). Nevertheless, he expected to know God's guidance through it all. What qualities of the Lord are implied in David's assurance?
  6. Besides guidance, what else did David ask for in his prayer?
  7. How does David's attitude toward God's guidance compare or contrast with your own, both over the years and now?


In what decisions do you feel the most need for God's guidance?

In what decisions do you doubt or wonder whether God can or will guide you?

Honestly express to the Lord your confidence--or your doubts--in his guidance. As much as you can, commit to him a decision you have to make soon.


Pages 3-7 in J. I. Packer's booklet Finding God's Will deal with this issue in depth.

Taken from Decisions: Christian Basics Bible Studies by J.I. Packer. Copyright © 2002 by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA.. Permission kindly granted to Faith & Reason Forum by InterVarsity Press.