"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalms 119:105). In a beautiful poem about the Bible, there is a particular line that goes like this: "It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter." While I have never had the experience of a navigator’s use with a compass, I have used one in other activities.
Several years ago, I was hunting with a Christian friend in unfamiliar territory. The weather was terrible. The sky was darkened and the sun was hidden from human view. The rain descended. The trees were unusually tall and massive. As I continued to seek game, I became aware of the fact that I was ‘temporarily confused.’ I thought I knew the way back to the location where I entered the forest, but, the more I walked, the more I realized that I didn’t know. It was then that I took out my small compass and began to follow a certain course, however, after walking some distance, I looked at the compass again and it was then that I realized I was following the wrong end of the needle. I was actually traveling the opposite direction from the way I wanted to go. So, I began to walk in the right direction by following the compass in the correct manner. After some time, I arrived at my desired destiny.
Perhaps, this experience is not completely parallel with the lessons I want to impress upon your thinking regarding the spiritual guide for us today but I do feel there are some thoughts you need to ponder.
1. A person may ‘feel’ that he/she is walking in the right direction in religious matters and be completely lost. Man is not a safe guide. Subjective feelings are not reliable. The prophet Jeremiah declared, "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). Only God’s word is the sure Guide.
2. An individual can look at the Bible (God’s compass) in the wrong way and still be lost. Many fail to "rightly divide the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). Some wrest the scriptures unto their own destruction (II Peter 3:16). Some are given wrong directions by "blind" leaders (Matthew 15:14). Others are "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7). One must have an open mind, be willing to study diligently and possess an attitude of obedience in searching the Holy Scriptures (Acts 17:11; John 17:7).
3. A person must place complete trust in God and in His compass, the Bible. He/she must be fully submissive to the guidance of the Lord. The compass of God points only one way and that is through His Son Jesus Christ (John 14:6). It requires faith to accept the fact that one’s sins are washed away in baptism by the blood of Jesus Christ. Trust in God is required to believe that eternal life is given to those believers in His Son (John 5:11-13). But, God, who cannot lie, demands our complete confidence if He is to guide us in the right direction by His compass, which is His Holy Word (II Timothy 3:16,17).