Divine Guidance

“All that we see on this earth is symbolic reality, and only as our inward heart is purged from sin can we see the symbolism. That is why when a man is in Christ Jesus he is a new creation, and he sees everything in the common world as symbols—unseeable realities.”

“God guides us stage by stage, and the most marvellous stage of His guidance is by symbols. A symbol represents a spiritual truth by means of images or properties of natural things. A symbol is sealed until the right spirit is given for its understanding, and God’s symbols are undetected unless His Spirit is in His child to enable him to understand. What did the cloudy pillar by day or the fiery pillar by night signify to the hordes in the desert? Nothing more than the mystery of ever-varying cloud forms. To the children of God, they meant the manifested guidance of God. How a man interprets God’s symbols reveals what manner of man he is. How often we have to say with the Psalmist, “I was as a beast before Thee,” i.e., without understanding. How often the ass recognises that one of God’s angels is speaking before the so-called prophet on its back detects it.”

“God shifts His symbols and we know not why; but God is ever only good, and the shifting of one symbol means surely that another symbol is to guide us to a nearer grasp of Himself. When God, so to speak, has left a symbol, it becomes transparent, and has no further binding force. How sad it is under the sun to see men worshipping a symbol which has been abandoned by God. We are not to worship reminiscences; this is the characteristic of all other religions. The Bible religion is one of eternal progress, an intense and militant going on. Obedience to the voice of the Spirit within, the Word of God without and the suffering of tribulation all around, enable the child of God to hear God’s voice and recognise His changing symbols.”

From The Discipline of Divine Guidance by Oswald Chambers


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