God's Unpleasant Leading
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
When we think of the LORD leading us, we often think that there is blessing and joy wherever the LORD leads. However, Psalm 23 shows that God’s leading is not always pleasant. Many present a false narrative about God’s leading that leads many believers to be disenchanted with serving God. Let me show you the places where God leads.
First, He leads you to read His Word. Verse 2 says, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…” This is certainly enjoyable to feed on the food of God’s daily provision. You will find that you will have the food you need for the day when you get still in the green pastures of God’s Word and feed on His words daily.
Second, He leads you “beside the still waters.” Oh, the peacefulness that comes to the believer’s life when they spend time following the LORD to the still waters in life. We love the peacefulness that those still waters give, but those still waters are the place of prayer. God not only feeds you the daily provision you need for the day through His Word, but He also gives you the peace for the day through the still waters of prayer.
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Third, He leads you “in the paths of righteousness.” You can always be assured that if you are following the LORD that He will never lead you to do wrong. If what you are going to do disagrees with God’s Word, you will know that it is not the leading of the LORD.
However, you will notice that He leads you in the paths of righteousness after He leads you to feed in the green pastures of His Word and to the still waters of prayer. You cannot know the leading of the paths of righteousness without spending time in God’s Word and in prayer.
Nevertheless, there is one place many don't talk about God’s leading. Verse 4 says, “for thou art with me.” Where is God with us? He is with us in the valley. In other words, the God who leads us to the green pastures and still waters also leads us to the valley, but He is with you in each place.
What is interesting is that this valley of the shadow of death is in the presence of battle. Verse 5 says, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…” God’s leading is not always easy, but His presence with us as we battle the enemy in the valley gives us the security that the goodness and mercy of God follows us no matter what happens in life.
My friend, you are going to find that you will see God more in your life when you walk through the valley of battles than through any other time in life. Though we don't enjoy the valley, it is in the valley that you will find God’s provision from His Word and peace through prayer.
Let me ask you, are you following God’s leading in your life? His leading won’t always be pleasant, and His leading will take you through the valleys, but you are always assured that He is with you if He is leading you. Whatever you are facing today, you are not facing it alone. God has led you there so you can enjoy the peace and provision that His presence gives. If you don't leave His side, you will be able to say that goodness and mercy have followed you all of your days.