I will guide thee with mine eye
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye (Psalm 32:8)
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night (Psalm 1:1-2).
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD (Psalm 119:1).
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word (Psalm 119:67).
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes (Psalm 119:71).
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments (Psalm 119:176).
We need to see how the Spirit of God deals with the insubject soul. Before David confessed he said, ‘When I kept silence my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long’, and ‘Thy hand was heavy upon me‘ (Psalm 32:3-4). The Lord’s hand is heavy upon a man until he confesses his sin (all sin, not just a particular sin) before God: then there is forgiveness of the iniquity. Until then there is no forgiveness – that is the government of God. When he said ‘Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me‘ (Psalm 51:5), he recognised the root principle of sin. When there is confession of that, there is then positive restoration of soul.
Freed from the bondage of things that hinder intercourse with God, the soul learns to lean upon God, rather than those things which take the place of God. It understands deliverance, and is confident in times of trouble. In Psalm 32:9, we are told not to be like a horse or mule. A mule is stubborn. When our wills are at work, there is not free intercourse in our hearts and affections with God – consequently we are not being led simply by God. When the heart is in a right state, the whole body is ‘full of light‘ (Luke 11:34), quickly perceiving the will of God by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are ‘of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD’ (Isa 11:3):,” without any object but the will and glory of God. Just as the Lord delighted in His Father’s will (See Psalm 40:8), so we will be guided by the Father’s eye, and therefore full of joy.
Before I embark on anything, I should seek God’s mind, judging my hearts as to what may be hindering. If I have not done so, and later meet with difficulties, I will be uncertain as to whether it was God’s mind or not, and be discouraged. But on the other hand, I have God’s mind and am in communion with Him, I shall be ‘more than a conqueror’ (Rom 8:37). The power of faith removes mountains: as I am obedient, the Lord gives me to find out His way.
Many speak of providence as a guide. The Lord sometimes guides, or rather controls, by providential circumstances, so that I do not go wrong, and I should be thankful that He does so. But I am like a horse or mule without understanding. If, like a stubborn mule, I am insubject to the Lord’s will, I must be controlled with bit and bridle. Providence does sometimes control, but it never guides persons; it guides things. Suppose that I am going to a place to preach, and my train is delayed and I miss a connection and hence fail to give my sermon. God has ordered things, but God has not guided me. It was my will to go, and I would have gone had the train not been delayed. This is not being guided by the ‘eye’, but controlled by the “bit” of God. Though providence overrules, it does not, properly speaking, guide.
There is guidance with knowledge, and guidance without knowledge. The former is our blessed privilege; but we may need the latter to humble us. In Christ everything was exactly according to God. In a certain sense He had no character. When I look at Him, what do I see? Constant, never-failing, perfect obedience. There is great diversity of character amongst men – one tender and soft, another decisive and domineering. You do not see that in Christ: there is no unevenness – every faculty in His humanity was obedient, and subject to the impulse of God’s divine will.
In Colossians 1:9-11, we find the individual to be ‘filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding‘ The Holy Spirit guides us as to the divine will, and there is no need even to pray about it. If I have spiritual understanding and have prayed a lot in general, I will have enjoyed such communion so as to know God’s will. The way is full of stumbling blocks. As children of light we miss them. If we walk in the night we have to look out for the stones and it is easy to stumble over them. Jesus said, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.’ (John 11:8).
May our hearts be led to desire to know and to do God’s will. It will then be not so much a question of what that will is, but of knowing and doing God’s will. And then we shall have the certain and blessed knowledge of being guided by His ‘eye’.
For original see I will guide thee with mine eye