Examples of Watching the "Driver", not the Road
On Sunday, we considered Numbers 9:15-10:36. This passage taught us that God is guiding His people and we must learn that our role in this life is to look to Him and follow. To that end I stated that we are to “keep our eyes on the driver, not the road.” That statement is radical, simply because this goes against every grain of our being. Don’t we need to watch the road to prepare ourselves for what comes next? Don’t we need to pay attention to timing and duration of things so that we ward off potential danger when it arises? How can God expect us to focus on Him and still have peace? This thought may strike terror in us for we feel unprepared for the details of life to come.
The only way to reduce our fear is if we truly grasp the greatness and goodness and skill of that “driver”. When we do that, we then trust the “driver” and learn to relax. To the degree we know Him is the degree in which we will trust Him above senses, above our “wisdom” and above our interpretation of things. When we learn to trust and follow, we will live with confidence, courage and rest.
The Bible testifies of this reality throughout its pages:
Abraham did not sweat things like a particular plot of land (Gen 13:1-18) or even the radical call to sacrifice his son (Gen 22) because He knew God and trusted Him to take care of details as he simply followed and obeyed (Heb 11:17-19).
David could face Goliath because he knew that God would help him since He saw God do this in the past (1 Sam 17:31-39).
Mary could receive the news of her virgin conception with trust and confidence, though it would be filled with tons of questions, concerns and dangers ahead. Yet she followed and obeyed because she had a trust in the Lord above all else (she called herself the “servant of the Lord” in Luke 1:38). She was looking at the Lord and not the details of the road ahead.
Paul could sing in prison because He knew Jesus and rested in the “driver”, not the road itself. Because life for him was about knowing Jesus and living for Jesus (Phil 1:21; 3:8-10), the particulars of his journey mattered little. Just watch his attitude towards the end of Acts when he was warned that going to Jerusalem could cost him his life (Acts 20:16; 21:4, 10-14)! He was unswerving and constant in joy and zeal and confidence in the face of potential danger because his eyes were focused on knowing and following Jesus as the aim of his life. As he sought the Lord, he need not fret about the particulars, so long as the Lord was with him and he followed the clear path God told him about (Acts 23:11; 26:16-18). And while the journey did prove difficult, the result was not sadness for Paul, but joy, as he witnessed in prison and shared the gospel with countless souls, including Herod and eventually Caesar himself!
Finally, Jesus Himself is the supreme example of a life of peace and rest that was built on the knowledge He had of the Father! Jesus could sleep in the unsteady boat tossed on raging waters (Mark 4:38) because He trusted in His Father. All because He knew Him and His plan better than anyone (Matt 11:27; John 10:15).
It was their deep and personal knowledge of God that drove them to focus on the "driver" and then rest in God not fretting about the particular curves of the road ahead.
So, we must, like our brothers and sisters before us, learn to keep our eyes on the Lord. In order to do this we must learn about His character so that trusting Him becomes more natural. To this end, I am inviting you to do just that. Get to know your God.
Getting to Know the “Driver” Better
How do we do this?
1. First read about God in the Bible. The entire Bible reveals His character but let me give you a few brief suggestions. Read about the majesty, sovereignty and wisdom of God in Job chapters 38-41 or His magnificent combination of glory combined with gentle care for us in Isaiah 40:10-31. Read about the sheer goodness of His character showing holiness and mercy in Exodus 34:6-7. Or read passages that describe Jesus’ character such as Matthew 12:18-21 and see His gentleness to hopeless souls; His compassion to the broken in Matthew 9:36; His willingness to accept any needy sinner who comes to Him for help in Matthew 11:28-30. There is much more the Bible reveals about God’s character than just these descriptions of Him. There are also narratives that show us by the events, the character of God. Consider reading (or re-reading narratives of Joseph sold to slavery and his rise by (Gen 37 onward). Or the amazing mercy of God to those in desperate situations in Psalm 107). A regular reading of His Word is the best way to get to know God in a thorough way.
2. Secondly, read some books that explore the character of God. For those trying to start on understanding God, consider a smaller book like Gentle and Lowly that allows you to see the good and gentle character of Jesus. If you are seeking a more advanced look, consider reading KnowingGod.
3. Thirdly, in prayer ask God to teach you about Himself in His Word and in the providence of life. Ask Him to draw near to you and show you more clearly and more humbly who He is.
4. Finally, consider listening well to the stories of God’s faithfulness testified by many godly women and men. Hearing their story of God’s faithfulness teaches us the reality of what we read. It shows to us that the God whom we trust is alive and well and He is One worthy of our trust.
In all these ways the point is that we work to get to know God so that by trust we can learn to trust Him in our entire journey of life. You must know your God if you are to gain rest and confidence in your daily life.
Listen, it is natural and easy to trust a good driver and really hard to trust a bad one. It is clear that God is not simply good at guiding you, He is the best. But we must grow in our knowledge of His goodness and skill if we are to believe that He is the best One to guide us! And that only comes as we get to know Him. Make it a priority to get to know Him this week.
What are your top 2-3 fears about spending your time and energy on knowing and following God rather than spending your energy on working out the details of your life?
What specific aspects of God’s character can put those fears to rest? Think of any Bible narratives or verses that demonstrate these character qualities.