Paths of Righteousness

J. I. Packer


Packer says, "Certainly God's guidance is promised to every believer, and certainly some individuals in the Scripture stories (Gideon, Manoah and his wife, and Philip, for instance) received guidance in “hotline” fashion—just as some individuals in these stories received revelations of universally authoritative truth, and just as Gideon’s “hotline" guidance given by theophany, was later confirmed to him by remarkable things that happened to a sheepskin on two successive nights. But we must learn to distinguish between the ordinary and the extraordinary, the constant and the occasional, the rule and the exception. God may reveal Himself and give guidance to His servants any way He pleases, and it is not for us to set limits to Him. But one question is, whether or not we are entitled to expect “hotline” disclosures on a regular basis. To this question, so I urge, the correct answer is “no.” All the biblical narratives of God’s direct communications with men are on the face of it exceptional, and the biblical model of personal guidance is something quite different....

He goes on to say, "The classic Bible presentation of the guided life, and of the reality of the guidance that produces it, is surely Psalm 23, that beloved shepherd psalm. Christians should read it as a declaration of what it means to be a believer led through life by the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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