An old sailor repeatedly got lost at sea, so his friends gave him a compass and urged him to use it. The next time he went out in his boat, he followed their advice and took the compass with him. But as usual he became hopelessly confused and was unable to find his way back. Finally he was rescued by his friends.

Disgusted and impatient with him, they asked, “Why didn’t you use that compass we gave you? You could have saved us a lot of trouble!”

The sailor responded, “I didn’t dare to! I wanted to go north, but as hard as I tried to make the needle aim in that direction, it just kept pointing southeast.” He was so certain he knew which way was north that he stubbornly tried to force his own personal conviction on his compass.

After the death of Moses, God spoke to Joshua just before he led Israel into the Promised Land. The Lord reminded Joshua of His law and told him, “Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go” (Josh. 1:7).

Those who follow God’s instructions and warnings are spared the waste of foolish wandering and the heartache of shipwreck and ruin. We must ask God to point the way. Then let’s trust the compass of His Word.