Understanding the Will of GOD
GODís will is good and acceptable and perfect (ROMANS 12:2). GODís will is good because HE is good. As it is only after we first enjoy our favorite desert that we can call it good, so it is with GODís will. Only after we have tasted it, have seen it with our eyes and our hands have handled it, do we know how good it really is. Furthermore, GODís will is not only good but it is also acceptable. Therefore, if we do not accept, nay, long and ache for HIS will in our lives, it can only be because we do not understand HIS will. For if we did indeed understand it we would immediately cease from our own and commit all to knowing HIS, for HIS is perfect.
Pursuing our own will may bring us things we desire, but usually with a costly price to pay afterwards. The anxiety and the debt usually far exceed the pleasure we may have received (1 TIMOTHY 6:9-10). But if we cease from trying to accomplish our own will, we may find that HIS will is better and to be more desired.
PROVERBS 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
Actually, we really have no will. All we have is the freedom to choose how we are going to act or react. There is nothing we are going to will to bring to pass. All is the result of chance and circumstance as we stumble through life from one choice to the next. But GOD's will is good and acceptable and perfect! If we therefore wish to do that which is good and acceptable and perfect, then we have a need to understand HIS will.
EPHESIANS 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
It would seem that understanding the will of GOD would be our primary focus in life, and of course understanding the Bible must be the major avenue in achieving that understanding. But the Scriptures could not possibly contain all of the will of GOD (JOHN 21:25), nor is every Scripture a literal record of the will of GOD.
In the first chapter of the Bible, we have GOD revealing HIS good and acceptable and perfect will to Adam and Eve:
GENESIS 1:27-28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
That was GODís will for Adam and Eve. They were given complete dominion. That is the goodness of GOD. But as we continue reading (GENESIS 3:1-5) GOD also wills for us to understand something about how the Devil worked and how he evidently acquired that dominion from Adam and Eve (LUKE 4:6). It was not necessarily GODís will that the Serpent trick and deceive Eve, but it is GODís will that it be recorded so that we could understand something about how it happened.
The point we are trying to make is that all Scripture is scripture because GOD willed it to be so, but not all scripture is a record of GODís will. Sometimes scripture's purpose is to reveal the thoughts and intentions of others who are outside of the will of GOD.
Coming to GENESIS 4:1 we find Eve declaring, ďI have gotten a man from the LORDĒ, after she bare Cain as her first born. Did she speak GODís will, or is it only GODís will that it be recorded? Was Cain truly a "man from the LORD"? In the previous chapter, GOD had promised Eve that she would have children, but this first-born son slew his brother (1 JOHN 3:12). Was he then ďa man from the LORDĒ, as Eve had declared? I think not! He was the first murderer. Again, GOD willed for what Eve spoke to be recorded, but Eve was not necessarily speaking GODís will when she declared "I have gotten a man from the LORD". When looking for GODís will in the scriptures, we must make sure it is indeed GODís will and not anotherís that GOD is simply having revealed for us.
In addition, GODís will is very specific. If circumstances change, HIS will may change. Thus we must not presume to take HIS will from one point in time in which HE placed it, and spread it to all men everywhere forever. An excellent example of this is found in NUMBERS concerning the nation of Israel just after Moses had led them out of bondage in Egypt. They had crossed the desert and were on the threshold of the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey. It was just as the LORD had promised back in Egypt. Letís have a look:
EXODUS 3:7-8 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
That was GODís will, to bring them out of the land of bondage unto a good land. GOD is always way ahead of HIS people in wanting the best for them. Howbeit, HE never forces HIS will upon them; they must choose it and then reach out to obtain it.
From the twelve tribes, Moses had sent twelve rulers to spy out land; and in NUMBERS 13, they returned with their report:
NUMBERS 13:26-28, 31-33; 14:1-2 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.
And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak thereÖ We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
GOD had promised them this land flowing with milk and honey but they walked by sight and to sight they were but grasshoppers to these giants. That day GOD had opened the door wide for them to go in and possess the land, but their senses would not allow it! Faith was lacking and when faith is lacking, the senses rule.
The purposes of GODís will eventually do come to pass. Despite the fact that one man may drop the ball and fail to carry out HIS will, GOD will raise up others that will. This day on the borders of the Promised Land, GOD had opened the door for them to go in, but that night it was to close, and it would not reopen again for some forty years.
NUMBERS 14:30-35 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
Now it was promised, "In this wilderness they shall die!" GOD's will had changed. Them not understanding and therefore obeying the original will of GOD cost them entry into the Promised Land. Now, not understanding that GOD's will had changed, will cost some of them their lives.
After they gave some reflection to what they had done, a few of the Israelites decided that maybe it would be a better idea to go ahead and do what they thought was the will of the LORD. Wandering forty years in the desert and then dying is not much to look forward to. So, by the next morning they had decided to cross over and take this Promised Land which GOD had promised them.
NUMBERS 14:40-43 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.
The door had closed! If the door is closed, youíre a fool if you try to kick it open. But these fellers were real confident they could do it! They were real positive! They thought they had great believing! GOD had promised them the good life and they were just the ones who were going to get it! They were right, GOD had promised it, but the door had swung shut! Not believing GOD, this door had closed. Believing in themselves was not going to reopen it!
NUMBERS 14:44-45 But they presumed to go up unto the hilltop: nevertheless the ark of the covenant came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.
Lacking the word of GOD, regardless how bold and positive, their purpose was doomed to failure. Their action looked right, and even inspiring:
ďLo, we be here, and will go up into the place which the LORD hath promised:
for we have sinned.Ē
Moses might have thought that finally they were believing GOD. It looked so! They even backed it up with HIS promise. But it was not so! To be the word of GOD, it must be the will of GOD, and it was not. Not that morning! Not for another forty years! No action, no believing was going to change that.
How many of our brethren today suffer needlessly in the same way. Not walking by faith, they miss the open doors and are thrown to the counsel of fools who say, ďDo this or that, for it is the will of the LORDĒ. These counselors even quote scripture; but after our brethren follow it, they often find themselves worse off than before. To make things even more hopeless, they are then told that their failure is due to their own weak attempt, or their lack of believing.
These are not much unlike the ďmiserable comfortersĒ Job found himself bothered with. Throughout most of the Book of JOB, chapters 4 through 31, we find these three men claiming to be speaking for GOD, giving direction for Jobís troubled life, yet in the end GOD says to them:
JOB 42:7 Öfor ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
If we had never read those 17 words in chapter 42, we may well have thought that those 26 chapters Eliphaz and his two friends spoke were GOD's will. And that is exactly our challenge! When a friend tells us a certain thing is the will of the LORD, how can we be sure it is?
If he seems to be quoting scripture, get his reference. Look at it and ask yourself. "Could that scripture, written in that context, apply to my situation today?" If yes, take heed and adjust your actions accordingly; but if no, be freed from the yoke of bondage he would place around your neck. Our friends' words may be true to fact, but he may be using them contrary to the will of GOD, much like Satan did with Yeshua (Jesus) during His temptation in the wilderness.
LUKE 4:9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
The Adversary was using what GOD had said was HIS will (PSALM 91:11-12), trying to persuade Yeshua to act contrary to GOD's will. He was even quoting Scripture, "It is written!" A routine butchering of the Bible is continued in this very way today by some that claim to speak for GOD. Proclaiming it, they persuade GOD's people to act contrary to GOD's will.
Though their words are arranged in the same order as might be found in the Bible, they do not speak GOD's will. Just because something someone says might also be found in the Bible, that doesn't mean they are speaking GOD's word. A Concordance is filled with phrases also found in the Bible, but no concordance is GOD's word! You see, to be GOD's word it must also be GOD's will, rightly applied to that specific situation. Each verse that is quoted by some preacher must be looked at in the context in which GOD has placed it, in order to acquire the correct application for our lives.
The Bible is not to be used in the same way a quarterback uses a playbook in football. You know, "I've got this situation to handle so I'll go to the Bible for direction." No! The Bible is not a playbook giving us direction for daily living. I challenge you to find one person in the Bible whom GOD inspired to act in that way. It's not only not the norm, it's non-existent!
But the Bible is a rule book. It can be considered a rule book because it does give us the rules of this game of life. It tells us where the boundary markers are. How one wins, how one looses, how one is disqualified. But it can't always tell us which direction to go when the the pressure is on. This is where fellowship with GOD is necessary. GOD desires fellowship with us. HE doesn't expect us to drift through life, then every time we have a problem, grab our indexed Bibles and search for the solution. HE wants us to have a relationship with HIM.
JAMES 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Some may think that I am denying the Holiness of the Scriptures! That is not true, don't be mistaken, the Bible is very vital to our lives! It is absolutely necessary! It is necessary for GOD to explain for us what HE has made us, what HE has placed within us, what HIS relationship is with us, what our future life with HIM will entail. The Bible is also necessary for GOD to show us how HE helped and taught other men to walk with HIM, how they slipped and fell, and how they stood and saw HIS glory.
What a gold mine we have in the scriptures! We find men like Noah and his stand alone; like Abraham and his unmovable confidence in God; like young David and his simplistic believing; and King David and his heart for the LORD. We learn how Esther, Joseph and Jeremiah stood before great rulers declaring GOD's will. Consider the incredible diversity of the Twelve Yeshua chose to be His Apostles, who had very little in common. We also find men like Paul and their ability to change 180 degrees from persecuting believers to becoming a minister and a witness to the believers. And we learn the heart of the author and finisher of faith (HEBREWS 12:2) who is even now our living Lord! The Bible also is necessary for GOD to show us how the adversary worked in his desires to be like the Most High.
Fellowship with GOD is the key but until we understand who GOD is through the Bible, it's pretty difficult to maintain fellowship with HIM.
1 JOHN 1:3-4 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
the fear of the LORD
This fellowship, this relationship, this understanding the will of the LORD is actually the natural result of fearing the LORD. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge (PROVERBS 1:7). It's the beginning! You fear the LORD and you begin your walk with HIM, your fellowship with HIM.
PROVERBS 1:28-29 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD.
Then the next step, after receiving the knowledge of HIS will, is to be motivated with love. This was beautifully summed up by Yeshua when He taught, "as you would that men should do to you, do ye also unto them likewise" (LUKE 6:31). Yeshua used many illustrations to teach this truth, but probably none more powerful than that of the good Samaritan, who stopped to help the traveler who had been beaten and robbed while the priest passed by on the other side (LUKE 10:33).
And finally, we must line up our desires to parallel the will of GOD. Our desires may prevent us from doing that good and acceptable and perfect will of GOD (1 PETER 4:2). GOD does not desire our money. He doesn't need our sacrifice! GOD desires that our desire be HIM. HE wants HIS children's fellowship as any loving father would.
Howbeit, fellowship with GOD and desires of man are all topics we will more fully develop later. We must not wander too far from our current topic, Understanding GOD's Will.
In MARK 10, we find the Pharisees asking Yeshua about the will of GOD. Quoting Moses in DEUTERONOMY 24 they had found their loophole, their excuse for divorce, but Yeshua brought it back to GOD's will.
MARK 10:2-9 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
The Pharisees quoted the verse, Yeshua taught them GOD's will in the verse! Here is another example from one of Paul's earlier epistles:
GALATIANS 1:9 ÖIf any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Let's suppose you are speaking the truth to someone and he reads you this verse. Is he right in proposing that you should be accursed because you are teaching him something different than what he has been taught, regardless of what he has been taught? That is not reasonable.
Paul wrote this epistle to the Galatians to target a very specific problem that had crept into their Church. These believers were being turned aside from the "liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free" unto Hebrew legalism. Paul was exhorting them to "stand fast" and "be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage". The context of the verse is obvious. Stick to the teaching Paul had taught them, and don't believe another gospel, even if it was taught them from "an angel from heaven"! Each verse has to be read in the context of which it was written in order to be properly understood.
Again, we don't go to the Bible and just assume it's all written to us. The truth is more the other way, for reading the Bible is more like reading others people's mail. Every passage was written to others, and keeping this in mind will eliminate much that would otherwise confuse us. Look at the interpretation of the verse while considering to whom GOD had written it, when, where and why. Then we may consider its current application for our lives and thereby draw some benefit from it. But the wrong application of scripture only leads to confusion and mistrust of that glorious word of GOD!
Wrong application of scripture separates us from any real relationship with GOD; so we live what is at best GOD's will for others and what is at worst not GOD's will at all!
That will of GOD is deep, and a shallow existence will never know it. It will cost us nothing but we must be willing to pay everything to obtain it! HIS will may come in the twinkling of an eye, but we must be willing to wait a lifetime. The will of the LORD lifts up and makes strong, but only to those who are lowly and weak. To those who are not "puffed up" it reveals all! It is good, and it is acceptable, and it is perfect!
HEBREWS 10:35-36 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.