Thursday, March 08, 2007

Knowing God's Will - Guidance

Usually when people ask about knowing God's will for their lives, a subtle temptation can enter that period of discovery. The temptation is that we look only at the circumstances that need to be "revealed" but forget the One who will reveal them to us. That is we become so focused on knowing God's will that we forget about knowing God.

What do I mean? If we travel through the Bible, we read about God's guidance. God always led His people - and it was not always easy but it was always wise and good. So we read that God led Abraham in Genesis 12.1: The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." And at each stage, God would continue to guide Abraham.

Moses and the Israelites were led out of Egypt, through the desert, across the Red Sea and finally into the Promised Land - albeit without Moses and his generation. In fact, we read that just after Israel left Egypt in Exodus 13.17ff, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle. Israel was armed but they were not ready to fight and God knew they would want to return to Egypt. It may have seemed like a confusing, unnecessary journey to the people but it was an act of love by God.

Another example is the famous Psalm 23.1-3: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness, for his name's sake. Twice the Shepherd is said to lead and guide the sheep. And if you are a sheep, that is really, really good news - quiet waters and paths of righteous for God's glory!! If you are a sheep, you are licking your lips for a drink and you ready to travel down this path!

We could go to many other places in Scripture. All of this is to say that when you begin to ask: What is God's will for my life? In marriage? A job? A family decision? A church decision? our first reaction as believers ought not to be to look at the situation but instead, look to God and confess that throughout all of history, He has led and guided His people for His glory and ultimately for His good.

In knowing God's will, don't forget to know God.

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