God's Will (Part One)

I believe some Christians are actually afraid to read and study the Bible. I think there are some who are reluctant to listen carefully to sermons for fear that God will reveal that He wants to send them to a foreign mission field, or worse yet, embarrass them by making them a preacher among their own acquaintances. They really don't want to know God's will, and yet, when a big decision in their life comes, they expect God to provide a quick and easy answer. Friends, it doesn't work that way.

It's difficult sometimes to understand God's will for us because it's hard to think theologically. It just doesn't fit into our horizontal perspective on life. God wants the Believer to think vertical. We prefer to live in the here-and-now and see life as man sees it. We'd rather deal with things we can touch, analyze, prove, and explain.

God's got a better way for us to live and it requires faith. It will lift us above our immediate world and gives us a perspective that isn't subject to human limits. If we switch our focus away from ourselves, we can live a God-centered life where everything begins and ends with Him.

Turn to Jeremiah 1:4-7. "Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5: Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
6: Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
7: But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak."

Before Jeremiah knew God, God knew Jeremiah. Godís predetermined plan is fixed. Before you or I were conceived in our mothersí womb, Godís plans for us had been put into place.

We're born into a world we didnít create, and a life that's already planned by God. When a new baby is born, we don't think about the fact that it's whole life is already known. Weíre living in the middle of a story that was started by someone else and will be finished by someone else. And that someone else is God.

Jeremiah's life didnít start with his birth. The facts of his existence were already ancient history when He entered the world. So are ours. God said ďI knew you before you were conceived.Ē

God also told Jeremiah: ďBefore you were born, you were ďset apart for God.Ē You and I aren't part of some uncontrolled machine. Weíre someone that God has chosen to be part of something important that He is doing.

What is God doing? What does he want you and me involved in with Him? There's a spiritual war in progress, and it's an all-out moral battle. There's absolutely no neutral ground in the universe. He wants us to be a part of that battle, both for our own benefit and so that we can benefit others. The world is full of sin, unhappiness and illness. There's ignorance, selfishness and pain. God wants people who will live His precepts and show and tell others about the grace He offers mankind through salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Before he was born, Jeremiah was enlisted in this war on Godís side. God did something else to Jeremiah before Jeremiah did anything on his own: Verse 5; ďI ordained you a prophet to the nations.Ē That means I literally ďgaveĒ you as a prophet to the nations.

Before Jeremiah ever did anything, he was given away. Thatís Godís way. He gave His Own Son, Jesus. ďGod so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.Ē John 3:16

Jeremiah didn't rebel, he obeyed God. Obedience is what God wants from us! Wherever Godís Will leads us, and whatever He calls us to do, wherever He requires us to live, whatever we have to give up, and whatever we have to take on, DO IT! It might not seem like it at the time but the will of God is life at its best. We see the small picture, God sees the big one.

God had decreed certain things, and Jeremiah needed to obey without hesitation. Hard times were guaranteed-all of which God's will would permit. But God would have His way in spite of the hardships. God called him and would protect him. Verse 8: "Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD."

God has two wills, His decreed will and His permitted will. This doesn't make Him a God of indecision. Actually, it makes Him all the more in control that He can allow mankind certain liberties and still be in total control of not only each individual but also the whole universe.

We see the helplessness of man in our society today where God has allowed this nation to try to function without God or biblical principle in the home, our government or in many churches. God has permitted man to legislate Him out of our schools and government. God has also been moved out of the home and many of our churches.

God's decreed will is pre-determined and unchangeable. Job wrote about this.
Job 14:1: "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." Then in verse 5 he said: "Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;"

God's will is running its course exactly as He arranged it. Sometimes we're surprised by that. It might seem like the little details of our daily lives, like how many hairs we have left on our head, aren't important to God, but they are. He directs every detail of our lives. His plan is always exactly on schedule, just like He decreed it.

Contrary to popular opinion, this world isn't out of control, it's not on a wild ride through space and we're not at the mercy of random fate. When God created the world, He set the stars in place, He established the course of this world for as long as He intends it to last, and He knew His plan for humanity from eternity past. Obviously not everybody believes this. Those who can't accept this teaching make up other gods for themselves. There's only one God, and He's responsible for the sovereignly decreed plan for us and this earth.

Isaiah 45:5-7. " I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
6: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
7: I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

Verse 7 is a difficult concept to justify. God makes peace and creates evil? This is one of those ďunexplainables.Ē I donít know why a tornado destroys one neighborhood and not another.

Why does someone I regard so highly suffer from cancer? I just know that even then Godís plan isn't frustrated or altered. He's not sitting on the edge of His throne in heaven, wondering what will happen next.

We don't understand this, but we know Scripture states that God isn't surprised by calamity. Somehow or other, itís all part of His mysterious will.

His plan may seem unfair, against all human logic, and lacking in compassion, but thatís because we live in the horizontal plane of here and now and we lack the vertical view. Sometimes we even argue with God and He has to remind us who is in charge.

Isaiah 45 and verses 9 and 12.
9:"Woe unto him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What makest thou? or to thy work, He hath no hands?
12: I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded."

This is the vertical perspective, in other words, God's view of things. God is in charge, not us! I have a son-in-law that is 6'4" tall and over 200 pounds. They have a tiny little girl that is 4 years old. One day I heard them in a conversation that went like this. "Rebekah, I am in charge here, you are not in charge." Human nature wants to be in charge over authority and against all odds, even at 4 years of age and 40 pounds.

Godís decreed will is in complete harmony with His plan and it is just and it is good. Romans 8:28-29. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29: For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

These verses define the decreed will of God in the Believer's life, and they also tells us it's at work in our lives. Heís working in our life so we'll take on the character of His Son, Jesus Christ. Thatís His predetermined plan. Thatís why He sends one person to the mission field in China and another to a bank in Omaha.

This doesnít mean that the one who goes to China is holier or more in the will of God than the one who goes into banking. Youíre wrong only if you donít go where He's leading you.

It's profound and we'll never understand it. It's part of His plan to shape individuals into the image of Christ.

Here's a question for all of us. Can we really know the decreed will of God for our lives? Yes-after it's happened! By this time in your life you know it was Godís will that you would be born of certain parents, in a certain location, and that you would be male or female. You realize God determined you would have certain features [like a long nose and brown eyes], and, yes, He knew that if He had left it up to you, you would have done it differently. Maybe you wanted curly hair or blue eyes, for instance. You've had certain experiences, teachers, interests, friends, and certain brothers or sisters, or maybe you're an only child. These things are part of Godís will for your life.

Some things God decrees, some things He permits. God allows us a lot of freedom and we often get ourselves in trouble. We want to choose our own friends and our interests. We want to decided where to live and what work we want to do. Wait just a minute. Who told us we're in charge? Itís not up to us. We need to consult with Him first in prayer.

His Word tells us we're the clay; He is the Potter. We're the branch; He is the Vine. We're the servants; He is the Master. Itís all in His hands. And it's a wonderful way to live!

What may seem like a series of mysterious, illogical events is, in fact, God at work in ways too deep to explain or understand right now. Believe me, I've had a lot of experienced with that.

I've mentioned the past and the present. What about the future? Is there any way we can know Godís determined will for our lives in the future? I am going to cover that subject in the next message, "God's Will, (Part Two)."