SBC Philippi 5/22/05 am
Rev. Jeff Simms
Knowing God’s Will: Through Scripture
Primary Purpose: How to know and understand God’s will through Scripture
One of the things that believers often struggle with is how do I know God’s will. Usually, they are talking about a particular decision that needs to be made. Implied, of course, in that question is the truth: God has a will for my will even in the details. Some people will pray for an opened door or seek the advise of friends. Some people go to God with a idea of what they want and all they want to do is for God to verify it.
This reminds me of a story about a old sailor that got lost at sea, so his friends gave him a compass and urged him to use it. The next time he went out in the boat, he followed their advice and took the compass with him. But as usual he became hopelessly confused and was unable to find land. Finally he was rescued by his friends.
Disgusted and impatient they asked him, “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 on pointing southeast.”
That old sailor was so certain he knew which way was north that he stubbornly tried to force his own personal persuasion on his compass. Unable to do so, he tossed it aside as worthless and failed to benefit from the guidance it offered.” (from www.sermonillustrations.com, anonymous source) We need to be careful to not be like this old sailor who was looking for the compass to agree with his own decision.
First, you’ll notice one of the benefits of the word is that it brings wisdom. The Psalmist uses different words to describe this in verses 98.99.100. He uses words like “wiser than my enemies”, “insight” and “understanding”. God’s word brought him the wisdom and spiritual guidance he needed when he meditated on God’s Word.
Meditating in some circles means clearing your mind of all things. For some people this seems very natural to them. But, meditating here means to ponder, think about, reflect upon. Not only for the purpose of understanding, but living out. Meditating on scripture helps us see “How does this apply to me?” By doing that, I’m really asking myself, “How do I apply God’s will in this to my life?”
The same word meditate is found in Psalm 1:2 where it says the blessed man is one who meditates day and night on God’s law. The phrase “day and night” expresses the constant nature of it. He delights in God’s word and it leads him to prosperity. We should pray that we would also love and delight in God’s Word v.97,103. The psalmist went so far as to say that he found it sweeter than honey v.103.
Scripture guides us to understand the nature of God and His ways and is one of many ways the Lord guides the believer. By following the principles in scripture and doing the things we know please God, I can avoid many wrong turns. You notice the psalmist again and again describes his life like a path. My goal in this path should be to please the Lord. The psalmist says about this in verse 101 that he has “kept my feet from every evil path, so that I might obey your Word.” So, upon seeking God’s guidance from Scripture. I should ask myself “Would this choice enhance my walk with the Lord and please him?”
One other thing we should notice about this is that God’s Word is described as a lamp or light for my path v.105. It isn’t like the light of day. But, rather the light I need to take the next step. This step will often call for me to take that step by faith. So, as much as I pray that God would reveal his will to me. I also need to pray for the courage to do his known and revealed will. I probably won’t see all the steps along the way when I take the first step, but I know who guides my path. It isn’t like God to turn all the lights on at once, but to walk in simple trust and courage. He even told Joshua this as he took up command of Israel before they crossed the Jordan river. He says in Joshua 1:8 “Do not let this book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written on it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” May God give us that same courage to take steps of faith like Joshua did. May He give us the courage to ask to know His will and not just for Him to bless our will.