Summary: The last burning question that was asked: How do I know God’s will? Simply put: by learning to wait on the Lord. However, waiting is active not passive. Through Samuel we can gain some insight into how we might go about this.
The Burning Question
How Do I Know God’s Will?
March 9, 2008
Well, this is a tricky one. In fact there are really no easy answers. Basically I want to suggest an emphasis today. This is what has worked for me and for thousands of others who follow Jesus. It works like this. How do I know God’s will? By learning to wait on the Lord. And as I have mentioned before this is not a passive waiting but actively waiting on God.
One of my favorite passages in this regards is the story of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:1-11.
The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel.
Samuel answered, "Here I am." And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down.
Again the LORD called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
"My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down."
Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD : The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ’Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ " So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!"
Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
And the LORD said to Samuel: "See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.
Here we see a picture of a very young man that had been given over or dedicated by his mother to the service of the Lord. His job was to keep watch over the articles in the temple specifically to make sure that the golden lampstand did not go out. So Samuel’s job was to wait. Wait for the Lord. Wait for someone to tell him wait to do. Wait for the candles to burn low and replace them. He did not have a multitude of distractions. It was early in the morning. No crowds gathering for worship. He laid down to rest in the Lord. And this for me is one of the most crucial elements to hearing and knowing what God’s will is.
Waiting on the Lord
The first thing that I find to hearing and knowing the will of God is:
I will be honest here. Sometimes this is hard. Kids. Work. Church. TV shows. Family. Health problems. Bills. Houses. We just are not available. One has to be intentional if we are to be available for God to reveal Himself and His ways. Samuel was available.
When I first got sober, one of the most powerful blessings that I stumbled onto was making myself available. As many of you know, when I turned my life over to God, God relieved me of the obsession and compulsion to drink. And as I sought to simply do His will, there were several changes that I sensed that God was leading me to make. I enrolled in school part-time. I changed jobs. I began to form new friendships who had similar goals as me: staying sober and seeking a deeper connection to God.
Often I would have hours of time between classes before I would go to work in the evenings delivering pizzas. This allowed me to simply wander as the peregrine often did. Sometimes I would hang out with people from Campus Crusade. I would go to a noon prayer gathering on campus where I learned to meditate and pray. Sometimes I would journey through Dayton to meet up with some other recovering alcoholics. And it was through these times that I learned to hear and do God’s voice. I first made myself available. I intentionally and with conscious effort sought what it was that God was doing and what I sensed that God was beckoning me to do.
The second thing in waiting on the Lord is trial and error.
• Trail and error