The will of God is confusing.
DECEMBER 7, 2023
The will of God is confusing. Let’s talk about it, on this edition of Key Life.
That was Steve Brown, and this is Key Life. We’re dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you were listening yesterday, we were talking about the will of God and the short answer to knowing the will of God is you don’t. God’s ways are not our ways. Isaiah said this, I didn’t.
His ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts.
They are way higher than our ways and his thoughts. And if you’ve never stood before the God of the universe and been afraid, you’re probably worshipping an idol. If you’ve never stood before the God of the universe and felt loved when you knew you didn’t deserve it, you’re probably worshipping an idol. But, if you’ve never stood before God and been confused, didn’t have the foggiest, wondered what this puzzle and how it would ever come to, if you’ve never felt that before God, then you’re probably worshiping an idol. I often talk about something ought to be sticking out of your suitcase. One of the problems with Reformed people, and that’s what I am, I’m a Calvinist and a Presbyterian, is that we sometimes think we’ve got everything figured. Our system is a stellar system. We have systematic theology coming out of our ears. I mean, we’ve taken the Bible and we’ve organized it. And that’s a gift that we give to other people, and that’s a nice gift. But the problem is, we take it too far, and we think we’ve got God figured. We know exactly what He’s doing, we know exactly why He’s doing it, and that violates the very essence of the Reformed faith, which is that God is sovereign over everything. Charles Spurgeon, who was by the way, a Reformed Baptist. Charles Spurgeon said.
If you can’t trace his hand, trust his heart
If you can’t trace his hand, trust his heart.
That is so profound, it blows me away. And it’s exactly what Proverbs 3:5 through 6, and I Thessalonians 4:3 says. The will of God is trusting in the Lord with all your heart, and then trusting, even if you don’t understand it, that He will lead your ways. Now, I’ve got to back up here, and I’ve got to say something about knowing the will of God. I know, I know that all of us have those issues in our lives where we don’t know what to do. And God knows that too and he’s given us some Information in the Scripture that is helpful as long as you don’t make it into a system. Do you have decisions you have to make and you really in your heart want to make the right decision, the one that brings glory to God himself. Well, if you feel that way, you will. So relax. Whatever decision you make, if that’s your heart, and I’m using Proverbs 3:5 through 6 to make sure that you understand that, then you’ll make the right decision. So the first thing is, relax a little bit, your decision will be right because of Proverbs 3:5 through 6. Now, there’s more to be said. Your family is involved in that, both your biological family and your Christian family of brothers and sisters. And God doesn’t want you to make the decision to walk that road, to go to that place, to marry that person, to take that job, God doesn’t want you to do that without connecting with your family. I often, when I was a pastor, still do, as a matter of fact, get young men who tell me they’re called to go into the ministry. I’m called to be a pastor and I’m going to be trained. And I’m, my heart is right. And I often say to young guys, and sometimes women, what does your spouse think about that? And they say, well, she’ll come along. In other words, she thinks your idea stinks, right? She’s got a pretty good life and you’re going to mess it up. So, she’s not on board with you, right? And the person will say, yeah, but God’s going to fix that. I said, well, until he fixes it, you’re not called into ministry, so stay at your present job. Why am I saying that? Because it’s important that we be connected to others. One of the things that Paul taught so clearly was the importance of elders and their reference to young men and women in the church as to gifts and as to service and as to ministry. So, what God honors and the elders affirm are is often the will of God. And that’s true with your brothers and sisters in Christ. If you have a major decision to make in your life, then don’t do it alone. Make sure you do it with those who love you. Now, when I say people who love you, some people who say they love you will say what you want them to say. They don’t love you, they’re just an acquaintance. Make sure you got people around you who love you enough to tell you exactly what they think and to speak truth into your life. And then, of course, there is Scripture. There’s some things in Scripture that you should never, ever do. If you do it, you’ll be forgiven, but you just shouldn’t because you’re going to get hurt. The things you shouldn’t do, you’ll find in the Ten Commandments and other places. And there’s some things you should always do like love and forgive and show mercy, be growing in Christ, becoming a disciple, taking up a cross, etcetera, etcetera. And you don’t have to ask God’s will in that. I had a man one time come into my office and asked me, he said, Steve, I’m trying to determine God’s will about my mistress. And I said, what? He said, I’m trying to do, I want to please God. And I said, look, you don’t have to search God’s will. Scripture is very clear on what His will is about your mistress. Don’t do that. So, Scripture’s clear about some things and we don’t have to agonize over God’s will. It’s clear and it’s revealed propositional truth and it applies to our lives. And then there’s another way that we know God’s will. Sometimes God supernaturally intervenes in our lives and we know that we know that we know that this is where we’re called. Now, don’t make a habit of that, because God doesn’t work that way, mostly. He does some in every Christian’s life. There are things in my life, I could tell you a stories, I remember one time when I was a young pastor, there was an elderly lady in our congregation and I was driving back to the church one afternoon and as I drove by her house, I felt this, I need to stop and talk to her. And then I thought, but I’m really busy and I need to get back to my church and put a sermon together. But the further I got away from her house, the more frustrated and irritated I was. So, I turned around in the church parking lot, drove back down the road to that elderly lady’s house, knocked on the door, and she said, Oh, Pastor, come in. And, those were the days when pastors visited regularly in their parishioners homes. And she was glad to see me. It wasn’t unusual. It’s what pastors were supposed to do. And we sat down, and we chit chatted for a while. And then she said, Steve, could I ask you a question? And I said, sure. She said, you know, I’m old, and that means I’m going to die soon, and it scares me to death. Would you talk to me about my fear? And I did. I got out my Scriptures and read Scriptures to her. I talked about the times I’d been with Christians who had died. I talked about dying grace. I talked about Jesus, when you walk into the darkness, he’ll walk with you and there will be light on the other side. And tears came to her eyes and she said, Oh, thank you so much. I had a prayer and I left. And you know what happened that night? She was taken to the hospital. And she died the next day. Woo! Now, I’d like to tell you about a hundred stories just like that. But I don’t have a hundred stories like that. But there’s enough to let me know that God is intimately involved in my life. And he does have things for me to do, and places for me to go, and people for me to see. And he has exactly the same thing for you. Check with your brothers and sisters. Check with the Scriptures. And then ask him to show you and stay close to him. And you will know where he’s sending you. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. And with that, we land the plane for this week of teaching from Proverbs. Remember, you can listen to and share any of these episodes anytime you want at keylife.org and be sure to join us tomorrow for the nearly world famous Friday Q&A. Tomorrow Steve and Pete will answer this enduring question, why has Jesus not returned? Tune in for that answer. So, if you know Key Life, you know that we don’t believe in pressuring anyone about anything, right? It’s just not us. That said, the 2023 edition of Key Life Magazine, time is running out to claim your copy. It’s loaded with great articles from Steve and others, and I know you’re going to love it. Maybe as a stocking stuffer for the kids? I don’t know. I’m spit-balling here. Get your copy by calling us now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. To mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of Key Life Magazine. And finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving. You can charge a gift on your credit card, or include a gift in your envelope. Or simply pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter, text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.