Saturday, October 18, 2008

Seeking The Will of God

“The secret things belong to God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29).

According to this Scripture, there is the secretive will of God and there is the revealed will of God. God does not hold us responsible for His secretive will, He will hold us responsible for His will declared in and through His Word. It is not what we don’t know that He will judge us by, it will be by what the Holy Spirit has made clear through His Holy Scriptures that God will hold us accountable.

In studying the Word of God, it is supremely important to “let Scripture interpret Scripture.” It is not our business to interject our own interpretation into a Bible passage when the interpretation is already there to be mined. This is why we are commanded to study the Word of God (II Tim.2:15); as we study the Word we will learn how to rightly divide it. There may be many different applications of a given passage which can be drawn from it, but there is only one biblical interpretation:

“knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,
“for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter 1:20-21).

There are several rules that will help in rightly dividing Holy Scripture:

1. The Holy Spirit will lead us to use passages with clearer light on a given subject to rightly interpret more obscure passages relating to the same subject.
2. The teachings of Jesus are greatly amplified upon in the writings of the Apostles: Paul, John and Peter. Using their letters as eyeglasses, a student of the Scriptures can glean much valuable insight into the Gospels.
3. The key to understanding the Old Testament books is found by utilizing the New Testament books as eyeglasses to understand how the Holy Spirit led the New Testament writers to understand the Old Testament Scriptures.
4. If a verse is difficult to understand by itself, put it back into the paragraph from which it came. If it still proves hard, then place the paragraph back into the chapter, and then finally into the whole letter itself. By doing so, the student will discover many of the treasures in the Scripture in question.
5. Additional treasures can be found when you take what you have learned in a specific passage, then compare it with the way the thought is used in other books of the Bible. By letting Scripture interpret Scripture, the student will glean much gold from such an in-depth study.

God’s revealed will is the Word of God. Jesus stated:

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.
“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” – John 14:15, 24

The following is another set of guidelines that will help the Bible student to discover the will of God as it is expressed in the Scriptures:

1. Come to the Word of God with the purpose of blessing the Lord, thanking Him for His blessedness, and asking Him for His mercy:

“Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes!” – Psalm 119:12

“Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy, And teach me Your statutes.”
Psalm 119:124

2. Meditate and contemplate more on the Word of God than you do the cares of this world:

“I will meditate on Your precepts, And I will contemplate Your ways.” – Psalm 119:15

“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes fruitful.”
Matthew 13:22

“And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” – I John 2:17

3. Obey what you have already been given the grace to understand:

“Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.”
Psalm 119:33

“If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.”- John 7:17

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” – Psalm 111:10

4. Turn off the Television and CD player:

“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.”
Psalm 119:37

“Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.”
Psalm 119:133

5. Turn to God’s Word first, before you execute any of your decisions:

“I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to your testimonies.
“I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments.” – Psalm 119:59-60

6. Believe God’s Word before you know it; He desires your best:

“Teach me good judgment and knowledge, For I believe Your commandments.”
Psalm 119:66

“I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O LORD! I will keep Your statutes.”
Psalm 119:145

7. Know that even in hard times, God’s will is best:

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.”
Psalm 119:71

“I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” – Psalm 119:75

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