having made known to us the mystery of His will [this past participle of revelation is the first of a series of mysteries]
according to His good pleasure (kindness) [a relative phrase of reason or causation]
which He exhibited (purposed, set forth) [referring back to the unfolding or manifestation of the grace]
in Him [the third reference to Christ as the centre of all operations]Ephesians 1:9
Yes I am sure if you ask anyone, Christian or not about the Will of God, most will say it is a mystery. So many times I have been asked by Deeper Bible students especially,
- “How can I know the will of God?” or a related question,
- “How can I hear from God?”
- “How do I learn to know His voice?”
Important questions to ask. I am sure there have been times you thought you knew “the will of God” for you in your life, only to find you were wrong. I am sure there have been times you thought you had heard the voice of God to your heart. Whether it was audible (in your ears), in your heart, in your mind, in your spirit, or wherever else you thought you perceived it. You were certain it was the Word of God to you. The quickened Word of God; the Rhema. So much so that you acted on it in faith only to find you were wrong. We have all had those moments. We can talk about this one long and hard.[I don’t intend to turn this into a discussion of knowing God’s will or how to hear from God. I have done that in the Nuggets. With the Bible Gems I want to stick to the text of the Bible and not wander from it. But as long as it is relevant to the verses in focus at this time and as long as you, my readers, respond I will develop the thoughts. So it is dependent on your interaction with me too. If there are no responses, I will move on quickly to the next portion of what Paul has to say.]
Knowing God’s will / Hearing God’s voice is a training ground for us all. And just when we think we have it figured it out He changes the rules. Why is that? It doesn’t seem fair. We all have stories of when we thought we knew for sure God’s will for us at a particular time only to find out we were wrong.
There was a time back at the beginning of my “walk with Him” when as Christian teachers we were seeking God for His will for what to do for the school context for the Lord in the weeks ahead. I won’t go into great detail, the specifics are not important. We fasted and prayed for a fortnight and then met together to see what God had told us all. I was excited about it because I just knew that God was going to do something amazing. I had the sense that when we all came together all of our senses / contributions would make up a united whole and we would have the sense that God had put this all together.
During the fortnight it was like God was showing me things in His Word. Giving me verses that linked up. Speaking to me in other ways through things that came “across my path”. It was all coming together nicely I thought. I couldn’t wait till we all got together on the appointed day to see how it all flowed and how each had a part of the puzzle. I was sure that God was leading me and so He must be leading the others too. I couldn’t wait for the unveiling of His plan. This was all so exciting.
On the day, we all met in the school library to lay out what God had said. I was so excited I told them what I “had been given” first. Then we moved on to each person in turn. It soon became clear that in what all the others shared there was unity but my input was at a tangent to the others. I was devastated. I wondered how I could have missed it by so much. Not one thing (nothing) of what I had was common or in sync with what they all had. I was the odd man out. How could that be? God had showed me things. God had brought the thoughts to me, at least I had thought so. It had all happened so amazing well. But I was oh so wrong it seems. Could it be that they were all wrong and I was right? No, in my mind I knew that God would work in unity, in unified thought. I was the one who was out of sync, not them. I dragged myself home with my tail between my legs. That night as I took the Bible (my first huge NASB version) and dared to read it again, God used some verses from Deuteronomy 8, the passage where I was reading in my systematic reading of the Bible for the year, to speak to my heart. It staggered me.
These are the verses that struck me with the parts in bold that God quickened to my heart.
You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years (two weeks), that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
He humbled you . . . that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.
Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.Deuteronomy 8:2,3,5
then your heart will become proud . . .
Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’Deuteronomy 8:14,17
It was like God was speaking to my heart and emboldening verses to me off the page. Following that I turned to my New Testament reading in Luke 1. The first words I read were:
He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And he exalted those who were humble.Luke 1:51-52
God burned this principle on my heart. I was proud of the way that God was leading me. It was like God led me astray in order to reveal to me what was within. Those verses are seared on my heart, spirit, being; somewhere, everywhere. Engraved on the tablets of my heart. I haven’t thought of this leading for years but writing the gem this morning these verses come flooding back and I knew exactly which verses they were and went straight to the references.
You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments. For He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He humbled you. Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.
God is more concerned with what is going on on the inside of you than He is concerned for what is happening on the outside. Remember the lesson of the plax. [Bible Gem 520]
Yes the will of God at times is a mystery, but let Him be the one to work it out and bring revelation. DON’T GET PROUD.
Next Gem I plan to look at the difference between God’s specific will and God’s general will. The Lord willing.
Everybody has a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Only God sees the picture on the box. Max LucadoMax Lucado
Ask God to reveal to you His purpose for your life. Until you find it you haven’t lived, and until you fulfil it you’re not ready to die.Anon