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Discovering God’s Will: Practicing Wisdom, Part 4

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   July 27, 2008

Discovering God’s Will: Practicing Wisdom, Part 4

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   July 27, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    People—especially Americans—don’t like the word “sovereign.” We don’t like to be ruled over. We distrust and usually despise those in authority. Therefore, it is natural for us to seek to buck up against the idea that God is sovereign. We want a manageable God. One who makes suggestions, not demands. Guidelines, not commandments. But if the Bible is clear about anything, it is clear that God is sovereign. He is the Supreme Ruler of everything. See Gen 1:1; Ps 115:3; Rev 22:13

B.    Most of us—no doubt—have come to terms with the fact of God’s sovereignty, but that does not mean we find it easy to live with on a practical level. We look at the world around us and see chaos, suffering, murder, disasters—we wonder why God seems to do nothing.

C.    Eccl 3:7: “…A time to be silent and a time to speak.” Solomon’s wisdom applies perfectly for us as we grapple with the sovereignty of God. No greater example of all this than Job: 1) When confronted with God’s sovereignty, Job put his hand over his mouth (40:1-5); 2) When suffering under God’s sovereignty, Job worshipped (1:21) and prayed very honestly (30:20-23): “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I stand before you, but you don’t even look. You have become cruel toward me. You use your power to persecute me. You throw me into the whirlwind and destroy me in the storm. And I know you are sending me to my death—the destination of all who live.” (NLT)

D.    The way of wisdom (decision-making): Thoroughly obey the God-breathed Scriptures (if Bible clear, just do it); Wisely use God-given freedom (If within moral will of God—Bible—examine your options and make a choice! You can’t make a sinful decision); today—3rd (final and all-important) component…

II.     Body: 3rd Component—Humbly Submit to God-directed plans

A.    A Time to be Silent: Humbly submit to God. God’s SW determines outcome of all decisions, so we should humbly submit to whatever God does—the fact and nature of His sovereign will should cause us—eventually—to put our hands over our mouths!

1.     God’s sovereign will will be done. Prov 21:1; Eph 1:11; greatest example—the cross! Ac 2:23; 4:27-28; no one can frustrate God’s plan Ro 9:14-21

2.     God’s sovereign will will be perfect. This is why we’ve spent 2 months on this! His will—not ours—is perfect and we need to understand importance and difference between moral and sovereign will;

a)     Results in “good”. Ro 8:28—basis of promise is God’s sovereign will

b)     Results in God’s glory—plan without sin better? Apparently not: God’s glory not always immediate, but certain—Cross followed by resurrection; victory over grave brings Him glory Jn 12:32-33; Rejection of Savior by Israel results in reconciliation of world and God is glorified for wisdom Ro 11:15;30-33; will be glorified for His holiness, defeat of Satan, righteous judgment and grace to redeemed sinners Rev 5;

c)     God’s plan is perfect because God is perfect—grounded in faith, not sight; trust in sovereign will prepares us for anything; all “why” questions same answer: loving God in sovereign wisdom willed it so. We know His plan is perfect—that’s enough.

3.     God’s sovereign will will be mysterious. Only God knows what will happen in advance—we can’t know unless He tells us (e.g., prophecy). We must accept that God’s sovereign will is hidden, don’t try to “divine” an answer through “fleeces” and don’t try to read your circumstances as though they’re signs to show you God’s individual will.

a)     The fleece (Gideon) and casting lots/dice (apostles) are nowhere encouraged as a normal way for Christians to discern God’s will. Fleece was used in unbelief/doubt, lots (only example in NT) used by Apostles before Pentecost/HS and no evidence God truly answered through it.

b)     Circumstances can be interpreted to mean anything!

(1)  Ac 28:4 then v. 6—murderer or god? Both interpretations wrong!

(2)  Blind man Jn 9:2-3—disciples read circumstances wrong—Jesus corrected

(3)  Job’s “comforters” accused him of hidden sin—they were wrong!—Job 42:7!

(4)  Circumstances are not hints about God’s sovereign will—they define the context of the decision and must be weighed by wisdom, but not read as signs.

4.     Trust Him, don’t test Him to get Him to spill the beans! It’s a mystery! His will will be done, it will be perfect and it will be mysterious—so, before/during/ after decision, submit to sovereignty. Before you know what will happen; during process; after decision has been made—silently, humbly trust Him (like Job).

B.    A Time to Speak: Honestly speak to God.

1.     God’s sovereign will should cause us to worship! Job 1:21 “blessed”; Ro 11:33-36;

2.     God’s sovereign will should cause us to pray, not be fatalistic.

a)     Pray honestly. what He permits/doesn’t permit will can cause us to doubt. Run to Him—be honest. God can handle it. Don’t give silent treatment. Ps 22:1-2; 44:1-8 (trust) 9ff (honesty/requests); Jesus! “Cup pass…your will be done” Mt 26:39

b)     Pray expectantly. Phil 4:6-7; Why pray? He requests/commands prayer. Will we change His sovereign will? Not the big picture. But the timing and details (means to the sovereign end) can/will be changed by our prayers if prayed “according to His will” (right motives/goals). Ask for guidance and expect Him to guide—plan prayerfully with humility (according to His moral will) see Jms 4:13-15; ask for open doors (opportunities) and then look for them!

III.   Closing:

A.    The way of wisdom (decision-making in the will of God):

1.     (submit to sovereign will in advance);

2.     Thoroughly obey the God-breathed Scriptures;

3.     (when the Scriptures are silent) Wisely use God-given freedom;

4.     (when decision is made) Humbly submit to God-directed plans

B.    Close service in unusual way—with an original song inspired by…you. Few months ago; kept hearing about friends/family members going through cancer/divorce/unemployment—Am I going to say, “What are YOU doing?...YOU don’t have the right!” or “I don’t like this place/situation/problem, but I trust YOU!”?

C.    You Are Lord by Shaun LePage

D.    Pray

You Are Lord


Does the clay speak to the Potter?


Does it ask, “What are You doing?”


Does the arrow tell the Archer

C2(A2)                  G(E)

How and when to shoot?


Does a servant tell His Master


YOU don’t have the right?


Does a soldier defy His King

C2(A2)           Am7(F#m7)                       

And refuse to fight?

                          C2(A2)         G(E)

Whatever YOU tell me I will do

                          C2(A2)             G(E)

Wherever YOU lead is my way too


YOU are Shepherd, You are Lord

                            C2(A2)          G(E)

Whenever YOU speak I will believe

                          C2(A2)         G(E)

Whatever YOU give I will receive

                Am7(F#m7)            G(E)

YOU are Sovereign, You are Lord!


I don’t like this place YOU’VE brought me


I don’t like what I’m going through


But I know YOU’RE right here with me

          C2(A2)                     Am7(F#m7)

And I need to say, “I trust YOU!”

        C2(A2) G(E)          C2(A2)

Not mine,        but Your will be done!

        C2(A2) G(E)          C2(A2)

Not mine,        but Your will be done!

        C2(A2) G(E)          C2(A2)

Not mine,        but Your will be done!

        C2(A2) G(E)          C2(A2)  Am7(F#m7)

Not mine,        but Your will be done!

 (Shaun LePage, March 29, 2008)

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