How do we know God’s will? We have all been at one of life’s crossroads where we hoped God would speak to us directly from heaven. I know I have many times. But instead of telling us what specific choices to make, God is only concerned with our knowledge of Him. He wants the devotion of our entire will, and as we simply seek to follow and know God, the other little details work themselves out. Here are some passages that talk about these things along with a few notes I jotted down.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. (Psalm 37:5 ESV)
“Commit” here is from the verb root galal which means literally “to roll.” It would seem an odd word choice at first, but lexical references point out that in this case it means “to roll away from oneself to another.” In a figurative sense this verse means for us “to roll” our derek (journey, way) from ourselves to the Lord. We roll out the course of our life’s journey in a trajectory that leads to the Lord. Proverbs 26:27 may help give perspective: “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.” So the one who rolls the “stone” of his will in a trajectory of wickedness, it will “come back on him” — and not in a good way. It’s a fascinating verb actually.
I was also looking at this theme of knowing God in the context of one’s life journey, path, destination, etc. Wisdom literature teaches that to know God is to know the way or path one should follow. If we seek God, then we will know our way. There is a real sense in which one’s pursuit of God and His ways result in a surety about one’s direction in life. Those who put their confidence in God have a solid confidence about the direction they are going. Even more, they continually acquire a wisdom that comes only from God Himself. They gain an understanding that only He can give. The verses below I think illustrate these truths.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV)
“Acknowledge” or “know.” Don’t lean on your own knowing, but lean on God’s knowing—His ways. Also, more of the “all” language I have been studying—all your heart (leb, will and desires), all your ways (derek, life’s journey). Not some. All.
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10)
Again, know God. God does not leave those who seek Him. Their confidence is assured.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. (Psalm 25:4 ESV)
And again, know God. Follow His ways. Follow the path that one follows as he seeks to know God.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. (Psalm 51:6)
When we seek truth and pursue it within ourselves, God is pleased. “You teach” meaning literally “You cause me to know.” As we know God and seek Him we acquire wisdom from God deep within our hearts.
The following two verses are a warning for those who do not seek to know God, as well as a reminder for those that do.
They bend their tongue like a bow; falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me, declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:3 ESV)
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV)
It’s also interesting that there is no discussion about one’s past. Any poor choices we’ve made in the past are irrelevant in terms of what should guide our future course. I’ve made plenty of them. Regardless, we follow and seek to know God faithfully, with confidence.