Is it hard to know God's will?
All four Gospels tell of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and an interesting fact is mentioned. The Bible says the people "took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord' (John 12:13). Have you ever wondered why they waved palm branches and cried, "Hosanna?" It's not what many people think.
God already has a purpose for you that has been in existence since before you were born!
Political zealots had used the palm branch as a symbol for quite some time. At one point the palm was used on coins minted during an insurrectionary rebellion, and they conjured images of Maccabean resistance. The palm branches seem to be an indication of the nationalistic and political expectations the people had for Jesus. This is further confirmed by the word Hosanna itself, which means "save, please" in Aramaic. But Jesus was a great disappointment to the people of Israel, and a few days after waving their branches and crying "Hosanna," they turned on Him and cried, "Crucify Him!"
The nation of Israel, as a whole, rejected their Messiah because He did not fit into their preconceived expectations. They were looking for a political deliverer, a man of war and conquest. They were looking for a king who would overthrow the oppressive Roman government and return the nation to its former glory. Instead they found a man of peace, meek and humble, riding on a lowly donkey rather than a warrior's stallion. To this day Jews around the world are praying for the arrival of their long-awaited Messiah, but He came two thousand years ago, and many still do not recognise Him because He is not what they are looking for.
Preconceptions produce misconceptions that can blind us to what is obvious, and this happens to many people as they seek God's will for their lives. God already has a purpose for you that has been in existence since before you were born! In fact, God may have already revealed His will to you, and you might be looking right at it, but misconceptions might be keeping you from recognising it. Over the next few Bible studies, I want to unmask three common misconceptions about God's will.
Misconception #1 God's will is Hard to Figure Out
Misconception #2 God Always Reveals His Will Suddenly and Dramatically
Misconception #3 God Wants Everyone to Go Into Full-Time Ministry
Let's take a look at misconception number 1 today.
Misconception #1 God's will is Hard to Figure Out
A scientist took a group of young researchers on an expedition into the desert to study various types of cacti. But their mission was cut short when their vehicle broke down in the middle of the vast barren wilderness. The scientist who was heading the expedition was very familiar with the territory and was confident they could make it back to civilization. But to his great dismay, after two days of walking it became obvious that they were hopelessly lost. The last canteen yielded its final drop of water, and desperation began to set in as the sunburned and dehydrated group realised they would most likely die in this desert.
God's will is not a faraway mystery, but something within view and something accessible.
Suddenly one of the researchers shouted to the rest of the group, 'There, in the distance '”it's an oasis!' Cheers and cries of excitement rang out from the haggard team, but the lead scientist bowed his head dejectedly. 'I'm sorry to tell you this,' he said as he collapsed into the sand, 'but what you are seeing is only a mirage.' The young researchers simply refused to believe it. They took their canteens and ran toward the shimmering reflection in the distance, hoping upon hope that what they were seeing was real.
After a few minutes they came close enough to see clearly. Sturdy palm trees huddled cosily around a sparkling, spring-fed pool of refreshing water, and they jumped in with both feet. They splashed and drank as their strength returned, and after refilling their canteens, they headed back to take the wonderful report to the lead scientist. But their joy was turned to sorrow when they found his body, limp and lifeless, lying in the spot where he had collapsed.
God's will is often like that oasis in the desert; it is a life-giving source of purpose and reason for being. In most cases God's will is not a faraway mystery, but something within view and something accessible. Yet what is right in front of our face is often the easiest thing to dismiss, and God's will may be so obvious that we overlook it thinking that it must be more difficult.
God is not trying to trick or puzzle you. He is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). He wants you to discover His will.
Have you ever noticed that when a person first becomes a believer he seems to easily hear God's voice and sense His leading? Often the more mature we become and the more we learn, the more complicated and confusing things become. The scientist in my story died because he had already decided that the oasis in the distance was too good to be true. He was educated and experienced. He knew mirages were common phenomena in the desert. But his knowledge and experience prevented him from recognising what was right in front of him.
Have you heard sermons about God's will that left you feeling discouraged and more confused than ever? Have you been led to believe that you need to be a prophet to know what God is saying? Does it seem as if the more you search the less you find? Perhaps the most valuable thing you can learn is that you need to unlearn a lot of the things you have learned. Those things that bring confusion and over analysis need to be dropped. Start with simple, childlike faith. Trust that God has a plan He is trying to reveal to you. Believe that He wants you to discover it more than you want to discover it! Rest in the assurance that He's not trying to trick or puzzle you. Remember that He is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), and He does not create mirages to deceive you. Discovering God's will for your life is not difficult. Let's simplify!
God has a plan for everyone.
Do you know yours?
This Bible Study has been taken from Chapter 2 of Daniel Kolenda's book, LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE, which is not only a 'wake up call' for you but also offers practical and scriptural insights on how you can discover and fulfil God's will for your life.