December 27th, 1986                                             "Doing God's Will"                                              Mrs. N. D. Daniel

Psalms 143:7-10

King David we know was a converted man. His prayer to the Lord in verse 10 was, "Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness." During this Christmas season we have been learning that we too like the shepherds and the wisemen should worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. We have to worship Him with a pure heart.

In the first two chapters of St. Matthew’s Gospel, we read how God taught His will to individuals and families. Joseph had to do God’s will in his marriage. There are two types of God’s will, His perfect will and His permissive will. Joseph was inclined to put away his wife Mary, to whom he was engaged. We are people who normally walk by sight and not by faith and not by the promises of the Lord. I believe people walk by sight specially in the matter of marriages. Joseph had his own convictions and his own understanding of the scriptures and the circumstances of his life. But he was a just man and a righteous man. Nothing should deter us from doing God’s will- whether the person is fat or thin, dark or fair, blind or lame, tall or short. A boy wanted to do God’s will in marriage. But he raised one objection about the complexion of the girl. So he was inclined to reject God’s will on that score. He wanted God’s will on one side and to satisfy his vain desires on the other side. Anyway, he took some time to agree to God’s will. Some time after the marriage, I visited that place. I found quite some negativity and confusion there. The boy had not really risen above his vain desires. He spoke out his disappointment about the complexion of the girl. This became the talk of the place. The Lord helped me to talk to that boy and the people there. That girl had a white clean heart and that is what really mattered. The darkness left the boy and the people there. The last I heard was that the couple sang a duet in the recent carol service there. God’s will may sometimes appear hard. But there will be many blessings in it. In his dream, Joseph heard the word of God spoken to him by an angel of God. The word of God was trying to guide Joseph. He had genuine guidance through his dreams. But everyone should not depend upon his or her dreams. If the dreams are of the Lord, only then we have to pay attention to them. The Lord spake to Joseph by that dream. When God speaks, His words will strengthen us. When God spoke His will to Joseph, he was strengthened to do it. There was no resistance at all on his side. From that time, God continued to speak to him through angels and through dreams. We read about these guidances in the second chapter. Joseph always received strength to obey God under all circumstances. He could discern the voice of the word of God and understand it. The will of God as revealed to this couple in the beginning was not an easy path. We see in Matthew 2:13 that the angel of God appeared to Joseph and asked him to flee from that place to Egypt. To make a long journey with a small baby would not have been easy. They were asked to go to Egypt a new country altogether. Yet, angels were with Joseph and Mary. The word of God was guiding them. Herod wanted to kill Jesus. So God guided them to leave that place. Joseph obeyed immediately. They started on their journey to Egypt by night.

The Lord was with them in Egypt. The next guidance was very clear to them. Verses 19 & 20. The Lord appeared again to Joseph, in Egypt and said, "Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life." And I do not know but I believe, they did not find it difficult to obey because they had trained themselves to be in the perfect will of God. From there they had to go again to Nazareth. They had guidances from above every time. To follow God with a family, is not easy. To follow God as young people not yet married is comparatively easy. But here Joseph and Mary both had the guidances of God and obeyed them. So this family has finally become a great blessing to many generations even up to our generation. They have become a blessing to the whole world.

We can leave God’s perfect will and choose His "Permissive will." We need to be very careful. We need to learn a lesson from the prophet Balaam. King Balak sent the elders of Midian to fetch Balaam to curse the children of Israel. Balaam prayed to God for guidance and God said, "Thou shalt not go with them. Thou shalt not curse them for they are blessed." Balaam said to the messengers of the king, "I am not going with you. God says I should not go with you." King Balak would not give in. He sent princes more honourable than the first with promises of promotion to great honour to compel him to come. Then this prophet again went and prayed to God. We can understand how parents yield, when children are repeatedly asking them. First they say, "Do not go to the next house to watch the TV there." But the children keep on asking and pleading, "It is education and information, they say. Then the parents give in and say, "Go." Not only for a T. V. programme but altogether children are like that. They manage to get a "Yes" from their parents. And then, they bring some sorrow to the parents because they forced a "Yes" unwillingly from them. Many people live in God’s permissive will and not in His perfect will. But there are people who are learning to strictly follow their convictions and their understanding of God’s will. When Balaam went with those messengers, he did not have a smooth journey. The angels of God were not with him. In fact an angel stood against him with a drawn sword. Further guidances from God were not there.

But Joseph and Mary had perfect and clear guidances from God all along their way. The child Jesus also spoke a clear guidance to them who was stepping into youth. "Know ye not that I should be in the will of God (about my Father’s business) amidst these teachers and preachers? So the father, mother and son- all three of them were in the perfect will of God and pleased God and kept their faith to the end of their lives. They built their lives in the perfect will of God. They built their family in the perfect will of God. They served God according to His perfect will. So all of them became blessings to the world for ever. So God wants us to learn His will- His perfect will. At least in the coming year, if we would be in God’s perfect will, we can be a great blessing to many, many people. We can build the Kingdom of God according to His mind and plan. God wants us to enter this new year with David’s prayer asking God, "Lord teach me to do thy will." When He guides us, along with His guidance we should ask grace for obedience also. In this way, we who meet every week like this, to learn to grow into deeper Christian life, can teach others these great standards. God loves us too, not only Mary and Joseph. So He will guide us also into all truth for that is His desire and His will.