Life Principle 10: God Will Show You His Will

If necessary, God will move heaven and earth to show us His will.

God always wants the best for us, and He is committed to showing us how to follow the specific plan He has designed for each of our lives. He wants us to listen for His voice to hear what He wants us to do and how He wants us to do it (Is. 30:19).

When we begin to wander from the course God has set for us, He will take all kinds of measures to capture our attention and protect us from harm. He has a wide variety of ways to help us take notice, among them:

1. A restless spirit

Sometimes God gets our attention by making us restless (Est. 6:1-14). If you experience restlessness deep within—something you cannot quite identify—then stop and pray, “Lord, are You trying to say something to me?” Each time God was about to move me from one pastorate to another, I became very restless.

2. A spoken word

God also gets our attention by using the words of others. The Lord gave a message both to young Samuel and to the old priest, Eli, through this method (1 Sam. 3:4-18). If several people in a short span of time begin telling you the same thing, then ask the Lord if He is trying to speak to you through them.

God has a wide variety of ways to help us take notice.

3. An unusual blessing

God may bless us in an unusual way to gain our attention. Of course, if you are an overly self-sufficient person, the Lord may use some other method to get your focus on Him. But remember that no matter which method He uses, it expresses His love.

4. Unanswered prayer

Sometimes God will answer a prayer with “No.” Despite David’s prayers for God to save his infant son’s life (the child born through the king’s adultery), the boy died (2 Sam. 12:15-18). The Lord may remain silent to our prayers as a way of prompting us to examine ourselves.

5. Disappointment

When the nation of Israel refused God’s instruction to take possession of the Promised Land, God judged the people for their unbelief. They quickly changed their minds and said they now desired to enter the land. But the Lord said no—it was too late (Num. 14:1-45). God got their attention through a tremendous sense of disappointment. In a similar way, the Lord may allow setbacks to keep us from charting our own course.

6. Extraordinary circumstances

Sometimes God will use unusual circumstances to get us to stop and listen. Moses saw a flaming bush that didn’t burn up. As he approached to investigate, the Lord spoke to Him from the fire (Ex. 3:1-22). You and I must learn to look for the presence of God in every circumstance of life. He leaves His footprints and handiwork all around us.

7. Defeat

God may use defeat to show us the truth. Following their stunning victory over Jericho, the Israelites approached a small town with overconfidence and neglected to do what the Lord had commanded (Josh. 7:1-26). God got Joshua’s attention by allowing the nation to suffer an embarrassing defeat. But even this can prove to be a great stepping-stone to success when we pray, “Lord, what are You saying? Help me to see where I have taken a wrong turn.”

God knows precisely what it will take to get our attention.

8. Financial troubles

In the time of the Judges, when “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17:6) the nation fell into idolatry and disobedience. God brought judgment through the Midianites, who devastated the land. Only when He took away every material belonging did they cry out to Him (Judg. 6:3-6). The Lord knew exactly what it would take to get their attention. When they did return to Him, He delivered them from their oppressors and blessed them.

9. Tragedy, sickness, and affliction

We should regard our tragedies and afflictions as reasons to inquire of the Lord, “What are You trying to say?” When King Hezekiah became prideful, God used illness to alert him to the problem (2 Chr. 32:24). Similarly, when Saul of Tarsus persecuted Christians, God struck him with blindness—a tactic that certainly got his attention (Acts 9:1-19).

The Father always knows exactly where you are in your journey of faith and precisely what it will take to get your attention. So stay alert. Notice if any of these divine methods are occurring—or recurring—in your life. If they are, ask Him what He wants to tell you, and then listen ... not simply to hear, but to obey.

Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.

Related Topics:  30 Life Principles  |  Listening to God  |  Spiritual Life

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12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You."

19 O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.

20 Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher.

21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left.

1 During that night the king could not sleep so he gave an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles, and they were read before the king.

2 It was found written what Mordecai had reported concerning Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs who were doorkeepers, that they had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.

3 The king said, What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?" Then the king's servants who attended him said, Nothing has been done for him."

4 So the king said, Who is in the court?" Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king's palace in order to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows which he had prepared for him.

5 The king's servants said to him, Behold, Haman is standing in the court." And the king said, Let him come in."

6 So Haman came in and the king said to him, What is to be done for the man whom the king desires to honor?" And Haman said to himself, Whom would the king desire to honor more than me?"

7 Then Haman said to the king, For the man whom the king desires to honor,

8 let them bring a royal robe which the king has worn, and the horse on which the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown has been placed;

9 and let the robe and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most noble princes and let them array the man whom the king desires to honor and lead him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him, `Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor.'"

10 Then the king said to Haman, Take quickly the robes and the horse as you have said, and do so for Mordecai the Jew, who is sitting at the king's gate; do not fall short in anything of all that you have said."

11 So Haman took the robe and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor."

12 Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate. But Haman hurried home, mourning, with his head covered.

13 Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish origin, you will not overcome him, but will surely fall before him."

14 While they were still talking with him, the king's eunuchs arrived and hastily brought Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.

4 that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, Here I am."

5 Then he ran to Eli and said, Here I am, for you called me." But he said, I did not call, lie down again." So he went and lay down.

6 The LORD called yet again, Samuel!" So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, Here I am, for you called me." But he answered, I did not call, my son, lie down again."

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him.

8 So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy.

9 And Eli said to Samuel, Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, `Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, Speak, for Your servant is listening."

11 The LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.

12 In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.

13 For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them.

14 Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever."

15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.

16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, Samuel, my son." And he said, Here I am."

17 He said, What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you."

18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD; let Him do what seems good to Him."

15 So Nathan went to his house. Then the LORD struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick.

16 David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground.

17 The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.

18 Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!"

1 Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.

2 All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!

3 Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?"

4 So they said to one another, Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt."

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel.

6 Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;

7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.

8 If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us--a land which flows with milk and honey.

9 Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them."

10 But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of the LORD appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel.

11 The LORD said to Moses, How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?

12 I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they."

13 But Moses said to the LORD, Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for by Your strength You brought up this people from their midst,

14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, O LORD, are in the midst of this people, for You, O LORD, are seen eye to eye, while Your cloud stands over them; and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.

15 Now if You slay this people as one man, then the nations who have heard of Your fame will say,

16 Because the LORD could not bring this people into the land which He promised them by oath, therefore He slaughtered them in the wilderness.'

17 But now, I pray, let the power of the Lord be great, just as You have declared,

18 The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations. '

19 Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now."

20 So the LORD said, I have pardoned them according to your word;

21 but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD.

22 Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice,

23 shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.

24 But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.

25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys; turn tomorrow and set out to the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea."

26 The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,

27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me.

28 Say to them, `As I live,' says the LORD, `just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you;

29 your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me.

30 Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

31 Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey--I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected.

32 But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness.

33 Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.

34 According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition.

35 I, the LORD, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die.'"

36 As for the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land and who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing out a bad report concerning the land,

37 even those men who brought out the very bad report of the land died by a plague before the LORD.

38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive out of those men who went to spy out the land.

39 When Moses spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people mourned greatly.

40 In the morning, however, they rose up early and went up to the ridge of the hill country, saying, Here we are; we have indeed sinned, but we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised."

41 But Moses said, Why then are you transgressing the commandment of the LORD, when it will not succeed?

42 Do not go up, or you will be struck down before your enemies, for the LORD is not among you.

43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there in front of you, and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned back from following the LORD. And the LORD will not be with you."

44 But they went up heedlessly to the ridge of the hill country; neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses left the camp.

45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down, and struck them and beat them down as far as Hormah.

1 Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

2 The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.

3 So Moses said, I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up."

4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, Moses, Moses!" And he said, Here I am."

5 Then He said, Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."

6 He said also, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

7 The LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.

8 So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

9 Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.

10 Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt."

11 But Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?"

12 And He said, Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain."

13 Then Moses said to God, Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, `The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, `What is His name?' What shall I say to them?"

14 God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.'"

15 God, furthermore, said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, `The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.

16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, `The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.

17 So I said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey."'

18 They will pay heed to what you say; and you with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt and you will say to him, `The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.'

19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion.

20 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go.

21 I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed.

22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians."

1 But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel.

2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, Go up and spy out the land." So the men went up and spied out Ai.

3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few."

4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai.

5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.

7 Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan!

8 O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies?

9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?"

10 So the LORD said to Joshua, Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?

11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things.

12 Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst.

13 Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, `Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the LORD, the God of Israel, has said, There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst."

14 In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which the LORD takes shall come near by households, and the household which the LORD takes shall come near man by man.

15 It shall be that the one who is taken with the things under the ban shall be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel.'"

16 So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken.

17 He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken.

18 He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken.

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, My son, I implore you, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me."

20 So Achan answered Joshua and said, Truly, I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel, and this is what I did:

21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it."

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was concealed in his tent with the silver underneath it.

23 They took them from inside the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the sons of Israel, and they poured them out before the LORD.

24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.

25 Joshua said, Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day." And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.

26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day.

6 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

3 For it was when Israel had sown, that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the sons of the east and go against them.

4 So they would camp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey.

5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in like locusts for number, both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to devastate it.

6 So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the LORD.

24 In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill; and he prayed to the LORD, and the LORD spoke to him and gave him a sign.

1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,

2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

3 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;

4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"

5 And he said, Who are You, Lord?" And He said, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,

6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do."

7 The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.

8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.

9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias." And he said, Here I am, Lord."

11 And the Lord said to him, Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,

12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight."

13 But Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem;

14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name."

15 But the Lord said to him, Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;

16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."

17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;

19 and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,

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