How Does God Direct Us?
DIRECTION, DISOBEDIENCE, DISCLOSURE, DETOURS, DISCIPLINE, DELAYS, and DIVINE INTERVENTION.
1:1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
DIRECTION – “The word of the Lord came to Jonah.” Was it audible? A deep impression? A word from someone else? Did he have a parchment of the O.T.?
What we do know – It Was The Lord.
THE MOTIVE TEST: Go and help others is often the call – or humble yourself – or go restore something.
Direction often aligns with passion and calling – Jonah was a prophet: “‘I see women coming to my home for mentoring’, one women says.” “I see a solid Bible study group developing and curriculum.” “I see myself on foreign soil.”
THE BIBLICAL TEST: You may not feel led to do things that are clearly outlined in His will – “when you give; when you pray; when you fast.”
THE HOLY SPIRIT TEST: Is there peace and assurance?
THE COUNSEL TEST: There is safety in godly counsel. I can’t think of one time I went against it, but it’s not bullet-proof.
An open door isn’t always the right door.
THE WISDOM TEST: Is it wise? I don’t mean doesn’t it make sense financially, but is it wise – “Wisdom is the principal thing.” Not wise from our view, but God’s.
THE WAITING TEST: “Those who wait [not rush] on the Lord will renew their strength.” Buying a house, or a car, or major decisions – often, it’s not rushed.
THE PRAYER TEST: Have you been praying? God show me vs God here is what I’m doing.
A Word About Words – 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” They don’t lead, but confirm, reinforce, and/or convict.
Much of what we believe comes from who we listen to as well as our experiences.
Like me standing at the base of a wall – my daughter’s going to jump into my hands. She can see my hands just like I see the principals in the Word of God, but when she hears the Father speak, it brings tremendous comfort, boldness, and faith.
AGAIN – 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” They don’t lead, but confirm, reinforce, or convict.
EXAMPLE FROM WCF – Leaving a very good job to help young women.
WISDOM: Did God tell you to do something or did someone else? Look at the character of the person offering an opportunity –
WAIT: It’s when we are rushed, perplexed, and confused that we rush ahead – “roll the dice.”
Pray – “God, I need to know if this is from You. I’m going to stay, pray, and obey.” God may use others to prompt movement but it often aligns with what we are sensing.
MOTIVES: The Why behind it?
BIBLICAL: It lines up.
COUNSEL: what do others say?
FINANCES – THE BIGGY: We often look at it from a financial perspective – but, from my experience, God doesn’t.
Most would not be in ministry if financial comfort had the final say.
THE PROBLEM – if we only did God’s will when it make sense financially, we would rarely do His will – Lloyd-Jones [physician], Müller helping over 10,000 orphans began in 1836 with the preparation of their own rented home at 6 Wilson Street, Bristol, me leaving my career…
THE MISTAKE – we look at ministry like a job – to make great money. I tell inspiring authors, “If you’re ready to use your book like a track and give out 100s of free copies to help people, and sell it at a discount…you may be on the right track.”
CLOSING: “Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.”
“Where can I flee?”
NEXT WEEK – DISOBEDIENCE – 4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”
Some storms are sent to redirect others we simply must go through.