Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not My Will but Thine

If you tell God that you want HIS will, not your own, you had better be prepared for that decision to be put to a test. This can be incredibly difficult to do because surrendering your will to God involves an amazing amount of faith and trust in Him. Sometimes God will test you to see if you really meant what you said, and then He will give you the desires of your heart. Other times, God truly performs His will, even if it hurts you very badly. There is an example of each of these types of surrender in the Bible. The one is of Abraham and Isaac, the other is Jephthah and his daughter.

Genesis 22 finds Abraham going about his regular routine until God comes to him and tells Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, and offer him as a burnt offering. If that were me, I probably would have said, "Wait a minute God, You want me to do WHAT?! I can't do that....I mean...he's my only son. You promised that Isaac would be the one to make a great nation from me, how can that happen if he dies?" But did Abraham do that? No. Instead Genesis 22:3 says, "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." No complaining. No questioning. Just a simple yet strong faith that believed God's will was best. How did it turn out? Well, Abraham went through obediently. He took Isaac and a few servants, went to the mountain that God had told him of, took his son, some wood and fire, and headed up the mountain. Abraham went so far as to build the altar, place Isaac upon it, and raised his hand to kill his son when an angel suddenly stopped him. "And [the angel of the Lord] said, 'Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.'" God then provided a substitute ram to be offered in the place of Isaac.

Jephthah had a slightly different situation. He went to war against the Ammonites who were attempting to take over part of Israel. He vowed to God that if He brought Israel through and made them victorious that when he went home, the first thing that came out of his home to greet him would be offered as a burnt offering to the Lord (Judges 11:30-31). God grants his request, and the enemy was defeated. Jephthah returns home victorious, celebrating his great victory. As he comes down the road to his house, his daughter apparently hears him coming and runs out to meet him. She was the first thing that came to meet him. Was Jephthah expecting this? Not at all. He could have easily said, "God...you know when I made that vow, I wasn't thinking of her! I can't sacrifice my daughter, she's too precious to me." Yes, the Bible does say that he was sad, and naturally so, "And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes and said, 'Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.'" (Judges 11:35) A long series of events lead to two months later when in Judges 11:39 states, "And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow." I can't even begin to imagine the thoughts going through Jephthah's mind as he did what he promised God. Doing God's will, not his own even though it was the hardest thing in the world.

The ultimate example of surrender is shown in Christ when He was sent to the cross. His agony in the garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion shows how human and divine He was in His choice to follow His Father's will. "Then saith he unto [his disciples], 'My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here , and watch with me.' And he went a little further and fell on his face, and prayed saying, 'O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.'" Jesus went to the cross and died, not because He necessarily wanted to go through the pain and suffering, but because He knew that is what His Father willed and so He uncomplainingly went, bearing our sin and iniquity on His body.

Is following God's will always easy? the answer is a resounding NO. But is it right, oh yes! God will give a peace that goes beyond comprehension to those that choose to do His will. Following Him is the best decision that anyone can make.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Great post Hannah . . . and it is so much more meaningful when it comes from a heart that has truly said "Not my will, but Thine!" Keep your eyes on God and continue letting Him direct each step! Love you!