Sunday, September 13, 2020

Our Ways or God's Ways?

You see it printed on art to hang on your walls or on t-shirts for you to wear. "Follow your heart" it says, but the Bible gives us a warning about that motto. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9 In other words, our deceitful heart and our unruly, unsurrendered soul, (mind, will and emotions), can lead us astray. It can convince us we should leave our husband for the guy at work that flirts with us, that it's okay to harbor hatred in our heart and ruin someone's reputation with our tongue because they deserve it, that it's ok to cheat on our taxes because the government is too big, too greedy and too out of control. God will never sanction us to do something that conflicts with His Word and His ways, His principles and His precepts. But, most often our heart deceives us in more subtle ways. We may feel guilty so we commit to something we have no time for, we may feel anxious to get started on something and leap into it ahead of God's timing. Our heart can convince us that God has said something or that something is God's will that hasn't really originated from Him but from ourself. This is when we need to step back and see if what we think or feel or want to do lines up with God's Word, God's revealed purpose, plan and priorities that our life is founded on and it's also a good idea to check what we are sensing and feeling with godly people of wisdom who's counsel we have found to be wise and trustworthy. 

On the other hand, there are times when God speaks to our innermost being and we know that it's Him. Such was the case with Nehemiah. The children of Israel had been taken captive by Babylon and Nehemiah became the cupbearer of the king of Babylon. While serving his captor, news reached Nehemiah about the horrible conditions back in Jerusalem. In response to the sad news, Nehemiah wept and prayed and fasted and even confessed the sins of and repented on behalf of the the children of Israel. Sometime in that process God gave Nehemiah a plan to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the protective walls around the city. Again, Nehemiah prayed and asked God to give him success. Three or four months later, the king noticed Nehemiah's fallen countenance and asked him what was wrong. That was the open door Nehemiah was waiting for. Nehemiah told the king about the conditions back in Jerusalem and asked to be allowed to go back to Jerusalem and to rebuild the walls.That ungodly king not only gave Nehemiah his approval but he gave Nehemiah personal letters of authorization, the supplies for the rebuilding, and a military escort back to his homeland! Talk about confirmation!  Lest you think that I am saying that when you are following God's ways instead of your own ways things will always go smoothly for you, Nehemiah's story doesn't end here. He faced plenty of opposition even while walking in obedience to God's will. But, you do notice that God used some most unusual ways to confirm that Nehemiah's plan really was God given. An enemy king not only agreed with his plan but supplied his needs to complete the plan. (A literal fulfillment of the verse "the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous." Proverbs 13:22) Chances are that if you are having to ram against closed doors to do something you believe God is telling you then He is either saying no or not yet. So Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem and he and the exiles that remained there began the rebuilding work that God had told him to do. That's when the opposition, coming from two men named Sanballat and Tobiah, began. They laughed and mocked and tormented Nehemiah and the rest of the building crew. I love Nehemiah's response, a portion of which you see in the photo above, "The God of heaven will make sure we succeed. We're His servants and we're going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of this! You get no say in this! Jerusalem's none of your business!"Nehemiah 2:20

The point I'm trying to make is this. We need to be able to discern the difference between our ways and God's ways. God's Word, ways, precepts and principles and God's people are some of the resources we need to check with if we are unsure. But when we know that we know that we know that we are following God's word and will and ways, then we can boldly say to the opposition of the enemy, or those the enemy would use to oppose us, "You keep our nose out of this! You have no say in this!" and then get right back to the work God has given us to do. He is the One Who will help us to succeed.


  1. I find myself wondering how all the people who are creating such havoc and hatred in the country today realize that it is not what God has called us to do. We are to love above all else...first God and then one another. It breaks my heart to see how we treat each other in the name of God.

  2. Your post reminds me also of the Just Do It motto. Can't just do it without discerning whether it is right or wrong. I know that motto was suppose to be to do something meaningful with your life, but that has gotten out of control as so many are just doing. God's conviction can be overwhelming at times when making a decision that my human mind doesn't really want to, but then when I submit to the conviction, there are rewards in finding that was the right way. Love your scription post. Great reminder. Also, will pray for your family. My grandson's family is in Oregon also. Have a great week.


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