O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways .... Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:1-3, 23-24
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Our emphasis this week is on the "in between" times that come into our lives when God shuts "the door of what has been" but has not yet opened "the door of what will be." There is a sense that all of life is "in between" when we think of the past, present, and future aspects of time. The past has already happened and the future isn't here yet. All we really have is the present. Life is what happens "in between" the past and the future. Life truly is what happens in the present and quite often our present includes some aspect of our lives where we are "in between" "the door of what has been" and "the door of what will be."
We ended our Devotionals last week by looking at three understandings of God's will: his "prescriptive will," his "sovereign will," and his "intervening will." During this week we will use Psalm 139 to help us take a closer look at these three understandings of God's will. It is hoped that these considerations will provide insights for how to live best in the "in between" times of our lives. We will look at God's prescriptive will today as seen in the above verses from Psalm 139.
Here is some of what we said last week about God's prescriptive will: when a doctor gives you a prescription, he is making medicine available to you, but it is up to you to make use of what he has prescribed for you. Similarly, God prescribes things for us in his Word, the Bible. That which God prescribes for us in Scripture are his desires for us, but it is up to us to respond just like it is up to us to take the medicine the doctor has prescribed.
The Psalmist's reference to "the everlasting way" is a reference to the prescriptive will of God. It is referring to all the intentions and desires God has for us as people. The Psalmist acknowledges that God knows him, understands him, and is intimately acquainted with all his ways. The Psalmist asks God to search him for hurtful ways. In making this request he is asking God to hold his life up against his prescriptive will (his intentions and desires for mankind - "the everlasting way") and to show him where there is a lack of correspondence.
This spiritual exercise the Psalmist entered into with God is something we need to emulate at all times, but particularly when we are in those "in between" times that come into our lives when God shuts "the door of what has been" but has not yet opened "the door of what will be." It is so easy for us not to live in the present. In the "in between" times we often remain attached to "the door of what has been" and/or become attached to what we desperately hope is "the door of what will be." When we are more wrapped up in "missing what was" and in "finding what's next," it will be difficult for us to live in the present.
When we don't live in the present our concerns about the past and the future predominate over our being concerned about how our lives correspond with God's "prescriptive will" in the here and now. "God's prescriptive will" doesn't involve the specifics of the "job that was" or the "job that will be." "God's prescriptive will" deals with the kind of person he wants us to be and the way we should live regardless of the "specific job" or the "specific anything." Until we are more wrapped up in having our lives correspond to "God's prescriptive will" than we are in the "specifics," we will struggle greatly in the "in between" times of our lives.
Notice two very important words the Psalmist utters to God in regard to "the everlasting way" (God's prescriptive will): "lead me." God’s prescriptive will (one aspect of his leading) must become the "foundation" of our lives so that we are in the best possible spot to be led by God in other ways as we seek his will for our lives.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, help me to focus on you, the present, and the overall desires and intentions you have prescribed in your Word for my life. Forgive me for the ways I have gotten wrapped up in the wrong things in regard to this whole business of knowing your will for my life. Thank you for the amazing extent to which you have gone to bring about the absolute best outcome for my life. Amen!
Posted on Mon, May 18, 2020
by Ken Hart