May 27, 2015

Divine Direction, Part 1

I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the LORD will tell me to say and what answer He will give to my complaint. The LORD gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance.” Habakkuk 2:1-2 (TEV)

The most common question I’m asked as a Pastor is, “How can I know the will of God for my life?” There’s an obscure character in the Old Testament who offers us five practical and proven principles for understanding God’s direction in our lives. His name is Habakkuk. His name may seem as strange to us as the direction he received from God. It didn’t seem to make sense; so, he questioned God, and God answered. Habakkuk’s example provides us with spiritual insight for finding God’s will. I summarized each step in one word to help me remember.

Step One:  Withdraw: Get alone with God  Habakkuk said, “I will climb my watchtower…” Habakkuk’s watchtower was his place of solitude, a sanctuary, a quiet place where he could seek God and listen for His voice. If I am to know the will of God in my life, I must get alone with God so that I can remove the distractions and chatter of other voices and actively listen for the voice of God speaking to me.

Step Two: Wait: Listen for God’s answerHabakkuk said, “I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the Lord will tell me to say and what answer He will give to my complaint.” Waiting on God to answer can be among the most challenging of all these steps. Who likes to wait? But, there are a couple of things we can do while we’re waiting that will help make this step easier. While I’m waiting, I need to recognize that God cares about the details of my life. It’s easy to get impatient and begin to wonder if God really cares. Jesus let us know how much God cares about, even, the most insignificant details of our lives in His Sermon on the Mount. He said,

So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV) 

Another thing I can do while I’m waiting is to ask God a specific question. Sometimes, the reason our Christian experience seems so vague and general is because we don’t ask God anything specific. General prayers get general answers. If you want your faith to be dynamic, ask specific questions. For anything to become dynamic, it must first be specific. In James, the Bible says,

If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him; He will not resent it. James 1:5 (LB)

I find that the best time of the day for directing my specific questions to God is in the morning. The Psalmist said,

In the morning, O LORD, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

Do you have a specific time and place where you get alone with God and seek His counsel? Is it a priority in your life to spend time alone with God before you begin your day? If not, I want to challenge you to set aside some time each morning with God. No cell phone, no computer, no TV or radio, nothing but your Bible and, maybe, a journal to take some notes. Listening takes concentration. As you wait before God, know that He cares about you. There’s nothing too great for His power or too small for His concern. Wait in expectation that He wants to speak to you. We’ll look at what else Habakkuk did tomorrow. Start here. Withdraw – get alone with God and Wait – Listen for God to answer.