III. THE MEANS OF KNOWING THE WILL OF GOD
How does God show us His will? By what means do we come to know God’s will? Basically, there are five categories by which we may know His will.
First, we need to know God’s will through His creation of all things, including matter, nature, and mankind. Revelation 4:11 says that all things were created according to His will. Everything that exists in the universe speaks forth a measure of God’s will. All things in heaven and on earth are certain components which enable us to know the will of God. Therefore, to know God’s will, we must take note of all things which He created in the universe. They are like a book for us to study; hence, we must search out and discover why God needed to create all things in heaven and on earth. What was His purpose in creating man? Why is the human race distributed as it is on the earth? If we thoroughly study the matter of creation, the magnitude of God’s will in this universe will be understood to a certain degree.
Examples of this aspect can be found in the Old Testament. There people learned a part of God’s plan through all things which He created. Psalm 8 is a very good example. This Psalm, which is a spiritual Psalm, covers the creation, the present age, and the kingdom. The Lord Jesus quoted this Psalm in Matthew 21:16, and it is quoted again in Hebrews 2. The writer was inspired to write this Psalm while he was observing heaven and earth. As he considered the heavens, the work of God’s fingers, and the moon and stars that He ordained, he praised the Lord: “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth; who has set thy glory upon the heavens.” He saw the heavens speaking forth the glory of God and the earth telling the sweetness of His name. Through the means of creation he knew God and His will regarding the whole earth.
In another instance, the psalmist of Psalm 19 discovered that although this universe uttered “no speech and no words, yet their voice is heard” (v. 3, Sept.). Their line is gone out through all the earth and their language to the end of the world. Therefore, the heavens do declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. This shows how the psalmist knew the will of God through His creation.
If we desire to understand God’s will, we cannot neglect His creation. We must be enlarged to such an extent that we recognize God speaking to us through all things. Everyone who loves God and pursues after Him must at some time be brought to the place where he can comprehend God’s will in the universe. First, such a comprehension of creation will enlarge his heart. The universe will enlarge him to become a universal man. Thus, he can read the will of God from a high and lofty ground and from eternity. Second, he will not be concerned about matters of minute importance. He will not argue with others for the sake of making a dollar in business, nor will he neglect God’s work in the entire earth by being overly concerned about the situation and need in his own local church. He will indeed be able to say as the writer in Psalm 8, “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” Every day he will labor faithfully on behalf of his local church, yet his heart will be enlarged to include the burden of all the churches on earth. Third, in his concern for the work and move of the Lord, he can easily be led anytime and anywhere—the whole earth is his field, and all souls are the object of his work. He can be led to show concern for the church far away as well as for the church nearby. The Lord’s work in the whole earth has become the goal of his concern.
We regret to say that today many brothers and sisters have never read the creation of God in order to know God’s will. Meanwhile, they give daily attention to the occurrences in their own little circles. They themselves are their own universe, their all. They are completely trapped in themselves. Therefore, whenever they seek to understand the will of God, their little self is their only starting point and base. What they ask is: Should I teach in a certain school? Should I consider marrying a certain sister? Should I take the train or the plane to travel somewhere? Should I see a certain doctor or go to a certain hospital regarding my ailment? All day long God’s children inquire about God’s will concerning such matters of daily living. Actually, these are not worth being listed under the category of the will of God. They are not God’s will. Does God’s will deal with our eating and clothing, our marriage and occupation, our healing and peaceful living? If our eyes have been opened by the Lord, we will see that our common talk about the will of God has nothing to do with God Himself. It is certainly not the will of God that is mentioned in the Bible.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)