God has two kinds of will: a sovereign will and a will of command. Sovereign will: having supreme authority or power over everything as the creator of the universe. God’s sovereign will has nothing to do with our will.
I Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
By God’s sovereign will he does what he wants without asking us because everything is in his control. Peter said Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the people determined to do what they did by God’s decree or order.
Acts 4:25-28…David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth… gathered together against the Lord…For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate…and the people…For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Daniel told king Nebuchadnezzar to stop his sins so peace might be extended. When the king wouldn’t and was lifted up in pride, God’s voice from heaven declared his judgment against the king. Nebuchadnezzar ate grass in a field like a cow, had hair like an eagle’s feathers and claws like a bird’s. It took 7 years for his understanding to return. Then the king praised the God of heaven, saying that God does what he does and no one can prevent what he does.
Daniel 4:27-36 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable…break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities… if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace…The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built …by the might of my power, and for…my majesty? While the word was in the king’s mouth…voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar…The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field… seven times shall pass…until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled…he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew…his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. And at the end…I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned…I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him… whose dominion is an everlasting dominion…he doeth according to his will…among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say…What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned…honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counselors…sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
Today it’s the same, God is able to humble or abase those who get lifted up in pride.
Daniel 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
God also has a will of his command. We choose whether we will of command obey his will or not. He won’t force anyone to serve him and no one can make you serve God. God won’t do anything that denies his character which is holy. God’s will is for us to be holy. We must be holy and do his will if we want to make it to heaven.
I Peter 1:14-16 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
God can’t deny or contradict himself. He won’t fail in his promises to us if we do his will faithfully. He can’t forgive us unless payment is made for our sins. We have to repent, ask forgiveness, and have Jesus’ blood applied to take away our sins. He won’t force his love on us. We have to want it by our free will. God tries to get people’s attention by giving hardship. He uses things like earthquake, floods, fires, and drought. People won’t turn even in hard situations if they’re set to do their own will.
Amos 4:7-12 And also I have withholden the rain…I caused it to rain upon one city, and…not to rain upon another…the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned…I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens…increased, the palmerworm devoured them…I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses…made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned…have overthrown some…as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah… yet have ye not returned…
Only those who are doing the will of God will go to heaven. To do God’s will, we must live a holy life or we’ll be like the ones Jesus said who say, “Lord, Lord.” We won’t enter the kingdom of heaven and he’ll tell us to depart.
Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father…Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?…cast out devils? …done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Cyrus wasn’t saved but God stirred his heart to build the temple in Jerusalem and to help God’s people. God stirred the king’s heart to strengthen the hands of those who did the work at the house of God.
Ezra 1:1-2 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by…Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus…that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom…Thus saith Cyrus king…The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and…charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem…
Ezra 6:22 And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the Lord had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
God stirred Artaxerxes to command the people to do as the priests said God commanded. The king said to quickly execute the judgments by death, banishment, confiscation of goods, or imprisonment. We choose if we obey God’s sovereign will.
Ezra 7:21-26…I Artaxerxes the king…decree to all the treasurers…beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest…require …it be done speedily…Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done…for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king…And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God…set magistrates and judges, which may judge …beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. And whosoever will not do the law…let judgment be executed speedily…whether…death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.
God makes situations in people’s lives to help them turn to him. God makes every child born according to his will; whether smart, foolish, blind, having sight, deaf or able to hear. He made us like we are and we need to be obedient. Moses was well educated in Egypt but after he was a shepherd 40 years, said he couldn’t speak well. God said he made Moses’ mouth.
Exodus 4:10-11 And Moses said…Lord, I am not eloquent…but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said…Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?
As the disciples traveled across the sea of Galilee, God made a storm with great wind and waves but Jesus made it calm. He has the same power today. We need Jesus by our side day and night so we can be what God wants us to be.
Mark 4:35-41…Let us pass over unto the other side…And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was…asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say…Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose…said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said…Why are ye so fearful?…said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
We have to be humble, submissive, and teachable so we can do God’s will – so he can talk to us and direct us by his will.
Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
Sometimes God asks us to do something we don’t want to do. David prayed God would teach him to do his will. If we haven’t completely submitted our mind and will to God, we won’t be able to do his will. Our mind can’t be conformed to the world but must be renewed every day to prove the perfect will of God. Only those doing God’s will make it to heaven.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Sometimes God’s will is to let us suffer wrongfully so he can see how we act in hard times, if you will get bitter or retaliate. Jesus felt like God had left him when he was on the cross, but he endured for God’s glory and our salvation. We may also feel forsaken by God when we suffer. Are you willing to sacrifice yourself so God can get glory?
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)