For all of you that enjoy Bible trivia, the middle Scripture of the Bible is this verse, Psalm 118:8 . It’s the very center point of God’s Word. So was it placed there by chance or divinely inspired? Many times I’ve prayed to find God’s perfect plan and purpose in my life…to be in the very center of His Will. For I know that’s the safest and very best place to be. And if I look at the fundamental truths in this verse, it makes that search easier. Where am I placing my faith and trust…whose promises am I putting stock in…and where really does my confidence lie? If it’s in man, I’m going to be disappointed…but if my trust is in the Lord, I will find His ultimate plan and purpose for my life.
What goes around, comes around…or better yet, you look for trouble, and it’ll find you. Or elsewhere, in Psalm 7:16 to paraphrase, “The trouble you cause will return back to you…the violence you create will come down on your head.” But if we seek what is good and morally right, we will receive favor…favor before God…and favor before men. And as we seek good, not only are we changed, but what we seek changes…for we are aligning ourselves with the Holy Spirit and seeking God’s Will, not our own.
Solomon asked God for a discerning heart and the wisdom to distinguish between right and wrong and God was pleased. (I Kings 3:9-10) For Solomon wasn’t asking for the superficial or trivial, or things that had no eternal significance…he was asking for wisdom. I once worked with a Doctor who started calling me Prudence. When I asked why, he stated it was how I conducted myself dealing with patients and that he appreciated my common sense and prudent approach. When you ask God for wisdom, understanding, discretion, and His Will in your life… He happily will oblige. (James 1:5)
The Lord is rather emphatic here…stop doing things that are contrary to His will. Rather, practice what is morally good. So just how do we learn to do right? The Bible tells us that the starting point of knowledge is the fear of the Lord…so accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior is that first step. We then start the journey of learning who Jesus is…discovering the plan and purpose He has for us…and adding to our knowledge with daily Bible study and application. Learning to do right is a life-long study of becoming more like Jesus every day.
No matter how spiritually strong we are, anyone of us can stray from the will of God. Here Simon Peter, nicknamed the Rock, of which Jesus had said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church,” caved under man’s pressure. Peter had been fellowshipping with Christian Gentiles until a group of Jews showed up and started pressuring him to stop. He was afraid that his reputation and standing might be questioned…fearful of what they might think of him…so he separated himself from the Gentiles…taking everyone with him, including Barnabas. Isaiah 51:12-13 asks this question, “Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your Maker?” It’s a dangerous slippery slope when we start fearing man rather than God…afraid of what people may think of us rather than doing God’s will. Peer pressure can be tremendous, for we all want to fit in and be liked…but when it causes us to deviate from God’s plan…it effects everyone around us.
How many times have I put God in a little box…expecting Him to behave in a certain manner, showing up and fulfilling His duties, only to see Him move in a completely unexpected and surprising way. That’s when all my welled planned out intentions are blown out of the water and I have to admit again…He is God and I am not. God’s Will isn’t up to me, nor do I have any control over it. It’s God that chooses when, where and how to move…not me. My job is only to be flexible and submissive when He throws me a curve ball.
God is the source of all truth… and the starting point of gaining this knowledge is the fear of the Lord. And as we learn to trust God, the closer we are drawn to Him and His love. Finally, as He shepherds us, we are lead to safe ground…a stable and unchanging foundation where we can build our life and hope upon.