Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King

B. Childress
May 05 2013

But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.    
(John 3:21)

My plan will take place, and I will do all My will…Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about.  I have planned it; I will
also do it.
 (Isaiah 46:10-11)


When we experience God’s invitation to join Him, some people insist on seeing some kind of sign.  In essence they are
saying: “Lord, prove to me this is You, and then I will obey.”  When Moses stood before the burning bush and received
his invitation to join God in His great work, God promised to affirm the invitation in due time.  He said, “This will be the
sign to you that I have sent you: when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will all worship God at this mountain”
(Exodus 3:12).  In other words: “Moses, you obey, and I will deliver Israel through you.  You will come to know Me as your
deliverer, and you will stand on this mountain and worship Me.”

God’s affirmation that He had sent Moses would come
after Moses obeyed, not before.  This is most frequently the case
in Scripture.  The affirmation comes after the obedience.  When Jesus invited Peter to get out of the boat to walk on the
water, He did not assure Peter he would stay afloat!  The Lord simply said, “Come!” (Matthew 14:28).  Peter wouldn’t
know if he could walk on the water until he took his first step.

Because you love God, obey Him.  Then you will so fellowship with Him that you will come to know Him intimately.  His
work through you to accomplish God-sized assignments will be a joyous time for you!


Suppose you sense the call of God to a task, a place, or a particular ministry, and when you set about to do it,
everything goes wrong.  Often people say, “Well, I guess that wasn’t God’s will.”

Since God calls you into a relationship with Him, be careful how you interpret your circumstances.  Many times, we jump
to a conclusion that God is moving us in a particular direction.  We make up our minds about what He is doing and when
He is going to do it, according to what seems logical to us.  We start following the logic of our own reasoning, but then
nothing seems to work out.  We have a tendency to neglect our relationship with God and take things into our own
hands, but don’t do that.

Usually, when God calls or gives you a direction, His call is not the thing He wants you to do.  He is telling you what He is
about to do where you are.  For example, examine this record of the apostle Paul’s ministry:

    They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and were prevented by the Holy Spirit from speaking the
    message in the province of Asia.  When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus
    did not allow them.  So, bypassing Mysia, they came down to Troas.  During the night a vision appeared to Paul: a
    Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him, “Cross over to Macedonia and help us!”  After he had seen
    the vision, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to evangelize
    them.  (Acts 16:6-10)

God had already told Paul He would reach the Gentiles through him, but God – not Paul – would do the saving.  Paul
started in one direction, and the Spirit stopped him (see Acts 16:6-10).  Then he began in another.  Again, the Spirit
prevented him.  What was God’s original plan?  To reach the Gentiles.  What was Paul’s problem?  He was trying to
figure out what to do, and the “doors” of opportunity seemed to close.  In fact, God was saying, “Listen to me, Paul.  Go
and sit in Troas until I tell you where to go.”

While he was in Asia Minor, in the city of Troas, Paul received a vision to go to Macedonia and help the people there.  
God’s plan was to carry the gospel westward toward Greece and Rome.  He was at work in Macedonia and wanted Paul
to join Him in that place.

When you begin to follow what you sense God wants you to do and circumstances seem to close the door of
opportunity, go back to the Lord and clarify what God said.  Better yet, always try to make sure on the front end exactly
what God is saying.  Remember, He is not calling you primarily to a task but to a relationship.  Through that relationship,
He will accomplish His purposes through your life.

Moses had to re-check God’s directions constantly.  He obeyed God, spoke to Pharaoh, and everything went wrong, but
Moses didn’t quit.  He went back to the Lord to clarify what was happening.

God began to give him directions about the plagues He would bring on Egypt.  Pharaoh seemed to be getting more and
more obstinate.  Moses daily sought God’s directions and obeyed them.  Later, Moses could look back and see God’s
handiwork in all that took place.  God delivered Israel from the Egyptians in such a way that Israel, Egypt, and the
surrounding nations knew God had done it.  Pharaoh’s stubbornness was not a sign that Moses misunderstood God’s
directives.  Rather, it was the way God performed an even greater work than Moses could have imagined.


I talked with a couple who said God was inviting them to Saskatoon to do student work.  They initiated the process for
assignment as missionaries, and the mission board turned them down.  Their conclusion was: “We made a mistake.”

I advised them not to jump to that conclusion but to go back and recall what God said when they sensed His call.  They
were canceling the whole plan of God because one detail did not work out as they thought it should.  I asked them to
spend time confirming God’s will.  Was He calling them to missions?  Was He calling them to student work?  Was He
calling them to Canada?

Then I said, “Keep that sense of call in place, but watch to see how the God who is speaking is going to implement what
He said.  When God speaks a word of direction, He will bring it to pass.  Just be careful you do not let circumstances
cancel what God said.”

This couple had to go to God and be sure they understood His directives.  Perhaps He had a different city in mind for
them.  He may have wanted them to secure a different means of financial support.  Or He may have wanted more time to
prepare them for the assignment.  As they awaited confirmation from God, I advised them to keep doing all they knew in
obedience to Him.

If you’re in a situation like this, what should you do?

  1. Clarify what God said, and identify what may have been your “additions” to what He said.
  2. Keep in place what God has said.
  3. Let Him work out the details in His timing.
  4. Do all you know to do.
  5. Wait on the Lord until He tells you what to do next.

God is all-powerful.  He can change your circumstances in a moment.  What takes longer is for Him to work in our lives
so we are prepared to be of service to Him.  As this couple earnestly sought God’s guidance and surrendered their wills
fully to Him, God did guide them.  They ultimately knew God was not leading them to Canada although in their hearts
they had wanted to come.  Instead, God led them in a different direction of ministry and has used their lives significantly
ever since.  God has also allowed them to make an important contribution to the work in Canada over the years as a
result of the ministry positions they have held.


Does God seem to be working slowly in your life?  Jesus had been with His disciples about three years when He said: “I
still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now.  When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all
the truth.  For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears.  He will also declare to you what is to
come” (John 16:12-13).

Jesus had more He wanted to teach the disciples, but they were unprepared to receive it.  Jesus knew, however, that the
Holy Spirit would guide these disciples into truth on God’s timetable.

You may be saying, “God, hurry up and make me mature.”  Perhaps you are asking God to give you a new and larger
assignment.  But are you ready for it?  God will lead you in His truth as you respond in obedience, step by step.  If you
feel God is slow to work in your life, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I responding to all God is presently leading me to do?
  2. Have I obeyed all I already know to be His will?
  3. Do I really believe He loves me and will always do what is best in my life?
  4. Am I willing to wait patiently on His timing and obey everything I know to do in the meantime?

Grass that is here today and gone tomorrow does not require much time to mature.  A giant oak tree that lasts for
generations requires much more time to grow strong.  God is concerned about your life through eternity.  Allow Him to
take all the time He wants to shape you for His purposes.  Larger assignments may require longer periods of preparation.


The Holy Spirit will never mislead you about the Father’s will.  In order that you not miss the purpose God has for you, He
has given His Spirit to guide you according to His will.  The Spirit also
enables you to do God’s will.  You are completely
dependent on God for the knowledge and for the ability to achieve His purposes.  You must be patient and wait until you
hear a word from God about His will and His ways.

Jesus is our model.  He never failed to know and do His Father’s will.  Everything the Father proposed to do through His
life, the Lord Jesus did.  Thus, Jesus could claim at the end of His life that He had completed everything His Father had
given Him to do (see John 17:4).

What was the key to Jesus’ perfect obedience?  He was always rightly related to the Father.  If you walk in a consistent
relationship with God, then you should never come to a time that you do not know His will.  There should never be a
situation in which you are not enabled by the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s will.

In Jesus, we have the picture of a perfect love relationship with the Father.  Jesus consistently lived out that
relationship.  You and I quickly conclude that we are a long way from that, but Christ is fully present in us to help us know
and do God’s will (see Galatians 2:20).  We need to adjust our lives to God and faithfully live out that relationship with
absolute dependence on Him.  He will never fail to draw us into the middle of His purpose and enable us to do it – as He
did for people throughout Scripture.

Moses.  Only through obedience did Moses begin to experience the full nature of God.  We see a pattern of God
speaking, Moses obeying, and God accomplishing what He purposed to do:

  • God invited Moses to join Him in what He was doing to deliver Israel.
  • God told Moses what to do.
  • Moses obeyed.
  • God delivered the Israelites from captivity in Egypt as He had promised.
  • Moses and those around him came to know God more intimately.

When the people stood between the Red Sea and the oncoming Egyptian army, God told Moses to hold his staff over
the sea and Moses obeyed.  God parted the sea and the people crossed on dry ground (Exodus 14:1-25).  The Miriam
led the people in a hymn of praise describing their new understanding of God.

When the people were thirsty and had no water to drink, they complained to Moses.  God told Moses to strike a rock with
the staff.  Moses obeyed and God caused water to flow from the rock (Exodus 17:1-7).  Whenever Moses obeyed what
God told him to do, he and the people of Israel experienced the awesome power of God at work.

People of Faith. When Noah obeyed, God preserved his family and repopulated the earth.  When Abraham obeyed,
God gave him a son and built a nation.  When David obeyed, God made him a king and greatly increased the power and
prosperity of Israel.  When Elijah obeyed, God displayed His astounding power by sending down fire from heaven.  
These people of faith came to know God by experience when they obeyed Him, and He accomplished His work through

The Disciples.  Luke records a beautiful experience of Jesus’ disciples.  The Lord invited seventy of His followers to
join Him in the Father’s work.  Jesus gave these people specific directions, telling them how to travel, what to preach,
how to respond to receptive listeners, and how to handle rejection.  They obeyed Him and experienced God working
through them to heal people and cast out demons.  Jesus praised the Father for revealing Himself to these followers
(see Luke 10:21-22).  Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said, “The eyes that see the things you see are blessed!  
For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see the things you see yet didn’t see them; to hear the things you
hear yet didn’t hear them” (Luke10:23-24).

These disciples were blessed.  They had been chosen by God to be involved in His work.  What they saw, heard, and
came to know about God was something even prophets and kings longed to experience but didn’t.

You, too, will be blessed when God does a special, God-sized work through you.  You will come to know Him in a way
that brings joy to your life.  When others see you experience God that way, they will want to know how they, too, can
experience God as you do.  So be prepared to point them to God.

If you are obedient, God will accomplish remarkable things through your life.  You’ll want to declare the wonderful deeds
of the Lord, but you’ll need to be careful that any testimony about what God has done gives glory to Him.  Pride may
cause you to want to tell your experience because it makes you feel important.  However, you must avoid any sense of
pride.  “The one who boasts must boast in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:31).


Scripture shows us that when God did something through an obedient person or people, they came to know Him in new
and more intimate ways.  God revealed His name to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14).  Jesus expressed Himself to
His disciples by saying:

  • “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35)

  • “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)

  • “I am the door.” (John 10:9)

  • “I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11)

  • “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)

  • “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)

  • “I am the true vine.” (John 15:1)

Jesus identified Himself with the I AM of the Old Testament.  Knowing and experiencing Jesus in these ways requires that
you trust Him.  For instance, when He says, “I am the way,” what you do next will determine if you come to experience
Him as “the way” in your own life.  When you believe Him, adjust your life to Him, and obey what He says, you come to
know and experience Him as “the way.”  This is true about everything God reveals to you.  As you follow Him obediently,
He works in and through you to reveal Himself to you and to those around you.


EXPERIENCING GOD, by Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King, Copyright 2008, B&H Publishing Group.