When it comes to receiving from God, the will of God must be known before faith can be released. Everything hinges on knowing what we believe and believing what we know is the will of God. In Matthew 21, Jesus gave us valuable information about receiving through faith.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this [which is done] to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:21-22)
When it comes to the prayer of petition, if a person doesnt know the will of God concerning their request, they cant possibly pray the prayer of faith concerning that matter. Faith comes from hearing and knowing the will of God. If there is a question concerning Gods will, your faith will always stop at the question mark. There are several instances in Jesus ministry where everyone in the multitude who touched Jesus was healed. Then in other places everyone that Jesus touched received their healing. But in Mark chapter 1:40-42, we have a classic example of how faith stops at the question mark.
And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.
The leper had great faith that Jesus could make him clean. But the phrase, If thou wilt reveals that he had a question as to whether He would or not. Jesus being moved with compassion, laid His hands on him, but nothing happened. The lepers faith could go no further than his knowledge of this matter. But as soon as Jesus revealed His will concerning the matter the leper received his healing. So you can see how important it is to know the will of God. Sometimes it is a matter of life or death. Sometimes, especially in the Old Testament, you find statements which are somewhat confusing. When the scribes copied the scriptures, they would often write their own ideas and thoughts in the margins. Sometimes these were put into the scripture, but most of the time they were in italics.
Old Testament Mentality
Dr. Robert Youngs Analytical Concordance states; The active voice in the Hebrew many times only gives permission. There are places in the Old Testament where it was translated in a causative sense when God only permitted certain events to happen. For instance I Samuel 16:14-- But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. Why did God permit it an evil spirit to come upon King Saul? Because Saul permitted it to happen. Dont blame God, because He doesnt have an evil spirit. Some say that God allowed Adam to sin. But actually He did everything he could do to stop him when he told him not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of blessing and calamity. The day thou eatest thereof, thou shall surely die (Genesis 2:17). God had given man authority over the earth and by acting on his own will he disobeyed
God. There is a great difference in what God permits and what he commits. But in the Old Testament, the Hebrew mind didnt see it that way. In their way of thinking, If God permitted, he committed it and they were not interested in secondary causes. It was not Gods will for David to number Israel by counting the number of fighting men. Yet, in 2 Samuel the scripture seems to say that God moved him to number Israel. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel and he moved David against them to say, Go number Israel and Judah. (2 Samuel 24:1) If God told him not to do it and then God moved him to do it, there is something wrong with this picture. The way that sentence is written it sounds like God did it. But, it wasnt God at all. 1 Chronicles 21 plainly states that Satan moved David to go number Israel. Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1) The writers reasoning seemed to be if God permitted David to do it, then God did it.But God is always consistent with His Word for it makes up His will. In Isaiah we have another classic example of this attitude or mentality.
And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:9-10)
This is a hard saying. Is it really saying God closed their eyes so they couldnt see, and their ears so they couldnt hear to be converted and healed? We must remember how this is expressed in the way they perceived Gods dealing with Israel. It could be that they understood what they were saying, but so many times the reader doesnt and it brings confusion and questions. You will get a distorted image of God if you dont understand these statements. How do we know whats right? What should we do when we find a scripture like this which is contrary to what we know about God and is inconsistent with His character? The first thing we should do is go to the New Testament and read the Red Print. Jesus said he that hath seen me hath seen the Father. We know that He only spoke what the Father told him to say (John 12:49). So, to find the absolute final
authority of the matter, we should find out what Jesus said about it. There are a few places where even New Testament writers quote from the Old Testament causing this mentality to bleed over into the gospels. An example is found in John 12 where the writer quotes Isaiah.
Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [their] eyes, nor understand with [their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. (John 12:39-40)
John is quoting Isaiah 6:9-10. It sounds like he is convinced that God blinded their eyes because thats the way it reads in Isaiah. However, the truth comes out in Matthew 13, after Jesus had given the parable of the sower. The disciples asked why He spoke to them in parables? The answer is given in verses 11-14:
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they
hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
For this peoples heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
The King James renders Isaiah 6:9 make the heart of this people fat, make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes. But Jesus said the peoples heart is waxed gross (stupid), their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed. (Matthew 13:15) They didnt want to know the truth. The reason he was speaking in parables was because they had already closed their eyes to the truth and didnt have ears that were willing to hear. Notice the compassion in Jesus statement (allow me to paraphrase): If they would just open their eyes to the truth and listen with their ears; the truth would change their hearts, then they would understand and be converted, and I would heal them. He was willing to heal them but couldnt because their eyes were closed to the truth and their
rebellious hearts were against Gods Word.
Look for the Intent of God's Word
The message in Isaiah 6 was written in a way that doesnt convey to us the real intent of Gods message. But in Matthew 13, Jesus removed any question about the true intent of the words of Isaiah 6:9. Now lets look at another confirmation concerning this matter by examining a few of
Pauls statements concerning the gospel he preached.
I certify you brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)
It is then a reasonable assumption that if he received his revelation from Jesus, he should have been preaching the same message Jesus preached concerning these prophetic utterances found in Isaiah 6:9. Paul alludes to this same scripture in Acts 28:25-27:
Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
This is almost word for word what Jesus said. There is no doubt they both conveyed the true intent of Gods message to Israel. Many things in the Old Testament are misunderstood because they were expressed in a causative sense, which does not make clear the intent of the message. In I Samuel 16:14 we find another difficult passage:
But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.
Here again we must take into account the Old Testament mentality: (If God permits it, He commits it.) But we know God doesnt have an evil spirit. Verse 21 reveals that the evil spirit was driven out by the anointing of God. This is proof enough that the evil spirit wasnt from God. The Hebrew says that it was a melancholy spirit. Many times when people are under conviction, they rebel against the work of the Holy Spirit and they get worse. The Holy Spirit was dealing with Saul and being rebellious, he yielded to an evil spirit. Here again we have an example of something God allowed because Saul himself allowed the evil spirit to affect him. It was expressed in a way that does not reveal the true intent of the meaning for us today. A thorough study of Gods Word will reveal that God does not have and never has had an evil spirit. Yet He will allow you to have one, if you are in rebellion and choose to yield to an evil spirit. It seems that God has no choice but to allow what you allow (see Genesis 1:26-28).
Did God Create Darkness?
Many have asked, What about Isaiah 45:7, I form the light, and create darkness? The truth is that God created the earth to rotate on its axis so that it is dark on the other side of the earth and light on this side, but He did not create evil darkness. How do we know that he didnt? I John 1:5 reveals that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. Since God is light, how could He create darkness? We know that darkness is the absence of light. To create darkness God would have to put Himself out. Where the ultimate light source exists there can be no darkness. Isaiah 45:7 also says, I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these [things]. Several things could have been involved here. Remember the mentality: If God permits it, he commits it. God permits evil only in the sense that He doesnt always keep it from happening. He has to allow it because of mans choice in the Garden of Eden. Adam chose the knowledge of blessing and calamity. He even had a legal right (yet not a moral right) to make the wrong choice because God had given him dominion.
In Genesis 1:31, God saw everything that He had made, and it was very good revealing that He made nothing evil. Sometimes the scriptures refer to punishment or judgment as evil. You will notice in the Bible before the days of grace, God did at times bring severe judgment on His people. The writers sometimes alluded to that judgment as evil from the Lord, when it was actually a just recompense of reward. It was called evil because it certainly wasnt good news to the wicked (see Jeremiah 18:8-11). God didnt create evil, but He had to allow it because man joined up with it
when he sinned. There is a scripture in Isaiah 3 which alludes to the recompense of reward which will come to both the wicked and the righteous.
The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! For they have rewarded evil unto themselves. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. (Isaiah 3:9-11)
James 1:13 says: Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. If God created evil, then He in effect has tempted every man. But the scripture states: But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts and enticed. If there was no evil, no one could lust after it because it would be non-existent.
James 1:17 gives more insight about Gods character. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Notice that God is not called the Father of darkness, but the Father of lights. If he created darkness, why isnt he referred to as the Father of light and darkness? The answer is obvious. IN HIM IS NO VARIABLENESS NEITHER SHADOW OF TURNING FROM THAT WHICH IS GOOD AND PERFECT. God did not create evil, but rather permitted it only because Adam and Eve chose it in the garden. They chose the knowledge of blessing and calamity and evil is what brings calamity.
The good news is that Jesus gives us the dividing line of the Bible in John 10:10, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have (it) more abundantly. John said that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth was given by Jesus Christ, (John 1:17). Jesus was full of grace and truth. Gods Word is truth. So, when questions surface in your study of the Bible which seems to be inconsistent with other parts of Gods Word, dont be so quick to accept what it seems to imply without a thorough search for the true intent of the scripture. Remember Jesus said:
If ye continue in my word, (then) are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John
Here is the bottom line of this whole matter. The knowledge of the true intent of Gods Word will remove question marks which has hindered your faith in days past. The knowledge of that truth will cause you to rise up in faith and possess what God has provided for you through His exceedingly great precious promises.
If there is a question concerning Gods will, your faith will always stop at the question mark.
Copyright 2004 by Charles Capps (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)
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