This week’s study is titled “God Speaks Through Circumstances”. As I began the study, I saw the title for the week, then the title for the day and immediately thought it was going to be about my job.
Wrong. The study today was about the circumstances around me and seeing God at work in them. The first sentence I underlined today was “When God speaks through your circumstances, it can dramatically affect what you are doing, thinking or feeling.” That is true regardless of how you view your current circumstances, either good or bad.
I thought that Blackaby’s insight on John 5:2-9 was interesting. This is the scene where Jesus was at the pool of Bethesda, where a great number of physically impaired people had gathered hoping to be cured by the waters. Jesus picked just one man to heal. Why?
John 5:19-20 So Jesus answered them,ï»¿ï»¿ “I tell you the solemn truth,ï»¿ the Son can do nothing on his own initiative,ï»¿ but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Fatherï»¿ï»¿ does, the Son does likewise.ï»¿ For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he does, and will show him greater deeds than these, so that you will be amazed.
As Blackaby points out, Jesus did nothing without first being shown what to do by the Father. His point is that it doesn’t require much guesswork to look around me and see what it is that God wants me to do in any given circumstance. There should be no confusion â€“ if there is, it isn’t something that God wants me to do. Will it glorify or honor God? That is really the only criteria.
But how am I supposed to recognize God at work? For me, and I suspect for most, it comes as restlessness or a certain something that keeps popping into my mind unexpectedly. Much like in Psych 101 where we were taught about selective perception, how when something gets in your mind, you notice things related to it all around you.
Another point he took up today was that I need to adjust my life to the circumstances that God is putting me in. Although he didn’t mention it in his text, I think that this is the anti-thesis of secular self-help material. Secular self-help tells me to change my circumstances, to make them fit me. Being filled with the Holy Spirit means that I should change me, not my circumstances. Adjust me to God’s will not try futilely to adjust God’s will to me.
Our memory verse for this week is Romans 8:28, one of the most mis-used, mis-quoted verses in the whole Bible. It is been condensed in the secular world to “It’s all good”. Believers and unbelievers use this verse incorrectly, always forgetting the stipulations attached to it. So I’ll bold those parts that most leave off, just so I can remember them.
And we know that all things work togetherï»¿ï»¿ for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose
8:28. Believers, Paul began, know of sanctificationâ€™s certainty, and that knowledge is gained by spiritual perception. Christians know intuitively (oidamen)â€”though they may not always fully understand and sense it experientiallyâ€”that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him (lit., â€œto the ones who love God He works all things together unto goodâ€). The things themselves may not be good, but God harmonizes them together for believersâ€™ ultimate good, because His goal is to bring them to perfection in His presence (cf. Eph. 1:4; 5:27; Col. 1:22; Jude 24). Even adversities and afflictions contribute to that end. The active voice present tense of the verb synergei (â€œHe works togetherâ€) emphasizes that this is a continuing activity of God. And His working is on behalf of â€œthose who love Him,â€ who are further identified as the ones who have been called according to His purpose. It is significant that a believerâ€™s love for God follows Godâ€™s calling of him and is undoubtedly the product of the indwelling Holy Spirit (cf. Rom. 5:5; 1 John 4:19). The word for â€œpurposeâ€ is prothesin, Godâ€™s plan (Paul used the same word in Rom. 9:11; Eph. 1:11; 3:11). â€œCalledâ€ means more than being invited to receive Christ; it means to be summoned to and given salvation (cf. Rom. 1:6; 8:30).
Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 2:473