In this final study on this topic, Derek talks about our need for resting, and letting God choose what is best for us. Instead of worrying and being anxious we need to learn to trust our heavenly Father to take care of us, as He has said He would. If we truly want God’s best, we will leave these choices to Him.
It’s good to be with you again, as we draw near to the close of another week.
Today I’ll continue and complete the theme that I’ve been following for the past two weeks, “If You Want God’s Best...” I do trust you found it helpful and inspiring and if so, please let me hear from you. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please, take time to write, even if it’s only a brief personal note. Now, back to our theme, “If You Want God’s Best...”
In my previous talks on this theme, I’ve shared with you seven different ways in which it’s appropriate to complete that uncompleted sentence, “If you want God’s best...” In other words, seven things that you need to do, seven things you need to cultivate in your life if you truly decide that you want God’s best. And I’ll briefly go through those seven things for the last time, as I begin my closing talk on this theme.
1. If you want God’s best, want God’s best. Don’t settle for less.
2. If you want God’s best, focus on Jesus.
3. If you want God’s best, meditate in God’s Word.
4. If you want God’s best, make friends with the Holy Spirit.
5. If you want God’s best, hear and obey God’s voice promptly.
6. If you want God’s best, be careful how and what you hear.
7. If you want God’s best, be more concerned with the eternal than the temporal or the temporary. Make sure your priorities are right.
Today, I’m going to share with you just one more thing that it’s important for you to do if you want God’s best and that is: ...let God choose for you. Let me give you the complete sentence: If you want God’s best, let God chose for you.
In this connection, I’ve been deeply impressed by a statement made by John the Baptist, recorded in John, chapter 3, verse 27, where it says this:
“John [that’s John the Baptist] answered and said, ‘A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.’”
The situation was that John the Baptist’s disciples were reporting to him that the one whom he declared to be the Messiah was getting more disciples than John and they were expecting that somehow John would get upset and uptight about this but he said, “So what? A man can receive nothing unless it be given him from heaven.” And you see, I see so many preachers, so many churches, so many religious groups, if somebody else gets more church members or somebody else makes more converts or if somebody else has a larger ministry they get upset. But I think we need to cultivate that attitude of John. “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.”
I realized at a time in my ministry I needed to learn that lesson very, very carefully. “A man can receive nothing unless it be given to him from heaven.” And, as I meditated on that, I said, “Lord, are you sure that’s right? I see a lot of people getting things and I don’t see any evidence that they were given from heaven.” And the Holy Spirit began to say to me, “There’s a difference between grabbing or grasping and receiving.” My eyes were opened! I saw so many people, Christians included, busy, grabbing, grasping, out for all they could get. Many times ruthless, unethical in their dealings with fellow-Christians and with their fellow human beings but just out for what they can get. And God said to me, “That’s only grabbing.” And whatever you get by grabbing, you won’t have forever. The only thing you’ll ultimately keep is what’s been given you from heaven. So why go to all that labor and toil to grab and to get something that you won’t be allowed to keep? Why not rest, why not turn your face toward God and say, “God, show me what it’s your good pleasure to give me.”?
Jesus said it one time to His disciples, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Brothers and sisters, if we’ve got the kingdom, what do we have to grab for? And we don’t get the kingdom because we grab for it, we get the kingdom because it’s God’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. If we could only rest for a little while from grabbing and be willing to see what God wants to give because I think many times when we grab and when we have that grabbing attitude, we’re not in a condition to be able to receive what God is freely offering to us. The kind of mentality that says, “I’ve got to grab this. I’ve got to get this.”
I think I spend so much of the year in Israel, there’s a phrase in Hebrew that we hear so often, “I’ve got a right to this, it’s mine!” That’s a natural way to think but it’s not the way to think in the kingdom of God. In the kingdom of God, we say, “God, my Father, what is it your good pleasure to give me?” That’s the only thing that matters. That’s the only thing that’s permanent. You see, God said to Israel, His own people, in the Old Testament, in Psalm 47, He said this: “I’ll choose your inheritance. You don’t have to got out and grab, you don’t have to look around for the choicest piece of land.” This is what the psalmist says in Psalm 47, verses 2-4:
“For the Lord most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth. He subdues peoples under us, and nations under our feet. He chooses our inheritance for us, the glory of Jacob whom He loves.”
So, God didn’t tell Israel to go out and look for the best piece of land and grab it. He said, “I’m going to give you a place that I’ve chosen.” And, in connection with it, He says, “...the glory.” And He says elsewhere it’s the glory of all lands, it’s the beautiful land, it’s the desirable land. God chose much better for them than they would ever have chosen for themselves. And when it was a question of them getting their inheritance, He fought for them. He subdued nations under their feet. But if we go out and grab, we don’t have God fighting for us. And if we go out and grab, we’ll probably get in a war that we’re going to lose. You see, God will do all that is needed to bring us into our inheritance. And another vital point out of the Bible: “Our rest is only within our inheritance.” That’s the only place we know true rest. Deuteronomy, chapter 12, verse 9, Moses said to Israel, when they were still East of the Jordan:
“for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you.”
Notice God was giving them their inheritance and when they came into their inheritance, then they would come into their rest. Why are there so many restless people in the world? Why are there so many restless Christians? The answer is because they’ve never come into their inheritance. Why have they never come into their inheritance? Because they’ve never allowed God to give it to them. Why have they never allowed God to give it to them? Because they’ve though they had to grab it for themselves.
I have just a few more important things to say about what God gives us. First of all, there’s a tremendous statement, made by Jesus, in John, chapter 10, verse 29. And I’m quoting now what is the marginal version in more than one of the modern versions and I’ve looked at the original Greek text and I think this is probably the best authenticated original text. It’s in John 10, verse 29. Jesus says:
“What my Father has given me is greater than all...”
That’s a breathtaking statement! Ultimately, the most important thing in the universe, the most irresistible thing in the universe, the one thing that’s absolutely sure and settled and cannot be challenged or overthrown is the thing which the Father has given. That’s greater than all. That is something that no power of hell, no demons, no evil rulers, can ever undo or overthrow or unsettle, what God the Father has given. Now, wasn’t that characteristic of Jesus? He never wanted anything except what the Father had given. What the Father had given there was no force could ever take from Him or undo or revoke. What is true of Him is true in like measure of you me. What the Father has given to you and me is greater than all. Don’t get nervous. Don’t get up tight. The very fact that you get up tight is evidence you’re really not moving into what the Father has given you. Because if you know the Father has given to you, you can smile at the opposition. It’s absolutely guaranteed. The supreme factor in the course of the universe is what God the Father has given.
And, in this connection, listen to the words of Jesus also from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew, chapter 5, verse 5:
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Can you hear that? They don’t have to grab the earth. They’re going to inherit it. The grabbers will be done away with. There’ll be an end to all the grabbers, the greedy, the unscrupulous, the covetous, the violent, the wicked, the Bible says “they shall be no more.” You will search for the wicked man and you won’t even find his place. You will remember him no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth. It’s so important that we learn to let God choose our inheritance for us, that we apprehend that what the Father has given is greater than all.
Let me close this little series of talks on “If You Want God’s Best...” by a quotation that I heard from someone and I don’t remember who it was, but it’s this: God gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him. Are you willing to leave the choice to your Father?
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time, Monday through Friday. Next week I’ll be sharing with you on another exciting theme from the Word of God.
My special offer this week is my book, The Grace of Yielding. This book is based on some of the most significant and powerful dealings of God that I’ve experienced in my own life but out of it all I found the path to God’s best for me. I believe it can help you to do the same. Also, my complete series of talks this week on “If You Want God’s Best..., Part 2” is available on a single, carefully-edited cassette. Stay tuned for details.