Training for Reigning - 38 - Directed or Permitted

LET ME TALK to you a bit about the Directive will of God, and the Permissive will of God, both as ft may affect our daily lives and, also, the Assemblies of the saints. The reason? It is that I have found out that not a few young Christians have begun to look for guidance, in addition, as it were, to the counsel of the Lord, to a new false god. His name is, Is-there-anything-in-the- Bible-against-it? (Don’t forget that name, will you? You may hear it again some day).
Now, I feel quite certain that Is-there-anything-in-the-Bible- against-it? never could have arisen to such prominence were it not that so many older Christian have practiced most all their lives a form of self-direction that took them more or less outside of divine direction. It seemed the necessary thing to do since they had but a hazy idea of any other possibility. Moreover, Self-sufficiency and Self-reliance are recognized virtues among men . . . and-well, what else is there? Thus it has come about that Balaam’s Guidance has flourished in private life, while Is- there-anything-in-the-Bible-against-it? is fast becoming a standard reference in some Assemblies.
In Psalm 25:9 there is a marvellous promise, which, I fear, so far as it has been of use to lots of Christians, might as well never have been written, like the case of John 3:16, and other Gospel texts. Think of the multiudes who land in hell every day who might have been made safe from sin’s punishment had they heeded such never-perish promises! Similarly, think of the hosts of us Christians who land in perplexity and difficulty every day who might have known, instead, His guidance in judgment, the teaching of His way.
Perhaps I should point out that the new life in Christ Jesus means more than to have received the gift of eternal life. It is also a NEW WAY OF LIFE altogether . . . a life in which the progressive Christian comes to realize that he is privileged to live in constant relation to His Father, the living God . . . to live in an active, practical dependence on God, the All-sufficient.
Unfortunately, many dear people seem to consider that the Lord is sufficient-up to a point. Beyond that they must fend for themselves. Hence, in the business of solving their daily problems, they generally pray about them, then use their own judgment to the best of their ability, and finally ask God’s blessing on their undertakings. That is to say, they do not have His DIRECTION, but seek His PERMISSION to carry out whatever they have decided will be best. Since He does not often interfere to "block the way if it isn’t His will," they not infrequently experience the unhappy result described in Psalm 106:15. ("T. P.").
I have said that He seldom blocks the way if it isn’t His will for us to take a certain course. No; He desires to direct His children; and when they are acting in obedience to His direction there is no need for Him to block their way. We have no Scriptural authority for expecting Him to act as a rubber stamp either in approving, or in disapproving of our proposals. Do a little thinking and you will see that everything originates with, and is projected by, God is of God; all else is of the flesh-the human self-life. There can be no alternative; James 1:14-15.
What we have set before us in the Bible is God DIRECTING His people through His Word-a thoroughly practical and efficient Master-and-servant means of cooperation in a devil- blinded world-hard-headed business men to the contrary, notwithstanding . . . as well as dubious saints. (Again permit me to add, "T. P.").
In contrast, the Book of Numbers provides us with some examples of how things work out when His people figure out for themselves the solutions to their problems, and then get His PERMISSION to go ahead. - Israel, dissatisfied with God’s manna-provision (Num. 11:4-6) was permitted to have the flesh for which they had asked (vs. 18-20, 31, 32) . . . along with its attendant plague: vs. 33-34. Later, they received His permission to die in the wilderness, which they desired of Him, rather than to rely on Him for deliverance from the Canaanites; Num. 14:2 (last clause) with vs. 28.
Balaam, his heart set on obtaining Balak’s gold, received a plain statement of the DIRECTIVE WILL of God; Numbers 22:12.
Yet, apparently hopeful that God might change His mind he dared to ask Him about it a second time; vs. 19. Knowing full well Balaam’s unwillingness and his lust for reward (2 Pet. 2:15-16) the Lord gave him PERMISSION to go with the men. But since he no longer was under the DIRECTIVE WILL of God, Justice was free to "block his way"; vs. 22. Only limitless Mercy saved his life that day; vs. 23-33.
Prom these three examples of God’s PERMISSIVE WILL in actual try-outs we learn that if we take ourselves out from under the Lord’s DIRECTIVE WILL, we can have nothing more than His Permissive will. And if we have only His permission to go ahead, we shall be "on our own," and must expect to absorb whatever unforeseen consequences may accompany our self- directed course . . . Risky, Isn’t it?