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The Ways of God

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
April 12, 2023 12:00 am

The Ways of God

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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April 12, 2023 12:00 am

Dr. Stanley explores the knowledge of God and describes ten characteristics of His ways.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, April 12th. God's ways can seem confusing and frustrating, but that's because we don't often stop to consider how He works. Today, let's learn about the ways of God. Well, for years, I prayed a prayer that I did not realize somehow in the Scriptures that somebody else had prayed this prayer. And one day I found out that one of God's greatest servants prayed the same prayer that I'd been praying. I didn't even understand exactly what it all meant or exactly what I was really praying.

I just knew that I wanted to know something I didn't know. And one day I came across this passage of Scripture and it was Moses who prayed it and he said, Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways that I may know Thee. The title of this message is The Ways of God.

The ways of God. Now I want you to turn to Psalm twenty-five because David also was crying out to God and making this petition to him in the twenty-fifth Psalm. Well, we can start with verse one.

He says, To Thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in Thee I trust. Do not let me be ashamed, and do not let my enemies exalt over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for Thee will be ashamed.

Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. Make me know Thy ways, O Lord, teach me Thy paths. Now, what do we mean by the ways of the Lord?

Well, more than likely, you're not going to find any definition in your Bible where it says, This is what the ways of the Lord are. But when I think about the ways of the Lord, I think about how God operates. How does God operate? I think about how God thinks.

How does He think? I think about what's God's methods for accomplishing and working in people's lives and achieving His goals and His perspectives in life. The ways of God. I don't know of anything personally, unless it is being able to hear from God, that's more important to know than at least begin to know the ways of God. No one knows all the ways of God.

There's no one who knows all of that. But somewhere along in our Christian life, you and I ought to begin to at least begin to accumulate some things that we know are the ways of God. And this is why it's so important for you and me to look in the Scriptures and say, How did God work in this situation? How did He work in David's life, Daniel's life, Isaiah's life, Moses' life, Joseph's life?

How did He work in their lives? Because that's the way God works. These are the ways of God. So if we're going to learn the ways of God, you cannot learn them apart from reading the Scriptures and not just reading them, but having a deep yearning desire in your heart to know the ways of God. Because when I begin to know the ways of God, that's when I begin to understand who He is. Go back to Exodus thirty-three for a moment, and you'll notice what Moses prayed here.

Exodus thirty-three, Scripture says in verse twelve, Then Moses said to the Lord, See, Thou dost say to me, Bring up this people, but Thou thyself has not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Moreover, Thou hast said, I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight. Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways that what?

That I may know Thee so that I may find favor in Thy sight. Now listen, you and I can't really say, yes, we do know God, if we don't understand some of the ways of God. Now I can know a lot of things about Him.

I can know that He's the great I Am. I can give you all these Hebrew names for Him, and we can talk about what He did and what He's prophesied and so forth and all the history of it. But the ways of God. Moses cried out for God to teach him His ways because what he really wanted to know was what? He wanted to know God. If I pray for God to show me His ways so I can say, well, I can predict what's going to happen here.

That's the wrong motive. I want to know the ways of God because I want to know who is this God I serve? Who is this God in whom I believe? Who is this God who says He is my heavenly Father who sent His only begotten Son, who sent the Holy Spirit to be our teacher and our revealer?

Who is this God? I begin to understand who He is when I begin to understand His ways, how He works. And so when we come to this passage and we read the Psalm, it said, asking Him to teach Him His ways. What happens is when we don't know His ways, it can become devastating to us because we're going to make wrong decisions. We will act out of our flesh, out of human nature and human reasoning. We will look around to see how other people make their decisions, how they operate, rather than what does God say? That is, how does He work? And so oftentimes it is our protection in time of trouble and trial and tribulation to ask the question, how does God work? What are the ways of God when you get in these kind of situations, how would God operate? And when we understand those ways, it is a tremendous protection to us.

Now, when I think about it, I think about also it's like an anchor, like a stabilizer. When you and I know the ways of God and we walk in His ways, then no matter what happens around us, He's going to keep us anchored and stable and strong and peaceful no matter what's happening all around us. And so understanding His ways, when I think about it, I realize what's going to happen to some degree at least. When I understand the ways of God, I'm going to be willing to wait for God. All of us are impatient.

We'd like to do things our way on our schedule. When we begin to understand the ways of God, one of the things we'll realize is that we have to be patient. We have to learn to wait. And as I look in the Scriptures, usually God is a whole lot slower in acting than most people in the Scriptures expect Him to.

And certainly much slower than you and I expect Him to be, right? We want Him to let's move on and get it done. We want to hurry God along, which is natural and normal. But when you not understand the ways of God, we are willing to wait because we know in our heart that His way is the best way. Not only are we willing to wait, but when you and I learn His ways, somehow there's a sense of peace and calmness within us when everything around us is falling apart.

Why? Because we understand the ways of God. And when people around you are falling apart and they don't know what to do next or doing the wrong thing, when you and I know the ways of God, we can stand quietly, peacefully, assuredly, knowing in our heart that God's ways are such that when you and I walk in them, there is nothing that can knock us off balance and nothing that can throw us off course.

It's easy to get off course. We look at human nature. Likewise, when you and I learn the ways of God, we will not doubt Him. There will be an increasingly strengthening of our faith.

Because what? Because we've watched how He operates. And as you and I learn His ways, we know that if we do certain things, here's what He's going to do.

And if we fail to do those things, here's what He's going to do. We get out of His will and begin to be rebellious and want to have it our way. The ways of God is this, that He will throw a monkey wrench into every single thing that we do when we decide we're going to have our way and do it our way. And so the ways of God begin to really be simple to some degree.

But that is a matter of time and experience. And let's say for many of you who are college students and you're 21 or 23 years of age, we certainly wouldn't expect you to know the ways of God. But certainly I hope you're listening and you're learning the ways of God. And there are lots of methods of learning His ways, but ultimately He must reveal them. But certainly one of those is to certainly read the Scriptures and that will give some insight, but that's not enough. Watching how God operates in other people's lives and what He does is certainly one asset to that.

So what I'd like to talk about for a few moments and that's this. And that is the characteristics of the ways of God. That is, what are the characteristics of the ways of God? Well, let me say first of all that the ways of God cannot be tracked humanly.

The Bible says, for example, in Romans chapter 11, look at that, Romans chapter 11. And the thirty-third verse, look what He says here. He says, Oh, the depths of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways.

Look at that verse, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments and how unfathomable are His ways. That means that they cannot be tracked down. They are untraceable.

They are hidden and they are inaccessible through any kind of human knowledge and discovery. The ways of God can only be learned as God reveals them to them. That's why David was crying out and praying to God, teach me thy ways. And why Moses was saying, teach me thy ways. Because the truth is, only the Spirit of God can give us this sermon. Now look if you will in 1st Corinthians chapter 2.

You remember what this says. 1st Corinthians chapter 2, when he's talking about how we understand. He says in the eleventh verse of 1st Corinthians 2, he says, For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Verse 11, Even so the thoughts of God, the ways of God, no one knows except the Spirit of God.

Now we have received not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may know the things freely given to us of God. Listen, it's certain that God wants you and me to understand how He works. Why He does what He does. Why His timing is such. Why He chooses this method above that method. Why He waits sometimes for a long time.

While it seems that He comes in the nick of time. Why does God, how does God operate? And so for example, turn to Isaiah chapter 2. Isaiah chapter 2 and the very third verse of that chapter, listen to what he says. These great saints of God.

The third verse of Isaiah chapter 2, he says, And many peoples will come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths. That is, there ought to be a desire in our heart to know the ways of God. How does God operate?

How does He work? And so we say first of all, His ways are unsearchable. They're inaccessible by any human knowledge and wisdom and ability because they are revealed by God. Inaccessible by human nature, but they're revealed by God.

He's the one who shows them. Thirdly, God will teach us His ways. Now the reason I know that is because Moses was crying out to know His ways. David was crying out to know His ways. Others have said, We want to learn the ways of God. Teach us Thy way. And God is the one who places upon our heart this yearning to know Him.

Another thing I want you to jot down is this. One of the characteristics of the ways of God, it's usually opposite of the way the world thinks. God doesn't think the way the world thinks.

And oftentimes in church and carrying out the work of the church, when the whole crowd is running in this direction, usually that is not God's direction. Newfads come along and say, Let's do this. Let's do that. Let's do the other. Let's do the other. We don't need any newfangle, anything, because there's not anything that equals to the power of the teaching and the preaching of the simple Word of God.

There's nothing to equal that. And He says in His Word, that's what we're to do. We're to preach the Word of God, be in season out of season. You can't beat the simple ways of God. What are the ways of God? Preaching and teaching the Word of God, staying on our face before God and seeking His mind and His heart, trusting Him and walking in His ways. That's the way you carry out God's work. And so people come along and they try this and they try that and try the other. But what lasts is simply teaching and preaching the Word of God.

And what happens in your daily life and mine is just real simple. Just finding out what God says and getting lined up with what He says and following what He says and not listening to all the clamor and the new ideas and all the fads that come our way because listen, you and I have the Holy Scriptures. We have the Word of God. We have the ways of God. You cannot improve on the ways of God. And the reason we get in trouble because we want to antiquate, set aside and just somehow disassociate ourselves with this and call this ancient, antiquated and old and so forth.

And we come up with a new idea. Let me ask you, can you name me anything any more wiser than to walk in the ways of the infinite wisdom of God? You cannot improve on that.

There's no way to improve on it. And that's why people say we call it the old-fashioned gospel. Absolutely. You know how old-fashioned it is? It came from the mind of God.

That's how old-fashioned it is. And so God is in the process of teaching us His ways. And if we're willing to learn His ways, what we're going to have to do is acknowledge the fact that God's going to require of us to do some things that are opposite what the world does.

The world thinks this way. What we have to ask is what is God's way? And so oftentimes I've been pulled and clamored at to go this direction or that direction. I think, Lord, what did you call me to do? Just one thing. Preach and teach the Word of God.

Don't get off into that and get off into this and get off into the other and get off into these other things. What's God up to? God's up to teaching people how to live. God's up to teaching people His ways. The principles of the Word of God, which leads me to the next characteristic of the ways of God, and it's the best. It is the best way. His way is always the best way. You can improve on the wisdom of God. Listen, God has never asked you and me to take second best.

Not ever one single solitary time as He said. Now, this is the best way, but I want you to choose this way. That would be an absolute contradiction. Listen, it is a contradiction of the nature of God because the nature of God is what? The nature of God is that He has chosen in His supreme superlative, His pinnacle love for us, His unconditional love, it is always doing what? Reaching out and desiring the best for us. Therefore, the ways of God's the best way.

You cannot improve on the ways of God. And we look around us and we see what the world is saying and how they're clamoring. You ought to do it this way and that way and the other way.

And what happens? We have a whole society today that is absolutely corrupt and it's not working. What's happening in this world is not working.

Why? Because they've said now we have a better way. Leave God out of this. We have a better way. And so what do we have? We've got chaos and confusion and corruption everywhere we turn because man has said he knows a better way. You can't improve on God who is infinite in His wisdom and infinite in His love for us.

It is the best way. Likewise, the ways of God bear His image. That is, when you and I begin to look around us, here's what you're going to find. For example, is it not true that sometimes you've heard some things and you say, that sounds like God? That some things just sound like Him. So when we see things going on around us and we see how God is working in someone's life, we can say, that's the way of God. And usually it will contradict human wisdom. It will oftentimes challenge my faith, but it will contradict human wisdom. The ways of God, not only the best ways, they bear His image. The ways of God also are faith builders. That is, the ways of God always challenge our faith. And as I think about so many times in my own life where I knew that God said do something, I'd think, well, now how's this going to work out? Now all of us have different personalities and I'm the kind of person who wants to see all the way to the end. Now I know you can't do that, but I'd like to help God plan out how He's going to do things, you know.

And if He just let me help Him plan them, then I can just sit back and say, hey, just don't worry about it because I know how it's going to work out. Well, you know what? The truth is we know anyway how it's going to work out. For the best. That's what God said.

What did He say? He says that when you and I walk in His way, that He's engineering all of our circumstances in such a way, listen, it'll be for our good and His glory. So I know this about one of the ways of God. One of the ways of God specifically is this. He works in your life and my life in every single solitary situation in order that He will be glorified and it will be for our good. That's the way God works. That's one way I know that's of God. That's the way of God. He will work in every circumstance no matter what in order to bring Himself glory and in order to do what?

It'll be for our best. And it'll be with the process of conforming us to His likeness. How do I know that? Because He says He predestined you and me to be conformed to His likeness. So I know that whatever's happening in your life and my life, God is up to glorifying Himself.

He's up to doing what is best for you and He's up to conforming you and me to His image. That's the way God works. Now, I just want to share those things with you and let you think about in your own personal life. How's God operate?

How's He been working? Do you want to know the ways of God? Then you've got to get in the Word of God and begin to pray for God to show you His ways so that, listen, so that all our decisions will be decisions that are consistent with the ways and the working and the thinking of Almighty God. But if you've never trusted Jesus as your Savior, God'll always be a big confusing figure in your mind. But if you're willing to trust Him as your personal Savior, things will begin to clear up and you'll begin to understand. Because, listen carefully, if God is going to show me His way, He's not going to show me His way if my will is in opposition to His will. He will reveal His ways to those who surrendered to His ways even before we know what they are. Now, I'll say this to you because this is what I affirm daily and oftentimes many times during the day. This is my whole attitude about my relationship to God. Full surrender, full dependence, full trust, and full focus on Almighty God. That's what He's looking for, full surrender to Him, full dependence upon Him, full trust in Him, and fully focused on Him.

You know what? There is no way to lose if you walk that path. That's God's way. Thank you for listening to The Ways of God. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-12 04:03:44 / 2023-04-12 04:12:31 / 9

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