Sweet Will of God

Sweet Will of God

I am doing something a little different this week.  I heard the words to part of a hymn from Alistair Begg on his radio program recently – Truth for Life.  I have included only one verse of this week’s song for a couple of reasons.  First, I couldn’t confirm the name of this song, or the number of actual verses to this song.  One version I found online refers to it as “I worship Thee, Most Gracious God” and it contained 4 verses.  Another version was called “The Will of God” and it had 11 verses.  I also saw where this song was called “Sweet Will of God.”  So to be honest, I am not 100% sure what is right.  But the real reason I have only included one verse is because the lyrics were so powerful.  I have tried to memorize this particular verse because it is so poetic, yet so theologically true.  So here’s the one verse to what I am calling “Sweet Will of God.”

Ill that He blesses is our good,
And unblest good is ill;
And all is right that seems most wrong,
If it be His sweet will.

So let me spend a few moments sharing with you my thoughts on this particular song:

“Ill that He blesses is our good” – Boy it sure would have been nice to have a comma in this sentence.  Something like “Ill, that He blesses, is our good.”  Because without the phrase “that He blesses,” it would make this statement really difficult to swallow.  Ill is our good?  Have you lost your mind?  But ill (difficult times, trials and tribulations, etc.), that God blesses, can be for our good.  I am reminded of the story of Joseph in the Old Testament.  He was a righteous man who endured a lot.  Jealousy.  Hated by his own brothers to the point where they wanted to kill him.  Thown into a pit.  Sold into slavery.  Falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife.  Put in prison and forgotten.  Did God bless this “ill” that came into Joseph’s life? Absolutely.  Did God have a plan for Joseph to use the various “ills?”  Was God with Joseph when he was “ill?”  Several times in Genesis 39, the Bible says “The Lord was with Joseph.”  God was with Him and God was blessing what Joseph may have perceived as “ill.”  What Joseph’s brothers meant for evil, God meant for good.  So, can God bless the “ill” in your life like He did Joseph?  Yes.  He can and He will.  “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

“And unblest good is ill.”  – Are there apparent “blessings” in our life that can be ill?  I believe that Scripture teaches us that there are “good things” that can be used for evil or create in us a self-reliance and remove our dependence on God.  Was Solomon a blessed man?  Yes.  He was blessed with wisdom.  Blessed with material blessings.  Accomplished great things in the eyes of men.  Solomon had it all, but how did his life turn out?  Read Song of Solomon and you will see a couple of words that are repeated over and over again, depending on your translation of the Bible.  “Vanity” or “meaningless.”  Wisdom is meaningless.  Pleasures are meaningless.  Work is meaningless.  Riches are meaningless.  Advancement is meaningless.  Solomon’s wives turned his heart after other gods (I Kings 11) and he was not fully devoted to the Lord God.  Solomon built high places for foreign gods, and was judged by God, and ultimately the kingdom was taken from him.  Was the “good” that he received blessed by God, or was his “unblest good” ill?  I think it is clear that these apparent blessings were not good, but were a source of Solomon’s downfall.

So how do we prove what is the Lord’s will in our life?  Is the will of God defined by the lack of trials and tribulations in one’s life – the lack of ill?  Jesus said “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33.  Is being in the will of God only defined by visible blessings in our life?  The Bible is filled with kings who were blessed materially and blessed to be in leadership roles, but their hearts were wicked.  They were far from God.  They were ungodly and the material blessings were not signs of God’s blessing upon their life, but these blessings became their curse.

Here’s what the Apostle Paul says about the will of God.  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  We live in the will of God when we are doing what He commands in His word, and obeying the voice of the Spirit in our lives.  And yes, all can be right, that seems most wrong, if it be His sweet will.

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