I was “talking” with friends on facebook this week; they have a big decision to make and were wondering how much time to give God before making it.  I reminded them of a few things.  The first is that it is probably never a good idea to move until you have heard from God.  I reminded them about the errors of Sarah’s assumption that she should give her servant, Hagar, to Abraham in order to have the child of promise (Gen 16).  I also remembered the error that Joshua made in trusting the word of the Gibeonites, looking at the physical evidence and figuring they did not need to seek God’s advice.  It then led me to Daniel, having to pray for 21 days until his prayer was answered.  He was told that from the very moment he began to seek God the answer was sent, but Gabriel (the angel with the answer) was delayed by a demonic presence.

I also advised that they may already have the answer.  Both she and her husband agreed this was what they wanted to do – in fact everyone they trusted was giving a “green light.”  I told them that in my experience, that is God at work (when was the last time everyone you knew agreed about anything?).  It may also be one of those times when God has given you the choice to make on your own, with the promise that He will bless your choice.

It is a difficult thing sometimes to discern God’s will.  David was sure he made the right decision to build God a Temple to replace the Tabernacle.  Even his advisor, Nathan, agreed. But God corrected Nathan, who returned to his friend and let him know what God had said.  Sometimes we might have the right idea, but not be the right one to do it.  Nehemiah was sure he was the one to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls, yet he still asked God to confirm it by giving him favor with the king (an unbeliever). The king supported Nehemiah not only by giving permission, but also by providing some of the materials with which to build.

I have made a practice of seeking God, waiting on the answer and then asking God for continual confirmation.  Something along the line of “God, this is what I believe you want for me in this case, and this is the direction I plan to move in.  If it is the right thing, please go before me and make it happen.  If I am mistaken, or begin to go wrong, slam the door in my face and do not let me proceed.  Please give me the wisdom to see which is happening.”

He has never let me down.