Help in Finding God’s Will: Part Two

Acts 11: 1 – 14

In Acts 11:1, seven principles are found to have been used by Peter in proving that what he had done was God’s will.

What Peter had done violated four basic, ritualistic taboos. Therefore, the religious leaders “contended” with Him. The word means they kept on persecuting him. This was no academic debate; it was a verbal war.  Peter had:

–  Eaten with a Gentile. That simply wasn’t done.  He ate Gentile food.

–  This Gentile was a Roman.  He stayed in the house after dark.

In light of their contention, Peter “explained” his actions. The word means he kept on explaining it in historical order. The order was as follows.

Prayer was the first principle in seeking God’s will.

He said “I was in the city of Joppa praying….” (vs. 5) 

Prayer is essential in the search for God’s will. It is making a humble request of the Lord. Prayer is not a system of rationalization.  Prayer, though essential, is not enough alone. Other factors must converge.

Thinking was the second principle in seeking divine guidance.

Peter said “I observed it intently and considered….” (vs. 6)

The word literally meant “to put your mind to something, to ponder.” It is a reference to objective thinking. That is, thinking for a long time apart from emotions. 

God’s Word is the third principle involved in seeking divine guidance.

Peter did not have the Word like we have today. Therefore, before the Word was written it was rarely miraculously spoken. However, Peter heard the Word three times before it sank in. Prayer, the first principle in seeking God’s will must be combined with a knowledge of the Word.

Providential circumstances are to be considered in seeking divine guidance.

While Peter was praying and considering the vision, three men suddenly appeared with a special request. (vs. 11)

If circumstances are contrary to God’s Word, they are not of God.

Holy Spirit guidance is a vital part of seeking divine guidance.

Verse 12 shares a strategic principle. It is this. The Bible was not yet fully authored; and thus, Peter didn’t have the New Testament as his source of instruction. It must be ours. He had God’s Word vocally. We have it written. The vision was equivalent for him as the Word is for us today.

The Holy Spirit will NEVER lead anyone to do anything contrary to the written Word of God.

Comparisons are a factor in seeking divine guidance.

In verses 13 – 15 Peter and the men compare notes. This takes us back to the principle of thinking. As they compared notes, their insights dovetailed. This convergence was of God.

Scripture memorization is a vital part of seeking divine guidance.

Peter recalled the Word of the Lord as recorded in Isaiah 44:3 and Acts 1:5.

Under pressure it is the Word of God you know that helps you find what you don’t know. All of these principles must be taken into account in seeking divine guidance. Seek and you shall find.