I’m going to start a new series with you today and the new, sorry, I started a new series two weeks ago and the series I started with you was basically based on the book of Nehemiah. So, with that in mind ah two with me in your Bibles. So the book of Nehemiah chapter two So, I’m going to preach real short for you today if that’s alright and going to read from Nehemiah chapter I think. Nehemiah chapter two verses one to two.
Nehemiah 2:1-2 NKJV And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.” So I became dreadfully afraid,
The message today is called discerning the will of God. Let’s pray. Father I thank you for your word. I ask and pray that you would help us to navigate this life and the destiny and future you have for us. I thank you and praise you for that Lord. In Jesus name. Amen. Started a couple of weeks ago a series on the book of Nehemiah.
Every year as a church we look at one of the books or significant passages of scripture and focus on that for about a term. And so for the next season we’ll be looking at the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was about Nehemiah and basically, Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king and he had found out he had been found out that the walls of Jerusalem had broken down.
Now, the walls of Jerusalem had been broken down for a hundred and seventy years at least and yet Nehemiah was stirred up and all organized for the rebuilding of the walls in 52 days. Which is absolutely amazing. Could you imagine? Have you know, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve waited your breakthrough to come. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been till that promise comes to pass. God can transform it and change it in a moment. That is the God that we serve.
And so Nehemiah was the cup bearer to the king. Uh so he was living in Persia and he was serving the king. He would serve him his drinks. And the reason why he would serve him his drinks because it was very common for people to for kings to be assassinated through poisoning the poisoning of their drinks. And so to have that position you had to be highly trusted. You had to be someone with impeccable character and someone highly trusted by the king.
So, the fact that Nehemiah who was a Jew, who was an Israelite, was trusted with that position is absolutely amazing. He had risen to becoming one of the most powerful people in the nation. In fact, you would not, in fact, it would be hard for a foreigner or an Israelite to rise any higher than the position that Nehemiah had.
So, watch this. Nehemiah’s life is awesome. His job prospects have absolutely gone amazing. He’s living in the palace. He’s completely protected. He’s completely provided for. He’s got a fantastic life. And then he has news that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down. He already knew it but he started getting stirred up about it. That’s why it’s interesting here in Nehemiah chapter two.
It says that he started he came before the king and he was going to serve him drinks and that sort of thing and then it says, the king asked him what’s wrong and he said, first of all, he said, so I became dreadfully afraid. Can you imagine what he’s thinking? I’ve got an amazing life which now could possibly be jeopardized which now could become incredibly inconvenient.
Have you ever had that happen? Well, life is just perfect. Everything is in order and then something comes across your path and you thought, oh no. This is going to mess a lot up. That’s exactly what happens with him there. He became dreadfully afraid. Everything that I’ve worked for, everything that has happened could now be jeopardized because I’m sensing a calling to do something for the Lord that could put everything that I have right now at risk.
It’s in a moment like that. You want to make sure that what you’re feeling is God. This is not one of those decisions that you can afford to get wrong. I mean, if he got this wrong, he could literally lose his job. He could be killed. Everything could be jeopardized if he got this wrong. Every single one of us at some point in our life. It might happen only every few years that there’s a decision and a choice to be made where you know if I get this wrong I get a whole lot wrong.
There’s some decisions you can kind of feel out. There’s some decisions you can look at. Get it wrong. Okay try that. Didn’t work. But there are some decisions you cannot afford to get wrong. This is one of those things. And so ultimately, he needs to know, is this really the will of God? If I’m going to stick my neck out, if I’m going to jeopardize what I’m doing, I need to make sure that this is the will of God.
If you ever find yourself in a situation like that, which I reckon from personal experience, once every five to 6 years, something like that happens, once every five to 6 years, there’s a decision that I’ve gotta make that needs to be and a need to know that I know that it’s actually the will of God for my life. If you ever come across that point, I want you to remember what I’ve got to share with you today. I want you to keep in mind because I want to talk to you about discerning the will of God.
1. Direction from the word of God
I want to talk to you about four signs that you’re in the will of God. Four keys to knowing that you’re in the will of God, especially for when you come to a major, life-altering, potentially life-altering decision. Decision that you can’t afford to get wrong. And so we’re going to look at this and there are four basic things. The first thing is this, it says, we’re going to go back to Nehemiah chapter one. And Nehemiah chapter one verses eight to nine. Says this. Remember I pray the word that you commanded your servant, Moses, saying, if you’re unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the father’s parts of the heavens, yet I will gather them there and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for my name.
So, you might remember two weeks ago when we talked about this, this desire came upon Nehemiah. He was very upset about what had happened. The walls of Jerusalem were still broken down after a 170 years. He prays and he prays to the Lord and he’s reminding God of what God had already said. Notice this, he actually says, the word that you commanded your servant, Moses. Moses wrote the first five books the Bible. It’s called the Pentateuch. It’s where he gave the law. So, basically, Nehemiah is paraphrasing and quoting back to God the word of God.
So, the first key for knowing that you’re in the will of God is that you’ve got direction from the word of God. That’s the ultimate way. I don’t know what the will of God is. Well, it’s in the word of God. What God says is actually his will. He’s basically paraphrasing Deuteronomy chapter thirty verses one to five. Says on with 31 to 5.
Deuteronomy 30:1-5 NKJV “Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
See that? He’s paraphrasing back to the Lord something God already had in his word. You know if you want to know if what you want. If you’re desiring is actually from God then it’s gotta line up with the word of God. We align our lives with the word of God. Sometimes, I think nowadays, it’s common for us to prioritize our desires and our personal dreams beyond the word of God. But make no mistake, the word of God needs to be primary. In fact, any kind of aspiration that we have, we really need to measure it against the word of God.
There is, it is possible for us to have sinful desires. We can have strong yearnings and strong desires that are not actually Godly. We need to submit those to God. So, basically, what that means is this, if you have a desire and it’s naughty, it’s not God. It’s kind of how it works. It’s not like, you know, you wake up one day and say, oh, you know, I was just, you know, really grieved in my spirit about the banks and I feel like, you know, God is leading me in my heart to rob a bank. No, that’s naughty. Because is not in line with God’s word. God’s word.
The first thing is actually God’s word. Joshua chapter 5:13-14. I love the story. Joshua is there and he’s about to go into battle against his enemies and an angel appears before him and Joshua says to the angel, are you for us or for our adversaries? You know, are you Australian? And then the angel said to him, I’m not on either of your sides. I’m a commander of the army of the Lord. I’m with God’s word. So, watch this We line up with God’s word. That’s God’s will. And we get in the slipstream of actually what he’s doing. It is possible. There are a lot of things that happen on earth that are not God’s will.
That’s why Jesus said in the Lord’s prayer that when we pray Lord let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There are lots of things on earth that are not actually God’s will. And so you might have a passion and a desire. That’s what happened there with Nehemiah. Nehemiah said hold on. God’s word says this. This is our reality. Well, that means to bring that reality back in line with God’s word because God’s word declares it. You might find in your life, your reality doesn’t match up to the promises in God’s word. You have a right and a justification then to believe what God’s word says about your situation and start laying a hold of God for that. Not only that, it is possible and that’s why knowing God’s word is so important. It is possible for actually God to give us things that aren’t his will.
I used to think that you know, if God doesn’t let me have it, it’s not his will but that’s not absolutely true. The Bible tells us in Psalm 106 verse 15 says,
Psalm 106:15 NKJV And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul.
He gave them what they wanted but he didn’t necessarily want them to have it and they had 5 negative consequences as a result. That’s why our desires are not the primary thing, the word of God is the primary thing. Does that make sense? So, that’s why that is the first point. That if you want to know if you’re in the will of God, direction from word. It’s got a lineup with God’s word. The second thing is this. I read it at the start, Nehemiah two one to four:
Nehemiah 2:1-4 NKJV And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.” So I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?” Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.
So, he was so overcome with emotion that he couldn’t hold. He normally when he gives the king, when he gives his king his drink, he’s gotta be positive. You know, he’s gotta be great customer service, that sort of thing but he came in there and he was so affected by the news that actually he couldn’t hold his disposition anymore.
The second sign that you’re in the will of God is actually desire. God starts moving on our heart. This overlaps a little bit with what I talked about two weeks ago. Bible tells us in 37 verse four.
Psalms 37:4 NKJV Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
That doesn’t mean that automatically everything I want is automatically God. As I delight myself in him, he starts dropping desires in my heart. Yeah. And those are the things he actually wants to see come to pass. And so we can see that our desires do play a part in it. Now, notice this, he actually, the first thing he did was he had this desire then the king said to him, what do you want? And so he prayed. What’s he doing? Okay, God. This is the moment. What’s going to happen right now? He prayed after the desire. So, what that means is this, when we have a desire from God, we need to pray about it to make sure it is God. Don’t just act on it straight away. That when we get a desire to make sure that it’s God, prayer actually plays a part. The Bible tells us in Mark :
Mark 11:24 NKJV Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Now, whether comma lines up in that verse is very important. It doesn’t say whatever things you desire, comma. When you pray, believe that you’ll receive and have them. So, it doesn’t mean any whim or any desire that we have when we pray, it’s automatically going to become a past. No, no. Whatever you desire when you pray it, come on. Believe that you receive them in heaven. So, as you pray, desires come forth. And those are the things he wants to see come to pass. And so that’s what part of the filtration process of it.
Prophetically speaking and I mentioned this story a few years ago, there’s a story about Moses and Aaron, leaders of the Israelites and Aaron’s leadership was being questioned and so Moses said to the tribal leaders, I want you to bring your rods, your staffs, and bring them to me and so, they grabbed the robs and he and he laid them out before the Lord overnight and he laid out Aaron’s rod with them. The next morning, he comes in and Aaron’s rod buds and that was a sign to everybody. This is the man anointed by God. This is the right leader.
In the same way, prophetically speaking, when you’ve got decisions to make and you’re not sure what to do and you’ve got a number of options. You come into a transition. Some of you come into a transition last term this year. It’s transition time. Going into a new year. You’re not sure what to do. You got a number of options. Lay them out before the Lord in prayer. Start praying about them. Lay them out before the Lord and eventually one of them will bud in your heart. A desire will come and that will be the direction in which God wants you to go.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
So keep acknowledging, keep praying, and that desire will come forth and that’s a sign that you’re actually in the will of God. Desire is actually the second key.
3. Divine Confirmation
The third key is this, Nehemiah chapter two forty-eight.
Nehemiah 2:4-8 NKJV Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.
He thought, hang it. I’m going to keep on asking right now. I’ve asked for time off. Now, I’m going to ask for some endorsement and then he says to him and then he goes and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest that he must give me timber to make beams for the games of the gates of the Citadel which pertains to the temple for the city wall and for the house that I will occupy. So here’s the moment. Okay. I think this is God. What the heck? Can you give me time off with leave? Can you also pay for it? And can you also give me an endorsement to help me to succeed? You thought I might as well just let her all hang out there. right? He didn’t say, king, if you don’t do this, I’m going to go against you. I’ve got to obey God. I’ve gotta do what God says. No, he trusted God in the process, right?
And he said, okay, this is what I want and then that was it. There’s nothing more he could do. He laid it out there. What happened next will determine whether he’s able to do it. What happened next was he would need a miracle. Not only was he getting time off. So, the king technically was risking his own life by letting Nehemiah go. Because Nehemiah was his trusted servant who did that. So, he was part of his security detail. So, he’s letting me go and do that. Then he’s paying for it all.
And not only that he’s actually going against the command he had made many years before because he had stopped the rebuilding of the walls. So you this is one of those moments. If you were talking to Nehemiah if he came up to you and said this is what I’m thinking of doing. It’s like well you will know it’s God if the king lets you do this. And look what happens. It says in the end. And the king granted them to me. According to the good hand of my God upon me. How did he know that the hand of God was upon him? Was it because the king granted it to him. The third sign that you’re in the will of God is a divine confirmation.
Something happens beyond your control. Something happens to give you an indication this is God. This step that you’re taking. Something happens beyond your ability to actually have you do that. One of the great things we do as a church and as a school is that God has blessed us by being able to start other schools. And it’s been incredible. And sometimes people don’t understand why we do that.
The entire reason why we do is this. We want to extend the geographical footprint of the kingdom of God and God has graced us to actually do that and so, we’ve actually had some great miracles happen in the way in confirmation. Logan Village where we had Hot August nights last night is a classic example. So, we had the block of land. It was already purchased well before my time and and there’s a block of land there and obviously, it takes a while to get things through council and council can make things pretty difficult for you and so, there was a time where Peter Murphy of Capital Works and Brendan Blakemore the chairman of our ah school board ah went to the Logan Council and spoke to them about this endeavour that we’re doing.
And so they’re talking about it and they’re talking about how it’s going to help the community and wanting to know what the fees are and Brendan piped up. If you know anything about Brendan he’s not backward in coming forward or saying what he thinks and so Brendan is standing there with the council. Logan Council and ah basically he said to me said listen look what we’re going to do with school and church is going to be such a benefit to this community. You really need us. So, why do we have to pay all these fees? It was like two and a half million dollars worth of fees. You know, just paperwork. Why do we have to pay all these fees?
Surely, you can give us a bit of a discount and the council members looked at each other and said, yeah. Why do they pay these fees? You know what? No fees. You don’t have to pay the fees. Praise the Lord. That’s a good sign. We’re in the will of God. Amen. Divine confirmation. Things beyond your control that indicate now is you’re doing the right thing and now is the right time. You will find when you’re doing something incredibly risky, when you’re doing something that you need to get right, that there will be divine confirmations along the way to show you that you’re doing the wrong right thing.
It’s also the tie, it’s also an indication of the right time. It had been 170 years and nothing had happened but now was the time and this was an indication it was time and he did it in 52 days. Divine confirmation will give you the timing of whether or not what you’re doing is right. Back in 1998, I was at Bible College and we had a guest speaker, an evangelist by the name of Al Fury.
Al was you know, praying for people and he called me out and prophesied over me and he said, I see you son, travelling around the nation, preaching the gospel. He said, I mark you this day as an evangelist, the travelling minister. That was in nineteen ninety-eight. I had a massive desire to do that but I didn’t do it for many many years. In two thousand and 8, I was in a meeting. It was in actually that the church I was in was running and it was really it just had a strange moment where the guest speaker and I wore the same clothes every session. And it was different style and and it was and to the point it was really jarring and I’m saying Lord what’s what’s going on?
And I felt the Lord say you’re going to do what he does one day. He was a travelling speaker. You’re going to do that. And so that was two thousand and eight. At the start of 2010. Phil, God give me a scripture. And it was out of Jonah. And you know the story of how he jumped out of the boat and got swallowed by the fish and felt God saying to me, you gotta jump out of the boat Ben. You gotta jump out of the boat and I thought, okay and then the Brisbane floods came. 2011. House got flooded in the Brisbane floods.
I thought I’ll forget everything. You know, I just focus on that. In the wash up at the end of it, once we rebuilt our house, we actually had a bit of a nest egg left over. From some over of the insurance payment and that sort of thing and it was basically the equivalent of three months worth of mortgage repayments. Now, up until that time I couldn’t afford to get it wrong for one week. As a travelling minister. You live by faith. But then I had three months of mortgage repayments. And Trish and I looked at each other and said okay maybe we can do this. And we stepped out by faith. And then for the next six years.
It was quite miraculous what God did. But I waited for that divine confirmation. Before any time earlier would have been too soon. I see a lot of good-hearted Christian people get the right desire from God but they get the timing wrong. And if you get the timing wrong what God what wanted you to do you might not actually be able to execute it and then people get upset and offended at God. No, no, you did the right thing just at the wrong time. The timing is the divine confirmation. This was the time. It might have been 170 years but now is the time.
There’s some of you, you’re heart sick because you stepped out into something that God had put in your heart. God just want you to know. Don’t worry. It was too soon but the right time is about to come to pass and God’s going to give you a sign and a confirmation that you are going to be in the right direction. and the last thing is this. The last sign that you’re in the will of God. Nehemiah two nine and 10.
Nehemiah 2:9-10 NKJV Then I went to the governors in the region beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of it, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.
You know, you’d think right. If you’d in the will of God, everyone would approve you’d think that if you’re in the will of God, everything would be smooth sailing but here, here are some men that hear about what Nehemiah is doing and they are deeply disturbed that he is interested in the well-being of Israel.
4. Demonic Opposition
The fourth sign that you’re in the will of God is demonic opposition. Yeah. Opposition is not a sign that you’re actually out of the will of God. Sometimes, it’s a sign that you’re in the will of God. We will look later on through the book of Nehemiah. When they rebuilt the walls, there was actually a season there where they, the over one building had a shovel in one and they actually had a sword in the other. Because they had to build but they had to fight. Because enemies were trying to stop them from doing what God wanted them to do. Notice this. They didn’t allow that to dissuade them from doing what God had told them to do.
You will find that if you’re in the will of God something significant you’re about to step into. There will be some kind of demonic opposition. If you never have demonic opposition in your life ever, then that is a very bad sign. It means you don’t bother the devil at all. But when you’re doing something that God wants you to do that is very significant, you will find is demonic opposition.
I take demonic opposition as a very good sign that we’re actually in the will of God. Now, the awesome thing is this, the devil is not all-powerful. The Bible says, he’s like a roaming lion seeking whom he may devour. Very encouraging scripture because he can’t devour whoever he wants. He’s seeking whom he may devour and so you will find the Bible says, we’re not ignorant of his devices. So, the enemy on the attacks really in three major seasons. You know, it’s demonic.
Starting Something New
Sometimes, have all this bad stuff happen because of our own poor choices. Or there’s an issue we haven’t dealt with. But you can tell if there’s some kind of spiritual opposition because it’s often in three phases. Number one it’s when you start something new. Look at the Book of Revelation. The Bible tells us that the dragon which is speaks of the devil was waiting for the woman to give birth to devour the baby. So it’s something new. That’s when the devil attacks. Moses and Jesus both happened to them. When they were both born all of a sudden the ruler just decided they were going to kill all the babies under the age of two.
What had happened? It was a spiritual attack against something God was going to do. When you do something you when you start that business that’s the time to really start getting into prayer straight away. When we start a new church a new campus that’s the time when we gotta get into warfare. Because we’re starting something new and that’s when the devil attacks.
Just Before A Breakthrough
Another time when the devil attacks is just before a breakthrough. We talk more about that before the 21 days of breakthrough. Just before something significant, there’s often some kind of spiritual attack. You can tell it’s an attack because it’s unrelated and comes from every angle. You know, just I knew Hot August Nights were going to be amazing because the week before Hot August Nights, four of our four Reedy Creek staff all got COVID. And they were coming out of isolation the Wednesday. Which was the day before Hot August nights started. Now praise God they’ve all tested you know, negative now. Don’t worry, that’s all good.
But it happened, I remember when I heard that, that’s why last week, we could hardly put church on. Because they’re all at home. And I remember when I heard that and I saw them saying oh you know I’ve gotta go home. They’re all getting the calls. I yeah just letting you know gotta go home. And it’s like oh it’s the week before Hot August Nights. Yeah. Hot August Nights must be amazing. And it’s been amazing. We’ve had miracles last night. It’s incredible.
Had an older lady from our Logan Village campus. She came up to me. She said Pastor Ben I could move my shoulder. I said oh okay that’s cool. He says no no no you don’t understand. I was at the physio this morning to get it worked on. I could hardly move it. I couldn’t lift it up. But she says look at it now. It’s fantastic. It’s great. And she said not only that. I had a really bad ankle. Now all of a sudden all the pain is completely gone. It’s amazing.
We had some of the youth come up on Friday night. And we had about 40 give their lives to Christ which is amazing. We had one of the boys who had an injury from rugby and then he got healed on the night. Now he’s going to go play school today. God has done incredible things in the course of this week. And the week before all hell break loose. Yes. It’s not a sign of pull the pin on it. It’s not a sign of quit. It’s a sign. We are in the very will of God. Amen. Amen.
Demonic. What an encouraging word. Demonic opposition. Fantastic. You will find when you’re doing what God wants you to do. One of the signs is there is opposition. But here’s the thing. Nehemiah had opposition. Nehemiah had people who wanted to kill him. But he fulfilled a 170-year-old promise in 52 days. Couldn’t stop him. That opposition can’t stop you. Can’t prevent you. Because he is with us. Amen. If you’re in the will of God his will come to pass in your life.
There are some people in this room today. And there are some people online as well. You’re at a pivot point decision to make. You’re coming up a time where you’ve got a decision you can’t afford to get wrong. Every few years, all of us have a decision that we can’t get it wrong. And we needed to know that it’s the will of God. If that is you, I want to pray for you. Because Jesus said in the Lord’s prayer, that we are to pray. Lord, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And my prayer for you is this, that God’s will be done in your life here on earth. And there are times when we don’t know, we’re not sure. But we’re going to pray. And I’m praying God’s going to give you wisdom.
Many of you, you’re not in that season right now. I just want you to take what I’ve shared and put it in your back pocket. And one day, when comes to a situation that you can’t afford to get wrong get this message out again and remind yourself. These are the boxes I need to tick. It needs to be directed in God’s word. It needs to line up with God’s word. God has given me a desire and a burden for this. I have divine confirmation on this. And not only that, it looks like things are flying up all around the place. That’s a good sign. But I’m in the will of God. Amen.