Discerning God’s will by George Muller

The following is George Müeller’s own explanation:

I never remember . . . a period . . . that I ever sincerely and patiently sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the Word of God, but I have been always directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations of the Word of the living God, I made great mistakes.

What helped George Müeller know God’s will?

• He sincerely sought God’s direction.

• He waited patiently until he had a word from God in the Scriptures.

• He looked to the Holy Spirit to teach him through God’s Word. What led him to make mistakes in knowing God’s will?

• Lacking honesty of heart;

• Lacking uprightness before God;

• Impatience about waiting for God;

• Preferring the counsel of men over the declarations of Scripture.

Here is how Müeller summed up the way to a heart relationship with God:

1. I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the knowledge of what His will is.

2. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.

3. I seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Spirit guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.

4. Next, I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s will in connection with His Word and Spirit.

5.  I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me aright.

6. Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly.

I will instruct and teach you… Psalms 32:8-9

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,

which must be curbed with bit and bridle,

or it will not stay near you.”

Psalms 32:8-9

My Pondering:

Here God is speaking to His servant David and promises divine intervention. What guidance God is willing and able to give to those of us who are sensitive and keen enough to listen and sense His will.

Yes, He tells him (us) that if we have understanding He will personally instruct us.

But if not, He will may guide by force for a while but not too long, at this lower rudimentary level ( like a horse or mule).

Therefore, we are wise if we internalise His Word and confidently live and look for His leading. Elsewhere, God says “Be still and know that I AM GOD”. The Puritans called it ‘settling’ and it comes by practicing and engaging eagerly and willingly, not by compulsion, the spiritual disciplines,

1. Prayer

2. Scripture

3. Fasting

4. Worship

5. Service

My prayer:

Lord, I want to be a person of understanding. Guide me willingly. Break me as needed. I need YOUR council.

Matthew 6:33 – Seek first

But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:33‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Select Commentary

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
(33) Seek ye first the kingdom of God.–The context shows that the words point to the “seeking” of prayer, rather than of act, though the latter meaning is, of course, not excluded. What is thus to be sought is “the kingdom of God” (the change from the less personal “kingdom of heaven” is significant), the higher spiritual life in its completeness, for ourselves and for others; and with it we are to seek “His righteousness,” that which, being perfect beyond the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, must be His gift to us, and therefore to be sought in prayer. One who seeks for this may well be content to leave all else in his Father’s hands. Even without his asking “they shall be added unto him” in such measure as is best for him.

Among the few traditional sayings ascribed to our Lord of which we can think as probably an authentic report of His teaching, is one to the same effect quoted by Origen and Clement of Alexandria,” Ask great things, and little things shall be added to you: ask heavenly things, and earthly things shall be added to you.”

Benson Commentary
Matthew 6:33. But — You my disciples have more important business to employ your minds about, and have higher hopes to encourage you. Therefore seek ye first — That is, in the first place, and with the greatest earnestness and concern, as being the principal things, the kingdom of God — As described Romans 14:17, namely, that God, reigning in your heart, may fill it with the holiness above described, and the happiness consequent thereon; and, in order thereto, his righteousness — Not your own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God by faith. Compare Romans 10:3; Php 3:9. For it seems most natural to interpret the expression of that way of becoming righteous which the gospel proposes, and by which alone we can be put in possession of the kingdom of God on earth, or in heaven.

And all these things shall be added unto you — For if you seek, as now directed, the kingdom of God, first and principally, all things pertaining to this life shall, in the course of the divine providence, be bestowed on you as far as they can contribute to your real welfare, and more you would not desire.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you—This is the great summing up. Strictly speaking, it has to do only with the subject of the present section—the right state of the heart with reference to heavenly and earthly things; but being couched in the form of a brief general directory, it is so comprehensive in its grasp as to embrace the whole subject of this discourse. And, as if to make this the more evident, the two keynotes of this great sermon seem purposely struck in it—”the KINGDOM” and “the RIGHTEOUSNESS” of the kingdom—as the grand objects, in the supreme pursuit of which all things needful for the present life will be added to us. The precise sense of every word in this golden verse should be carefully weighed. “The kingdom of God” is the primary subject of the Sermon on the Mount—that kingdom which the God of heaven is erecting in this fallen world, within which are all the spiritually recovered and inwardly subject portion of the family of Adam, under Messiah as its Divine Head and King. “The righteousness thereof” is the character of all such, so amply described and variously illustrated in the foregoing portions of this discourse. The “seeking” of these is the making them the object of supreme choice and pursuit; and the seeking of them “first” is the seeking of them before and above all else. The “all these things” which shall in that case be added to us are just the “all these things” which the last words of Mt 6:32 assured us “our heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of”; that is, all we require for the present life. And when our Lord says they shall be “added,” it is implied, as a matter of course, that the seekers of the kingdom and its righteousness shall have these as their proper and primary portion: the rest being their gracious reward for not seeking them. (See an illustration of the principle of this in 2Ch 1:11, 12). What follows is but a reduction of this great general direction into a practical and ready form for daily use

Matthew Poole’s Commentary
The kingdom of God, and his righteousness, in this verse, are terms comprehensive of whatsoever appertaineth to the honour and glory of God, either as means, or as the end. Let your principal care and study be how to get to heaven, and how to promote the kingdom of God in the world; to bring your hearts into subjection to the will of God, that the kingdom of God may be within you, and how to bring others to the obedience of faith and of the will of God. And for the things of this life, it shall fare with you as it did with Solomon, 1 Kings 3:12, who asked not riches and honour, but had them. You shall have for your necessities, Psalm 37:4 Mark 10:30 1 Timothy 4:8.