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Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion? Paperback – January 30, 2002
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J. I. PACKER
“Bruce Waltke shows that God guides his servants not by dubious techniques of divination but by the discipline of purehearted decision-making. Waltke’s quiet, honest, Bible-soaked wisdom will be a godsend to puzzled people in this much-misunderstood area of Christian concern. This book is a beam of true light and a breath of fresh air.”
WALTER C. KAISER JR.
“What a rare combination — good biblical interpretation and judicious common sense, blended in the right mixture — all in one book. Waltke’s style is provocative, thoughtful, refreshing, and richly illustrated from living applications of the principles he advocates.”
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spoiledmilks [.] wordpress [.] com/2013/08/20/review-of-bruce-waltkes-finding-the-will-of-god-a-pagan-notion/
Waltke asks if we can we ever know God's will? He examines many practices that some Christians pass off as divine guidance: following hunches, casting lots, looking for signs, dreams, audible words from the Lord, etc. He doesn't completely discount these things. God could certainly speak to us in a dream, audibly, or by the flip of a coin if He wanted to, but this is not always the case. In fact, it is not usually the case. Waltke points out that the `wisdom' in James 1:5 isn't speaking about a `special revelation' on a certain decision, but wisdom is a way of life: purity, peacefulness, and gentleness (James 3:13-17).
Waltke spends chapters 2-3 talking about the ways pagans sought, through divinations, the will of the gods, and how God's will was (rightfully) sought in the OT. In chapter 4 he says that we don't need to do those things anymore. I won't talk about them much so as to not give too much more away, but he elaborates on God's program of guidance: Reading your Bible, prayer, developing a heart of God, seeking wise counsel, looking for God's providence (sometimes circumstances do/don't go in a certain way), if the situation makes sense, and divine intervention.
Totally. Waltke talks about the wrong ways to look for God's will and the correct, "common sense" ways to do it. The point isn't just to come to God when you're in a tough spot, get the answer, and then go on with life. It's to have an ongoing relationship with God. Life will always be filled with tough decisions, gray areas, and seemingly impossible paths. What do you do? Well, following Waltke's advice won't clear all of life's difficulties, but as you are conformed to Christ the more likely you are to know and make the right choices.
My only wish is that Waltke says after Pentecost in Acts 2, no one ever sought the Lord's will. I would have liked for Waltke to have elaborated more on different times in Acts when Paul (and Barnabas) sought the Lord. But the reason is probably that Paul probably didn't have to because he and Barnabas didn't try to "divine" the will of the Lord. They simply walked with the Lord, fasted, prayed, and used some common sense here and there.
Only by walking with Him will we have the heart of God and know what pleases Him.
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