December 6 - LD 49, Day 4: Cheerful Submission to God’s Will
by Rev. Martyn McGeown
Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”
Yesterday, we examined the third petition from the perspective of God’s will of command. We pray for strength to renounce our own will, and to obey God’s will. LD 49 also addresses the third petition from the perspective of God’s will of decree, namely, that we pray for grace to submit cheerfully and without murmuring to God’s will of decree. Remember that God’s will of decree will happen whether we are cheerful or not, but we must pray for submission.
The sin which LD 49 exposes is murmuring. “Grant that we…may…without murmuring obey Thy will.” Although LD 49 speaks here about “obeying God’s will,” it is profitable for us also to apply this to God’s decree. Murmuring was the great sin of the Israelites in the wilderness—when they had no water, they murmured; when they had no food, they murmured; when they did not like the leadership of Moses, they murmured. This murmuring was the fruit of discontentment and unbelief—they did not like God’s provision and they did not trust God to provide. God judged His murmuring people. He killed many of them with fiery serpents (Num 21:6) and the carcasses of the complaining Israelites fell in the wilderness. The New Testament warns us against this sin of murmuring (I Cor 10:10).
Murmuring is a temptation for us, which is why we need to pray “Thy will be done.” Sometimes, murmuring can be internal, so that we never utter a murmur in our words. The danger is that we become bitter in our spirit—bitter against life, bitter in our circumstances and bitter against God. At other times, we can utter angry, impatient words, as we struggle to submit to a trial God has sent upon us. We are even tempted to curse God, as Job was. All such murmuring is sin. Satan wants us to question our Father’s goodness. We may never do that!
LD 49 explains this in these words: “that so every one may attend to and perform the duties of his station and calling.” Each person is in a particular position in life according to the will of God. It is the will of God that some are married while others (at least for a time) remain single. Submit to the will of God cheerfully and without grumbling, and perform faithfully the duties of marriage or singlehood. It is the will of God that some have children while others (despite longing and praying for children) remain childless. Submit to that will, too, and perform faithfully the duties of your station and calling. God places some in positions of authority, and others He places under those authorities. We may seek in all lawful ways to change our situations, but we must not fret, complain, grumble, doubt the goodness of God or envy the position of others.
Murmuring against God is a rebellious spirit, and when we sense that spirit within us we must pray, “Father, Thy will be done. Break my stubborn will. Break my self-will. Mould my will to agree with Thine.”
- Date: December 6
Rev. Martyn McGeown (Larisa)
Pastorates: Missionary-pastor in Limerick, Ireland for the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Northern Ireland - 2010; Providence PRC (Hudsonville, MI), Sept. 2021Website: www.prca.org/current/news/churches/usa-canada/providence-prc-hudsonville-mi
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