Online Bible Study, Week Four: Chapters 7 & 8

It’s Week 4 in our 8-week study of Priscilla Shirer’s Discerning the Voice of God!  Can you believe we’re about half-way through?

Even last week we had ladies introducing themselves to the group and continuing to post in previous weeks.  Please read back through their comments so you don’t miss anything.

My Thoughts

Life is like . . .”A box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”

Well, maybe, but for many of us life seems more like standing in the woods with 20 paths to choose and only one way is the will of God.  You eeny, meeny, miney moe, cross your fingers, travel down a road and hope it’s the one God wanted you to choose.

Someone said to me this week, “I just want to make sure this is God’s will.”

Have you heard that?  Have you said that? About a job, who to marry, where to go to college and what to study, what car to buy, where to live, about a million choices you’ve had to make over time?

A few weeks ago, I wrote: “Sometimes we envision God’s will for our lives as a hit or miss discovery.  We occasionally stumble into God’s will and then other times trip right out of it.

When we worry and fret over God’s will in that way, we are saying that God is fickle and demanding, that He removes His love and favor at whim if we fail to choose the right answer in the multiple choice test of life.

As long as our hearts are set on obedience and the desire of our heart is to be in God’s will, we can trust the God who created communication to communicate His desires to us.”

Should we desire to do God’s will?  Most definitely.  Walking with Him is always the best place to be.  Are there things we can do to help us discern God’s will?  Sure.  Know the Word.  Seek Godly counsel.  Pray. And then trust Him.

On page 97, Priscilla Shirer writes:

David concluded Psalm 119:10 (NASB) with these words: “Do not let me wander from Your commandments.”  Notice that he puts the responsibility for staying in the will of God on God Himself.  He says, “You, God—please don’t let me wander from Your will!”  Our responsibility is to get to know God.  His is to keep us from wandering from His will for our lives.

That’s incredible freeing for me, to know that my job is to know Him; His job is to direct me.  We won’t just fall out of God’s will one day.  We actually have to climb out in purposeful disobedience.

Chapter Outlines:

Chapter Seven

On page 92, she writes, “He moves your relationship with Him from a mental one to an experiential one that reveals even more about Him.  As you move from knowing about God, to experiencing God, to knowing God, the more clearly you will discern His voice.”

She highlights over the course of both chapters several of God’s attributes revealed in His names:

  • Jehovah-Jireh, God our Provider, p. 92
  • Jehovah-Rohi, God our Shepherd, p. 93
  • El-Shaddai, the All-Sufficient God, p. 94
  • Jehovah-Shalom, God of Peace, p. 102

She notes on p. 95 that, “As hard as he (Satan) tries to imitate the voice of God, he will never sound exactly like the real thing; and the more intimate we are with God, the more quickly we’ll be able to tell who is really speaking.”

On p. 95, she challenges us to make sure we are not “voice hunting more than God hunting.”

Chapter Eight:

On p. 103, she notes that peace shouldn’t just “be a part of our lives; it is to rule in our lives.”  Having peace in a situation is a powerful way to discern God’s direction.

Not only that, but she reminds us that relational peace should help us decide what to do.  “Peaceable relationships are important to God.  Therefore, we can conclude that the Holy Spirit will not lead us to do anything that in any way hinders peace and unity in the body of Christ” (p. 105).

Your Thoughts:

  • What name of God is most precious to you right now and why?  (She gives some examples, but you don’t need to confine yourself to the names she chooses).
  • What do you think about the idea that “it is God’s responsibility to cause you to hear and recognize His voice”? (p. 98).
  • How does peace factor into how you make decisions?

    Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

19 thoughts on “Online Bible Study, Week Four: Chapters 7 & 8

  1. Linda Meredith says:

    AMEN-as all my devotions say-be in the Word and continuously in relationship with Him-if you know Him-you will hear His voice and know His will!

  2. Michelle Betts Girard says:

    These chapters were a little different for me.

    ■What do you think about the idea that “it is God’s responsibility to cause you to hear and recognize His voice”? (p. 98).

    I loved parts of chapter 7 but the very part that brought you (Heather) peace was unsettling to me. Maybe this is just because we just finished Jude in Sunday school and I have been thinking about people who pervert the concept of God’s grace to do what they please, but the idea that if we aren’t following God’s will it is God’s fault because it is His job to keep us there bothers me. It just seemed a leap from “don’t let me wander from Your commandments” to it isn’t my fault if I am out of God’s will.

    That said I also understood her analogy about being a parent and it being your job to keep your children headed in the right direction.

    Seems to me that we are to earnestly seek God’s will. His job is to reveal what that is for us and then we have to choose whether or not we are going to take the steps to follow. Daily not just for salvation but everyday. That to me is what free will is. I don’t know I might have made too much out of it but like I said that part bothered me. But if I jump and make a choice to go one direction or another without seeking God’s will I don’t see how it is His fault if I go the wrong way.

    Now what I like about Chapter 7 kinda has a theme running through it:

    The quote in the beginning on page 92 “A little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about Him.”

    On page 95 “Had knowing His will taken precedent over just knowing Him”

    On page 96 “Often what we want to know most is where God wants us to go and what He wants us to do…We tend to seek God’s direction…more than we seek Him (I left out the parts about blessings because for me right now it is about direction)


    On page 98 “Seek a Person instead of a plan. Seek a relationship instead of a road map”

    I can’t help but wonder if this is what I have done for along time.

    ■What name of God is most precious to you right now and why?
    Jehovah-Go’el – Lord my redeemer. Just because 🙂

    • Heather C. King says:

      I appreciate your point that we can’t blame God for the times we step out of His will, but I think she pretty clearly differentiates between people who are really seeking God’s will and who are willing to obey versus those that know exactly what God wants them to do and disobey anyway. This in no way excuses disobedience. I don’t think she would ever intend it to be taken that way—that someone could turn their back on God and then shrug off responsibility and blame Him? No way.

      I think of God’s will as something we have to purposely and with effort climb out of. That’s what’s freeing to me. Rather than feeling paralyzed about the choices I make, I seek God, I listen for Him, I look to His Word for confirmation, I move in the direction I believe He is leading me. Then, I trust Him, that if I misstep, He’ll bring me back; He’ll close the necessary doors and open the right ones.

      That is what I meant when I wrote: “We actually have to climb out in purposeful disobedience.” Of course we can climb out; we can choose to disobey; and we’ll have to take the consequences for that if we do. But, I believe that if we are seeking after God and wholeheartedly want to follow His lead, He’ll do just that—lead.

    • Heather C. King says:

      Good question! I can’t tell because I automatically get emailed with comments. I do think you need to check the box at the bottom of each individual post in order to receive comments to it in your email. But, I’d love to hear if that’s working also.

      • Marie Auker says:

        I’m getting the follow-up comments just fine. I also started getting Heather’s devotional writings about 2 weeks ago. Not sure how I ended up getting those, but I’m glad I did!

      • Heather C. King says:

        Marie, you subscribed to the blog itself and when you did that, it started sending you my devotionals as email messages. I’m glad that was a pleasant surprise and not a bad one 🙂

        Is this working for you now, Michelle?

  3. Janis Hedgepeth says:

    Some of the points that stood out for me in Ch. 7 included:
    Knowing God and experiencing God. This is the lesson that God taught Job and needs to teach me.
    God’s Attributes-really getting to know God=spending time with Him
    God’s Priorities-make His priorities my priorities voice hunting rather than God hunting
    God’s Responsibilities-“Seek a person instead of a plan.”
    Get to know Him through His Word and prayer.
    From Ch 8 I really appreciated the theme of knowing peace as an indicator of God’s will for me. There have been instances in my life when I experienced peace in the midst of some difficult decision making and was confident that it was definitely because I was in His will. This type of peace equates being able to discern whether or not God was speaking to me.

    I also enjoyed the following quote:
    “Peace and truth are the great subject matter of divine revelation…truth to direct us, peace to make us easy.” Matthew Henry

    I often find myself quoting James 4:7-10 because I know that Satan loves nothing more than to keep me from experiencing God.

    • Heather C. King says:

      Thanks, Janis! I love the quote you chose: “Peace and truth are the great subject matter of divine revelation…truth to direct us, peace to make us easy.” Matthew Henry It will go well with the next week’s reading because the first chapter we’ll do is on A Truthful Voice.

  4. Marie Auker says:

    It’s Saturday morning and I was feeling behind in my Bible study. Just finished reading Ch. 8 last evening and chapters 9 & 10 are really due on Monday. I was feeling like a poor student there for a while. Then I log on this morning and see that only a couple of people have actually posted anything for these 2 chapters, and I realize I must be right with the group! I haven’t tried to rush to catch up. I’ve tried to read, think, pray, and ponder. If I get behind, I get behind. I haven’t read as much of my Bible this week as I usually do either. I’ve been trying to read, think, pray, and ponderon that also. It’s amazing how much more God can teach you with a smaller amount of material when you focus on that smaller amount so much more!! It’s amazing how we think we have to fit into the world’s system. I should rephrase that. It’s amazing how the world makes us fit into it’s system. All our lives, we have to fit into the time schedules of this world. We have to go to school at a certain time, be home by a certain time, take tests by a certain date, arrive at work at a certain time, etc., etc., etc. Then we get into a Bible study and think that if we don’t keep up, do all the work by a prescribed date, be ready with our answers by a certain time, we’re just not cutting-it. I now realize how much I’ve probably missed from God over the years, in Bible studies, because I was rushing to finish the intended section “on time.” Yes, I may be behind on the group discussion. I may not know what everyone else is talking about for that week. BUT IT’S SO MUCH BETTER TO HEAR WHAT GOD WANTS ME TO HEAR, GET WHAT GOD WANTS ME TO GET, AND GLEAN WHAT GOD WANTS ME TO GLEAN!!!!!! When I was home-schooling Brian, he was doing much better academically. He can struggle with school, especially math. Then, we had the freedom to work at his pace. If he was struggling on a particular area, we could spend a couple extra hours on it, or a couple extra days if necessary. Other times, we could quickly move through things because he already had a grasp on those. I did push to keep our timing in line with the public school as far as starting and stopping the school year. I found that he retained much more and came out of the process with a much better understanding of his subjects. Now I think God is teaching this to me spiritually. If the group has moved on, and I’m ready to linger behind, that’s okay. There are things that I need to spend more time on and things that I can spend less time on. It will all balance out in the end. So…..if you’re feeling behind in this study, and you’re hurrying to catch up, DON’T! What Priscilla Shirer and Heather King has to say to you are good. THEY’RE NOT NEAR AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT GOD HAS TO SAY TO YOU!

    I really liked chapter 7. Chapter 8 was good also, but 7 spoke to me more.

    • Marie Auker says:

      I felt the need to get back on a second and add to my post. Heather, PLEASE don’t take any offense to what I said about what you say not being important. I think you are a great Bible teacher and leader!!! In the same way, I have enjoyed this book by Priscilla Shirer very much. Anyway, I hope everyone realized my intended meaning there. It was not in anyway to put down either one of these ladies in any way!!!

      • Heather C. King says:

        I’m not offended a bit! I agree with you. In fact, your comments on this reminded me that one of my first articles for the magazine was on Living the Sheep’s Life and you replied back to me after that. You said in your Bible reading that day, it was one of Jesus’s teachings on sheep and that you were reading out of a daily Bible called Seasons of Reflection.

        So, I checked out that Bible and ordered a used copy of it for myself. You should see it now, Marie. It’s tattered and falling apart. It’s my most-used Bible. What I love about it is that the days are numbered, but they aren’t matched to the calendar. So I could be on Day 50 in December and I don’t have to feel rushed or pressured. So often with One-year Bibles, if I fall behind, I feel stressed and maybe want to give up, but this has freed me from that.

        And, there are times when I don’t do a whole day—just like you said. I only do a smaller portion of the reading and meditate on that a little more before moving on.

        I think one of the things I am liking about this online study is that you can fall behind and go at your own pace and not feel like you have to drop out. You can easily pull up an old post, comment on it when you’re ready. Several ladies do their week’s post on Sundays as a way to end the week. And then, they start the next reading on Monday rather than having it done by Monday. That’s great because it is fitting into their schedule.

        I loved your thoughts. Thanks for sharing them!

  5. Karen Barnhill says:

    As I have read the chapters and everyone’s posts I keep coming back to the peace question.
    How does peace factor into how you make decisions? There is absolutely nothing like the Peace that lies with God. It can take away those butterfly feelings. it can give you a sense of confidence when adversity is staring you in the face. When I have gone to the Lord in prayer for peace over whatever the challenge may be…. when that peace comes, I feel I am in the Lord’s will and all will be ok.

    The name of God most precious to me … God the Protector with Psalm 91 coming to mind.

    I am enjoying the online format and the go at your pace. I just need to get memorizing!!!
    Thanks for having the study

    • Heather C. King says:

      I’m so glad you could do this with us and I love your posts. I was reading through Psalm 91 since your post and it’s such a comfort during hard times, and yet I never thought of God the Protector specifically. Thank you for sharing that because it has blessed me and encouraged me and gave me a new way to think of God, praise Him and trust in Him.

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