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Deuteronomy 29:29

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

Any study of God’s will must note that Scripture speaks of His will in two different, compatible ways (Deut. 29:29). First, the Bible refers to the hidden will of the Lord, or His will of decree. This will includes all that ever happens, good or evil. Originating in His sovereign decree by which He governs whatsoever comes to pass, God’s hidden will always prevails (Job 42:2).

Our Father’s hidden will is — not surprisingly — unknowable. It contains many mysteries, such as God’s sovereignty over evil despite His inability to do evil Himself. He is the Lord even over sin, though “the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is, nor can be, the author or approver of sin” (WCF 5.4). God hates sin but allows it in order that He might overcome evil, judge transgression, and save from sin in glorious displays of His goodness and power (R.C. Sproul, Truths We Confess, vol. 1, pp. 78–79). In a real sense, sin is a means to the end of revealing God’s glory — the ultimate good. Still, evil remains evil and God is never culpable for it, although a full explanation of this mystery is hidden to us.

We may never know God’s hidden will, even in eternity. Yet we can know His revealed will. The Lord’s will of precept, or revealed will, details the deeds and affections that are inherently pleasing to Him (see, for example, Ps. 143:10). Scripture contains God’s revealed will, which is routinely violated.

Knowing what pleases God comes through Bible study, and such knowledge guides how we discern our vocation. If we find something we like to do, are skilled to do, and is lawful according to Scripture, then we need not worry about whether it is our calling. Labor itself is not supposed to be a curse, since the Lord instituted it before the fall (Gen. 2:15–17). We need not think God rejoices to give us a day job we hate, although the fall’s effects are felt in every vocation.

True, God sometimes gives us duties that we would not have otherwise chosen. And if others depend on our support, we are not free to quit our jobs with nothing to fall back on (1 Tim. 4:8). But the Lord is kind and knows we work best when we like what we do; thus, we can and should pursue a calling we enjoy.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

Do you find yourself in a job that is less than ideal but which you are unable to leave? Ask the Lord to give you joy in your work and look for someone who can help you find the good aspects of your present situation. If God has put you in authority over other people, look for ways that you can help those whom you supervise enjoy their jobs and see the importance of their work. Whatever your current area of work, serve your employers — and thus God — faithfully.

For Further Study
  • Psalm 100
  • Matthew 24:45–51
  • Ephesians 4:1
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:9–12

God’s Will and Your Vocation

The Wisdom of Counsel

Keep Reading What Is True Unity?

From the September 2009 Issue
Sep 2009 Issue