Bible Study

Getting God’s Mind

Michael Beck

Men make terrible and dreadful decisions when such proceed from their own minds and spirits.

They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. (Habakkuk 1:7)

Man does not naturally know how to order his steps; he lacks wisdom and understanding.

O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. (Jeremiah 10:23,24)

Through His communication to His people, God exclusively enables them to have His “judgment in their goings.”

He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 147:19,20)

By setting His judgments before His people, God gives them meticulous instruction and direction as to how to respond to whatever they encounter in this life.

Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. (Exodus 21:1)

Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:37)

Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 18:4,5)

God’s rulings must be learned before they can be kept.
I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. (Psalm 119:7)

We must love God’s judgments before we will seek them out and choose them.

My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. (Psalm 119:20)

I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. (Psalm 119:30,31)

At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments. (Psalm 119:62)

Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments. (Psalm 119:164)

It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity. (Proverbs 21:15)

Without having joy in the discovery of how God wants us to think about something we will not even be “in the market” for wisdom.

Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it? (Proverbs 17:6)

Only by choosing to understand what God has to say on a matter can we know what is truly good, right, valuable, beautiful, etc.

Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good. (Job 34:4)

When man operates in his own mind he does not have right judgment or knowledge. He comes to conclusions that are directly opposite of what is right in God’s sight.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20,21)

The wicked are characterized by their unwillingness to seek and gain God’s understanding and to know His judgment on the matters they face.

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. (Psalm 10:4,5)

Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things. (Proverbs 28:5)

God teaches those who ask Him to be involved in their decision making process.

Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. (Psalm 119:66)

A love and honor for His Word and a childlike trust that “Father know best” is essential to God guiding us.

Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. (Psalm 119:127,128)

Those who don’t believe God knows best despise His Word and do not involve Him in their deliberations. But with good judgment, He “guides the affairs” of those who honor Him.

A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion (Psalm 112:5)

discretion > Hebrew – mishpat > judgment

To be guided in judgment we must be meek.

The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. (Psalm 25:9)

We are not to be guided by our own eye but by God’s eye (i.e., we are to see things the way He wants us to see them.)

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. (Psalm 32:8,9)

God is “with us” to do judgment depending upon whether we ask Him for wisdom.

And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment. (1 Kings 3:28)

The decisions that the judges in Israel made were to be ones which were right in God’s sight. He promised He would be “with them” to help them in the process of judging things righteously.

And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts. (2 Chronicles 19:5-7)

God charged those responsible to make decisions to hear each case and then judge righteously.

And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s… (Deuteronomy 1:16,17)

God loves judgment (i.e., He loves making the proper judgment in regard to all things.) Because of this He loves to help us make right decisions and wants to be involved in guiding our lives.

For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. (Isaiah 61:8)

When we are aligned with God’s standards of good and evil, we love what He loves and hate what He hates.

I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. (Amos 5:21-24)

In order for there to be proper justice (i.e. righteousness) there must be proper judgment. God is more pleased with these than any external, religious worship or service to Him.

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3)

justice > Hebrew – tsedeq > righteousness
judgment > Hebrew – mishpat > sentence, decision, verdict

God’s standard is found in His Word which reflects His love for righteousness and His hatred of evil.

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Those called to “execute judgment” in the gate were called to be very careful to themselves align with God’s standards.

These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD. (Zechariah 8:16)

What was a false oath?

An oath was a solemn promise, where one pledged to another that they would do something. A false oath is a pledge or promise that is not kept.

Those that love false oaths are those that like to manipulate others with their words, while not being entirely serious about their promise.

The welfare of every town and its citizens depended on just judgment being made in the gate. The gate was the place where the elders of a town sat, hearing causes brought to them and making decisions.

Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. (Deuteronomy 16:18)

Kings also sat in the gate, making decisions with the input of prophets.

And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. (1 Kings 22:10)

In particular, God called those who “sat in judgment” and were called to judge according to His standards, to know and apply these standards to themselves.

And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? Who hate the good, and love the evil… (Micah 3:1,2)

Only by a careful reading and heeding of God’s law in their own lives, could those in rulership, end up hating what was evil and loving what was good. In ruling well their own spirit, they would rule others well and judgment could be “established in the gate.”

Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. (Amos 5:15)

No one is exempt from being held up to the standard of the Word. Each of us must be willing to judge ourselves according to God’s righteous standard.

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear (1 Peter 1:17)

Those called to “sit in the gate” and rule others were required to be men who feared God, hating what He hates and loving what He loves.

Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens (Exodus 18:21)

Although God required His judges to walk in His righteous standard there were times when they themselves were guilty of sin.

And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. (Ecclesiastes 3:16)

The New Covenant makes it possible for us to walk in the blessing of keeping judgment and doing righteousness “at all times.”

Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. (Psalm 106:3)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.