Bible Studies for Life

with Don Schuman

Sunday,  November 17

God’s Will and the Glory of God

John 11:1-4, 38-45

Everything Jesus said and did was for the glory of God the Father. In John 11, Jesus speaks and demonstrates the miraculous power of God for the magnificent glory of God.

God’s glory and will is never too late (John 11:1-4). God might not work on our timetable, but He does work for His glory. Jesus remained for the glory of God even though Lazarus’ sisters sent word of his condition. Martha and Mary sent word that Lazarus was very sick. One commendable point about them is that they did not tell Jesus what to do. They simply presented the problem and trusted God’s will.

Jesus remained for the glory of God even though He loved Lazarus and his sisters. Just because the Lord did not come right away did not mean that He did not love them. Just because He doesn’t answer our prayers as we think He should does not mean He does not love us.

Jesus remained for the glory of God even though Lazarus died. The world thinks that death is the end, but death is not the end for the child of God! To be absent in the body is to be present in the glorious glory of God!

God’s glory and will is never too hopeless (John 11:38-43). To see God’s glory, we must obey Him even when His will seems impossible. Like Romans 8, John 11:38-44 is a passage of victory for the believer. They complement each other so elegantly.

“Take away the stone.” Jesus could have moved it with a word, as He calmed the storms on the sea. However, He prompted them to act on faith, even though they had not yet imagined what He was about to do. Sometimes we must step out in faith, to step out where there is no hand to hold but His, where there is no complete understanding but His, so that we will learn to trust Him, so that we will not doubt Him, so that we can know Him in a deeper, more intimate way.

Perhaps the Lord is charting a new course in your life. Are you willing to roll the stone of doubt away and trust God’s possibilities? I suppose letting God be God is one of the hardest areas inChristian growth. Submission to His Lordship in all things grates against our old nature and the popular culture of the world. Nevertheless, to mature spiritually we must learn to trust the Lord who knows best. Be submissive. Let Him work all things out together for our good!

God’s glory and will is ever to trust (John 11:44-45). Jesus did the miraculous supernatural part, but He involved others to take a natural part by unwrapping the strips of burial cloth from Lazarus. Jesus can do what we cannot do, but He calls upon us to do what we can do by faith.

At the other extreme of those who hinder the work of the Spirit by trying to do everything themselves are those who want God to do everything. “Lord, help that person walking on the side of the road get a ride,” while we zoom by. “Lord, save my neighbor across the street, but don’t send me to witness to him.” James 2:17, 26 (KJV) says, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Faith that refuses to trust God’s will for His glory by action is just as dead as Lazarus was in the days before Jesus told him to come forth. A dead faith says I believe in Jesus, but I’m not coming to Church, I’m not going to support the Church, I’m not going to show my faith to others. Saving faith is a living faith — a faith that works and obeys! We demonstrate our faith in Christ and love for God’s will and His glory when we obey, when we follow Him, and do what He would have us do.

Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines the glory of God as “beauty, power, or honor; a quality of God’s character that emphasizes His greatness and authority.” In this lesson, we behold the glory of God. We see the beautiful power of God. We see His moral perfection, greatness, and authority. Glory to God in the highest!

Schuman is pastor of Temple Church, Myrtle.