God’s Will: It’s Confusing

John D. Barry

Exodus 26–27; John 5:1–15; Song of Solomon 3:6–11

It’s sometimes difficult to understand why God does what He does, or why He asks us to do certain things. God goes so far as to list precise materials and calculations in Exod 26 for the tabernacle—the portable temple the Hebrew people built for God in the wilderness. You can imagine the conversation:

Nadab says, “Aaron, is it okay if I use leather for this curtain?”
Aaron responds, “No, you know the rules. If God commands it, you have to do it. I don’t want another golden calf incident. I made that mistake once; I won’t make it twice.”
“But there is more leather,” says Nadab.
“I’m not having this discussion any longer,” Aaron says sternly. “Let’s just get the job done.” (“For an elder, you think he would know better,” Aaron says under his breath.)

Aaron, in this fictional scene, is rightfully frustrated because God does know better. Most of us know the answer before we ask God, “Why?” But we ask Him anyway. God’s will can be confusing, and it’s for this reason that discerning it requires great prayer and a dedication to an ongoing relationship with Him. Trying to understand God’s will without that close relationship cannot only be detrimental to us, but also to others. We see this in the golden calf incident later in the exodus narrative (Exod 32).

And isn’t this often the case? God knows what we need before we do; we just don’t always realize that He has already given instructions.

Has God already given instructions for your current situation that you may not have realized yet?

This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.


John D. Barry is the CEO and founder of Jesus’ Economy, a nonprofit dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. To empower the extreme poor, Jesus’ Economy also has an online fair trade shop. John is also the general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and the former editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. Learn more about John’s work with Jesus’ Economy at www.jesuseconomy.org.