Day One – God’s permissive will

Today’s Scripture: 1 Samuel 8:1-22; Romans 12:2

Years ago, there was a popular teaching—and debate—around God’s permissive will vs. His perfect will, based on Romans 12:2. Some argued that obeying God’s permissive will was better than no obedience at all. Personally, I believe there is only one safe route when it comes to obeying the Lord—His perfect will.

“Permissive will” is similar to a child badgering her mother, “Pleeeeze let me have a candy bar.”

“No. We’re eating dinner in a few minutes. It’ll ruin your appetite.”

“No it won’t. I promise! I’ll eat every bite on my plate—even the broccoli!”

“I said no . . . “

I think you get it. Mom relents, the kid eats the candy bar, doesn’t finish her dinner, and she’s sent to her room. Mom’s perfect will was broccoli is better for you than candy. But, since the child persisted, she permitted the child to have what she craved and face the consequences.

When my daughters incessantly begged for something I knew wasn’t the best for them, I would respond, “Okay. If that’s what you want, go ahead. But, when you get hurt, I won’t feel sorry for you. I will help you, but I won’t feel sorry for you.”

This week’s quest will give us an idea of the consequences the Israelites faced after begging God for a king. His will was for Israel to be set apart from other nations and have no ruler other than Himself. The people, however, wanted to be ruled by a king like the other nations. Even in their selfish disobedience, God showed mercy.

Almost as if He was saying, “When you get hurt, I won’t feel sorry for you. But I will help you.”

  • Have you ever debated over the permissive and/or perfect will of God? What were the end results?
  • What makes the thought of God having a permissive will so appealing to some people?