"By the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed."
- Matthew 18:16 NASB
Years ago, I heard a powerful teaching about how, in certain situations, we can discern God's will by asking Him to confirm it through the mouths of others. This biblical principle is based on Jesus' words in Matthew 18:16 (NASB), where He tells His disciples: "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed." The Lord has allowed me to use this principle in certain cases when I've sought Him in prayer and in the study of His Word, and have still had trouble discerning His will for me. One such case was when I began having some serious tooth pain recently, and I hesitated to make an appointment with my dentist because we had no dental insurance. I desperately wanted to know the Lord's will, because we would have to rely heavily on His provision to cover the cost of my treatment. As I sought the Lord in prayer, I said--"Lord, You know our financial situation and our lack of insurance coverage now. If it's Your will for me to see the dentist at this time, then please cause Joe to confirm that I should go." When I approached my husband about the matter, he urged me to make an appointment right away. As it turned out, I was so thankful that I had seen my dentist without delay, because I had some significant tooth problems that needed prompt attention. We became especially confident that we had the Lord's blessing, when He put it on my dentist's heart not to charge us a penny for the visit.
I have seen God's people successfully use this principle with their doctors, employers, coworkers, and neighbors, as well as with relatives and friends. We all have people in our lives who the Lord can use to guide us along His chosen paths for us. Sometimes, others will readily agree with what we believe is God's best for us. But then there are the times when someone will stubbornly refuse to come into agreement with us. In some cases, it's the Lord who is causing them, or allowing them, to be disagreeable, for our own good. In other cases, the person we consult will set himself or herself against God's will. We always have the option of asking the Lord to change their hearts, but if He chooses not to, we must trust that there's a good reason why He doesn't. Scripture says: "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as are the watercourses; He turns it whichever way He wills." (Proverbs 21:1 AMP) Quite often, I hear from young people who are frustrated about their parents not allowing them to do something that they are convinced the Lord wants them to do. I tell them to pray and ask God to change their hearts, for He is certainly able to do that, if He so chooses. Throughout the pages of the Bible, we see examples of the Lord's ability and willingness to soften or harden people's hearts in order to suit His divine purposes.
What if WE are the ones who are sought out by others to confirm God's will in their life? In that case, we would be wise to pray for the Lord's wisdom before we decide to agree or disagree, because He will hold us accountable for our decision. Scripture gives us a very clear description of godly wisdom: "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere." (James 3:17 TLB) While believers are called to take a firm stand against wrongdoing, we must be sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit's leading to be ready to "yield to others" when God calls us to.
A word of caution: There will be times when the Lord will expect us to obey Him in a matter without confirming His will for us through someone else. In those cases, we will have to rely solely upon His Spirit and His Word. What daunting circumstances are you facing today that are begging for God's supernatural wisdom? Right now, ask the Lord if it would please Him to guide you through the mouth of someone else.
Prayer: Lord, help me to discern when it's Your will to confirm Your best for me through someone else. Remind me that in some cases, it will take some time for You to change someone's heart. Make me sensitive to Your Spirit's leading, so that I will promptly come into agreement with those things You want me to. Thank You for the divine wisdom and grace that are my inheritance in Christ!
- J. M. Farro