One of those Evangelical concepts that hasn’t quite resonated with me is that of the “perfect will of God” for your life, that it is imperative to find that will and to live it. If you don’t, you’ll miss it big time. It’s not that God’s will is not perfect, it’s that the creation isn’t, and achieving perfection just doesn’t happen on this side of eternity.
Probably the strongest refutation the Scriptures have on the whole concept of the “perfect will of God” can be found when Israel, after years of judges raised up by the Lord, opted to have a king. God’s opinion of that decision–which has political implications as well–can be found in my post What Happens When You Want a King. It’s worth pointing out that we eventually got to the Davidic monarchy, then to Jesus Christ in the line of David, so in spite of the mistake of this desire God moved us towards perfection anyway.
Samuel reminded Israel of their folly later:
And now stand still, and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat-harvest to-day? I will call upon the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain; and know ye and see, that your wickedness is great which ye have wrought before the Lord, having asked for yourselves a king. And Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunders and rain in that day; and all the people feared greatly the Lord and Samuel.
And all the people said to Samuel, Pray for thy servants to the Lord thy God, and let us not die; for we have added to all our sins this iniquity, in asking for us a king. And Samuel said to the people, Fear not: ye have indeed wrought all this iniquity; only turn not from following the Lord, and serve the Lord with all your heart. And turn not aside after the gods that are nothing, who will do nothing, and will not deliver you, because they are nothing. For the Lord will not cast off his people for his great name’s sake, because the Lord graciously took you to himself for a people. And far be it from me to sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will serve the Lord, and shew you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth and with all your heart, for ye see what great things he has wrought with you. But if ye continue to do evil, then shall ye and your king be consumed. (1 Samuel 12:16-25 Brenton)
Samuel reminded Israel in a very visible way that wanting a king was a mistake. But he also exhorts Israel, in spite of their mistake, to follow the way that their God had set before them, which was more important than whether they had a king or not. Failure to do that would result in disaster.
In these days when everyone is looking for an “ideal” ruler, it’s worth remembering that there are more important things and people than our earthly rulers and government.