When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he offered shortcuts. He pointed out a fast track to accomplishing God’s will, an easy shortcut around the cross. Satan loves to offers shortcuts. He always says, “Hey, here’s what God has promised to give to you, but God’s ways take too long and require too much effort. I can give these things to you right now if you will just worship me.” Satan is the king of instant gratification. He was the one who first came up with the slogan, “Your way, right away.” And the trick to his temptations of this sort is that he always offers us God’s promises, but with a shortcut.
Remember Abraham? What was his temptation? “Abraham, God said that you would have a son. But you haven’t had one yet, so just go and sleep with your wife’s maidservant Hagar. That will give you a son.” And Abraham did it, and we are still feeling the consequences of that choice.
Then there was David. “David, God promised that you would be king. And here is Saul, asleep in this cave. Go ahead and kill him, then you can be king. He does deserve to die, you know.” But David did not do this, and became one of Israel’s greatest kings.
As you read through the Bible, watch for these sorts of situations. God promises something to someone, and only a few verses or only a chapter or two later, that person will discover an opportunity for a shortcut. They are offered the thing that God promised, but in order to get it, they have to break a command of God. They may have to lie, cheat, or kill, but they get what God promised them, and so they justify their actions in order to “obtain the will of God.” Generally, obtaining God’s goals by breaking God’s will ends in disaster.
Accomplishing God’s will must be done in God’s time and according to God’s ways. Any other method does not truly lead to the result God intends.