What is the Permissive Will of God? 

And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them (1 Sam. 8:7 ESV).

the permissive will of god

The term “permissive will of God” is commonly used in Christian communities. Although not explicitly stated in the Bible, this idea subtly threads its way through Scripture. It refers to instances when God allows us to make decisions that diverge from His ideal or sovereign plan.

Consider a pivotal moment in Israel’s history to illustrate God’s permissive will. Desiring to emulate other nations, the Israelites demanded a human king. This wasn’t part of God’s sovereign blueprint for Israel, yet He granted their request. Therefore, God’s permissive will can be understood as His permission for our choices, even if they don’t align with His ultimate plan. However, it’s crucial to note that although God’s permissive will may deviate from His sovereign will, it never leads us into sin—God never permits sin as His will for us.

Nevertheless, caution is paramount when treading the path of God’s permissive will. The Bible presents stories like Saul’s as warnings. When Saul was anointed king according to the people’s demands, his reign ended tragically, bringing hardship for the people (1 Samuel 31). This event underscores the hidden dangers that can surface when we stray from God’s sovereign will.

As we navigate life’s decisions, we should heed Solomon’s wisdom: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” (Proverbs 3:7, ESV). There is only one safe place for us—God’s perfect will. Seek it and remain in it.


Reflect on the consequences Israel faced when they veered from God’s sovereign will (1 Samuel 8:11-14). What can this teach us about the potential dangers we might encounter when we walk on God’s permissive will?

Applying the Word

It can be tempting to opt for God’s permissive will in areas such as marriage, career, ministry, family, or finances. However, this alternate path could lead to unforeseen heartaches and headaches. In every decision, seek His guidance and wisdom to align your choices with His sovereign will.


Ask the Father to help you seek and do His perfect will always. 

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    I love this. I never want the permissive will of GOD for myself. People throw that around like it was nothing. And for sure this devotional describes it perfectly. Had to POST it on my FB page.

  2. Very good insight that most people do not understand. They blame God for their own mistakes. If they will read scripture more, they will learn this.

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