We Get In The Worst Predicaments Because We Forget God Knows Best! We Neglect To Check With God For Many Reasons. We're In Too Big Of A Hurry, We're Feeling Pressured By Other People, We Compromise For The Sake Of Convenience, Or We Just Plain Know How We Want It To Be And We Stubbornly Blaze Ahead With Our Own Will. Sometimes, We May Even Be Doing God's Thing, But It's Not God's Time Or It's Not God's Way. Which Is Why It’s So Vital That We "Lean Not On Our Own Understanding," Which Can Only See Part Of The Picture.
Joshua 9:14-15, “So the men [of Israel] took some of their own provisions [and offered them in friendship], and [FOOLISHLY] did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant (treaty) with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation [of Israel] swore an oath to them.” (AMP)
Consider the example in Joshua 9:14-15. The Jews have been winning one victory after another over the Canaanites as they took possession of the Promised Land that God was giving them. Now, they are about to come upon Gibeon, one of the royal cities of Canaan. The Gibeonites have heard about the fall of the other cities the Jews have gone against. They know they're going down next unless they can trick God's people somehow into making a peace treaty with them, which seems unlikely in light of the fact that God's Orders are to remove every tribe from the land and Not to coexist with them!
But the Gibeonites are shrewd. They sent a delegation to see Joshua, with donkeys loaded with cracked wineskins and worn-out sacks. They wore patched sandals and old clothes, and they carried dry and moldy bread with them. The whole scam was to make it LOOK LIKE they were from far away and that they had come on a long journey. Here's how Joshua and his men decided what to do with these Gibeonites, "The Israelites sampled their provisions (so they made sure the bread was really dry and moldy) BUT THEY DID NOT INQUIRE OF THE LORD. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath." (NIV)
Do you know, within days, the Jews learned that the Gibeonites weren't from far away; in fact, they were from close by. But because they had been tricked into this treaty, they could not, by honor, remove them as God had originally commanded. As a result, the hands of the Jews were tied for years to come, and the treaty actually sparked a major battle with other armies. How did this mess happen? They decided on the basis of what SEEMED right to them, but they made the fatal mistake so many of us have made so many times before –THEY DIDN’T CHECK WITH HEAVEN...THEY DIDN'T CHECK WITH GOD! And so they blew it! And so do we!
Listen to the text in varying translation:
“The Israelites TRIED some of the food, BUT THEY DID NOT ASK THE LORD IF HE WANTED THEM TO MAKE A TREATY.” (CEV);
“So the Israelites EXAMINED their food, BUT THEY DID NOT CONSULT THE LORD.” (NLT);
Now, this is where many of us mess up and get messy! Like the Israelites, we’ll try it; take some; taste it; sample it; exam it, believe it, and even eventually accept it…but what we fail to do is to ask God what to do about it and with it! The Israelites (like many of us) were cautious, they checked out what was presented to them, however, the final decision was not theirs to make (and not ours either)!
“The Israelites took some of their supplies, BUT THEY DIDN’T ASK FOR ANY DECISION FROM THE LORD.” (CEB)
And can we be honest? We Get in the Worst Predicaments Because We Forget God Knows Best!
The decision was the Lord’s to make! They were to consult Him. And even with the decisions He allows us to be a part of, we are still to consult the Lord! And it’s not because they didn’t know any better, so they don’t even have that as a justifiable excuse and neither do we!
James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom [TO GUIDE HIM THROUGH A DECISION OR CIRCUMSTANCE], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.” (AMP) When God Himself is telling you to use His Wisdom, only a Fool would refuse!
God Is There To Help, Not To Hinder Us! But He’s not rudely forcing Himself on us either! But He’s laid out for us the safest way to travel if only we’d adhere to it! Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart AND DO NOT RELY ON YOUR OWN INSIGHT OR UNDERSTANDING. IN ALL YOUR WAYS know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and HE will make your paths straight and smooth [REMOVING OBSTACLES THAT BLOCK YOUR WAY].” (AMP) Do you realize just how smooth this journey of ours could be if only we’d humble ourselves enough to follow His lead? We wouldn’t even have to worry about the bumps in the road along the way because He promises to “…remove obstacles that block our way.” But no, we insist on doing things our own way! And what is the result of that decision?
Proverbs 16:25, “There’s a way that looks harmless enough; look again – it leads straight to hell.” (MSG) Surely that’s the destination you were hoping to reach, right?
Don’t you see, we’re much like the Israelites, as soon as something (or someone) APPEARS to be alright; APPEARS to check out; APPEARS to be on the up-and-up, we jump head long into a mess with eyes wide open! All we know is that it “…LOOKS HARMLESS ENOUGH…” but so does she (until you get married to her and her $100,000.00 debt); so does he (until his perfect tall and handsome exposes you to an STD); so does that church (but little do you know they’re only concerned with the prosperity of your pockets and not the prosperity of your soul); so does that business (until you find out the under-handed methods they use to keep it afloat)!
What am I saying? Ask God Before You Decide It or Are They Really the Answers You Were Looking For! This could literally save your very life!
Think of all the divorces that could have been avoided had the individuals sought the Lord FIRST! When our children messed up, imagine how quickly they could have clean up, if we FIRST helped them God’s way instead of ours! The many soul ties that would never have tangled up your peace of mind if only you’d sought the Lord’s decision in the matter, FIRST! How many broken hearts that would not have needed years to mend, if only we sought the Lord FIRST. Many of us would not have to start over (for the 97th time, just this week) if only we’d sought the Lord FIRST! So much unnecessary pain, so many unnecessary complications and difficulties and conflicts, and all because of our failure to seek God's direction FIRST! And in this day and time of read your horoscope; find your inner-self; reach for a higher power; let them read your palm; check out the tarot cards; let the soothsayers soothe you; (You Need to Know to Seek God FIRST!)
Isaiah 8:19-22, “When people tell you, “Try out the fortunetellers. Consult the spiritualists. Why not tap into the spirit-world, get in touch with the dead?” Tell them, “NO, WE’RE GOING TO STUDY THE SCRIPTURES.” People who try the other ways get nowhere – a dead end! Frustrated and famished, they try one thing after another. When nothing works out they get angry, cursing first this god and then that one, looking this way and that, up, down, and sideways – and seeing nothing, a blank wall, an empty hole. They end up in the dark with nothing.” (MSG)
And why would anyone want to waste time on such Foolishness when you have direct access to the Wisdom of God? That’s Who you seek…FIRST! When you’re wondering which direction and what to do, seek God FIRST! Jeremiah 33:3, “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: “Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” (MSG) With that as your best option, how could you choose anything different? You do not have to figure out life on your own (and thank God, because clearly WE are not good at decision making on our own)! And who cares, since we can simply call to our Father and He will answer His children with marvelous things that we don’t have to keep digging to find on our own!
However, truth is, we neglect to check with God for many reasons. We're in too big of a hurry, we're feeling pressured by other people, we compromise for the sake of convenience, or we just plain know how we want it to be and we stubbornly blaze ahead with our own will. Sometimes, we may even be doing God's thing, but it's not God's time or it's not God's way. Which is why it’s so vital that we "lean not on our own understanding," which can only see part of the picture. When you consult with the Lord, you're getting direction from the only One who can see the whole picture. That’s Why Counsel Before Decisions Is So Important! Proverbs 15:22, “Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.” (MSG)
Do I dare ask how much money you would not have lost if you sought God FIRST? How much of your integrity, dignity and character would still be intact if you sought the Lord FIRST? How many mistakes and missteps could you have avoided if only you asked if this or they were in His Will for your life? Maybe you wouldn’t have lost the job, the house, the car, the career, the ministry or church, if only you would have asked God for His Guidance, before deciding to Go Your Own Way…Only to Have Crashed Over the Cliff Where He Already Had Warning Signs in Place!
And LEADERS, this is dangerous for us as well, listen to the text again in closing: “JOSHUA AND THE OTHER LEADERS finally believed them. They did not bother to ask the Lord but went ahead and signed a peace treaty…” (TLB);
Leadership Means We’re Responsible For Everyone On Board, Whether We Sail Safely, or Sink Fatally. Which is why we (above all people) ought to use the Wisdom God has made available to us to lead people according to His Word, Way and Will…and NOT That of Our Own! Because in the end, these LEADERS made a decision (WITHOUT GOD) that affected the WHOLE CONGREGATION. And if we dare make the wrong decision, the Body of Christ, as a whole, is damaged. Because you can’t hurt your pinky and the rest of your hand not know what happened. And in the Body of Christ, whatever we do in the Body, affects the whole body. So let’s start today by asking the Lord to lead and guide us in the way we should go, not in the way we want to go. Let’s ask the Lord for His decision, His Word, His Will, His Way, and His Timing.
Why? Because we can avoid a lot of problems and a lot of pain if only we'll instinctively check with God FIRST. Let’s decide today to stop making messy decisions!
We have much indeed to be grateful for. However, this is also the time and season when everyone wants to be something new, try something new, go somewhere new. And nothing is wrong with New, when it’s the Lord’s doing: Isaiah 43:18-21, “This is what God says…Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’M ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING BRAND-NEW. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” (MSG) If something is to be New, let Him do it instead of you attempting to experiment with it! Let God change it; alter it; move it; or send it…not you trying to make things (you want, but may not need) to happen!
SEEK GOD FIRST! Wait On the Lords’ Timing and Direction and You’ll Never Be Steered Off Course.