Have you ever rushed into a decision, just to realize that it wasn't the right one? Or even worse--that you had been deceived? Have you ever thought afterward, "I guess I should have asked God about that one before I rushed into it"? In Joshua 9 we read the story of the Gibeonites. Israel had been busy defeating all their enemies in the promised land, as God had commanded them. God had told the Israelites to completely wipe out the nations near them, because these were perverse nations (think "infant sacrifice" and child prostitutes) and God did not want Israel to chase after these peoples' gods or practices. The Gibeonites were freaked out by everything going on, but they weren't stupid. They sent an envoy to Israel with "worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wine-skins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly" (Joshua 9:4-5).
Why would they do this? When they got into Israel's camp they told them that they had heard about what Israel had been up to and that they were from a distant land seeking peace with Israel. They tricked Joshua into making peace with them and into making a covenant with them to let them live.
Later on, the Israelites found out what happened--that the Gibeonites were actually from right next door--and debated what to do, but because of their covenant with them they chose to let them live.
Do you know what was missing in this narrative? Israel, God's chosen people with whom he had given commands and blessings, never once asked God's opinion on the matter. They ended up having to make concessions due to their wrong decision.
Now, I'm not trying to say that we need to pray about every decision we make in life. That would be insane! Asking God what you should have for dinner or if you should watch television or a movie is overkill. But when we look at making a life-altering decision, or one that could have consequences or anything substantial; as Christ-followers, shouldn't we give him the opportunity to show us how to proceed? Isn't that the definition of "following"?
So next time you have a decision to make, let me encourage you to take some time and pray about it. You never know what might happen when you ask God's opinion.
How has asking God's opinion worked in your life? Leave your comments below or on Facebook!
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--Pastor Stephen Valcourt