November 16, 2015

1 Samuel 23:4 Once again David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him.

The Bible has numbers of examples of people gaining tactical advantage because they inquired of God. Objectively speaking, it is only logical to inquire of someone who is omniscient! However, there are two hindrances to that. Even if we believe that God knows, we have to believe that He cares enough to tell us if we ask. The second problem is that we don’t know how to listen when He answers. In this particular instance, Abiathar had brought the ephod to David (verse 6) This was a priestly garment, and the breastpiece, worn over the ephod, had a pocket in which the Urim and Thummim were kept. (Exodus 28:6-30) The Urim and Thummim are objects of great conjecture. Whatever shape or color they were, they were different, and one was taken to be a yes answer and the other a no. Formal inquiry would be made of the Lord, the priest would put his hand in the pocket, and whichever one he brought out was taken as the Lord’s answer. That obviously would be effective only with yes-or-no questions, but this story illustrates how David asked those. We don’t have anything quite that simplistic, but God is just as interested in talking to us as He was to David. Whether flipping a coin, which would seem to have the same odds if it were strictly by chance, is a method of which the Lord would approve is something I can’t answer definitively, but I would think that if the heart is genuinely open and submitted to Him, He might use it. The point is whether the question is truly submitted to God, and we are willing to accept whatever answer He gives. A more New Testament method is listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. However, here too we have to be sincerely inquiring of God, not just seeking justification for what we already want to do, and we have to be committed to obedience, whatever the Lord tells us. If we have that commitment, we will be surprised at how often the Lord directs us.

I have wavered in various decisions, but not as much as I see some people wavering. Some become essentially paralyzed by their inability to decide. As a pastor I am often called upon for advice, but I must be careful that I don’t “render a decision” that they then blame on me if things don’t turn out as they hope. My father was notorious for answering, when asked for advice, “What does God say?” The thing of it is, often we know what He is saying but we don’t really want to accept it. I know too well from experience that if I am tuned to my flesh, I’m not going to listen to God. I am not to look down on people who are indecisive, but rather come alongside them to encourage faith that God really does have a good plan for them, (Jeremiah 29:11) and that He will enable them to follow that plan if they will submit obediently to Him.

Father, You know who is most on my heart as I write this, but he is far from the first and certainly won’t be the last person in my care to face such a crossroads. I ask You to give him not only faith but courage. The devil is dumping fear on him at a great rate. Help him submit to You so that he may resist the devil. (James 4:7) May all of Your plans, for him and for each of us, be fulfilled indeed, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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