I despise making life changing decisions. I so want to make the “right” decision, that the process nearly paralyzes me. Making a decision is infinitely harder when my whole family is involved. How do you meet everyone’s needs?
When life presents you with a difficult situation, how do you know whether to dig your heels in or retreat? And when is simply waiting best?
God works in various ways in the Bible. He always tells us not to fear, but the methods He encourages us to use to overcome an obstacle can be vastly different.
Take for example the stories of Joshua and the Israelites as they sought to conquer the promised land. Jericho was their first recorded target. Instead of immediately attacking, they were told to march around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day they marched around seven times then blew horns and shouted and the walls simply fell down.
When they went to take Ai, God told them to go forward as if to attack, then run away. Once they were a distance from the city, the Israelites were to ambush the people of Ai. In later situations, the Israelites were simply told to go forth and attack whatever army it was they were trying to overthrow.
Another story that stood out to me recently is the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. He is informed that a vast army from Edom (along with its allies) was marching against him of such size they didn’t have the resources to overcome them. Jehoshaphat gathered the people together and prayed fervently. A man by the name of Jahaziel received a message from the Spirit of the Lord. He was told Jehoshaphat’s army should not be discouraged, but should march out against the army of Edom and take their positions. They were to simply stand still, though, and God would take care of the rest. Jehoshaphat obeyed, and as his army stood there chaos occurred among Edom’s army as their own allies began attacking them as the Israelites stood and watched!
Now, in each of these stories we see different sets of instructions.We see God giving them goofy directions. Sometimes they had to run, sometimes they had to barrel forward. And once in awhile the people of God had to wait and let God take care of the rest. Can you even imagine what it was like for them?
All of these stories have one thing in common, though. The leader sought God’s guidance and then did what He said. Each scenario shows ultimate trust in their creator.
As we make decisions and fight our own personal battles, I think this is an important lesson to remember. Unfortunately, God doesn’t speak to us so clearly, but we can rely on his Word, stirrings in our spirit when we pray, and the godly counsel of others.
Life is messy. Seek to listen and follow through. History tells us that there is no need to fear when we do what God expects of us. It does take great courage to listen and obey, but the outcome is worth it when we do.
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15