Wednesday, January 27, 2016

First, Ask God

January 27, 2016

Sometimes we think we know more than we do. This morning's reading was from Joshua 9. Israel had been commanded to conquer the Promised Land, and to spare no one. The Gibeonites, one of the ethnic tribes that inhabited the land, saw the handwriting on the wall and knew they weren't capable of withstanding the attack they knew was about to engulf them. So they developed a plan. They got stale and moldy bread, some old, worn-out clothes and shoes, castoff wineskins, and pretended to have come from a long distance to make peace with Israel. Although at first a bit suspicious, the leaders took the Gibeonites' word for it and made a peace treaty with them.

The 14th verse is telling. They made peace, "But did not ask counsel from the LORD." Three days later the deception was discovered, but they had given their word and had to spare them. I can't count the times I thought I knew what I was doing; it was familiar territory, a no-brainer, but because I trusted in my own wisdom and insight, I made big errors. Most of the time it's not a problem to take people at their word, but failure to check in with God is always a mistake. I need to check my facts, do my research, choose as wisely as I can, but never apart from seeking wisdom from God. I cannot count the numbers of times I've been in situations where I had no clue as to the right course to take or the right words to say, and in the midst of the situation I'm silently (and frantically) asking God for help, and suddenly everything became clear and I knew which way to go, what words to say.

Life can be deceptive at times. What we see is not always what we get, so we ask for counsel from the Lord, and he promises that if we ask for wisdom, he will give it. I don't always feel immediately wise, but I trust that he is telling the truth, so that when the decision has to be made, he will help me make the right one. Tonight I am grateful for the help that is always available to those who seek it, and the wisdom God gives even when I don't feel particularly wise. The Bible says his wisdom is "pure, peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial,and not hypocritical" (James 3:17). As long as my choices partake of these characteristics, I can rest assured that God has given me the wisdom he promised, and thank him for his kindness to me.

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