February 1, 2012 Ė Answers to All the Questions versus Intellect
8 And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them? The Lord answered him, Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all. Ė 1 Samuel 30:8 AMP
David was a man after Godís own heart. Like the rest of us, he made decisions in his life which he later regretted. But todayís verse shows the true heart of the man. He and his men had made the town of Ziklag their home. They had been away for a few days to help King Achish in a battle against Israel. Achishís princes feared Davidís allegiance to Israel, and insisted that David and his men be sent back home. Upon their return they found Ziklag burned to the ground. The raiders had taken all their wives and children captive. It had to be one of the lowest points of Davidís life. His men were even talking about stoning him.
What would you have done as the leader of this group of men? Most people in their rage would have immediately pursued the bandits with reckless abandon and killed as many as possible in attempts to restore their family. David didnít do that. Before David acted, he asked God. This mighty warrior, who according to the song written about him had slain his ten thousands, asked God. The most brilliant military commander of his day didnít jump right in and go after the bandits to save his wives. He stopped, prayed, and inquired of the Lord. Why? Because even though he wanted with all his heart to do what seemed right in his own eyes, he would not go if God told him not to.
Christians today are very different. I am quite sure there are plenty of men out there who would have responded differently if they had been in Davidís sandals. They would have never stopped to ask God. They would have pursued, and while in the midst of pursuit or even the battle, asked God for the strength to prevail. David wasnít like that. There are several times in the Books of First and Second Samuel where it says that David inquired of the Lord. When he asked, God answered. And when God answered, David followed Godís instructions.
But things in the Bible werenít always like that with Israelís leaders. Davidís grandson, King Rheoboam, the son of Solomon, completely missed the boat on asking God. In First Kings Chapter Twelve, Rheoboam heard a grievance from the people of Israel about having their work load lightened. Did he ask God what to do? No. He sought advice from his fatherís advisors, as well as advice from the young men he grew up with. What was the result? The northern tribes rebelled. The Kingdom of Israel split into two parts. What would things have been like if Rheoboam would have just asked God? Would the rebellion of the northern tribes been spared until another day? No one will ever know.
In my own walk with God I have failed just like Rheoboam in that I havenít asked God for answers to seemingly worldly matters. I have been one of those Christians who claim that God gives us all wisdom and we should use it accordingly. God only comes into play in spiritual matters, like attending church, at small group meetings, or in our private prayer and study time. But sometimes there is a very fine line between wisdom and ignorance. Itís godly for us to use our wisdom, but itís ignorant to not ask God. You see, many times we try to use our wisdom to try and explain things we do not understand. Whether it involves legal matters or even trying to use the voice of reason to explain why we didnít do something we know we should have done, wisdom can explain anything. But where does Godís voice fit into the equation? Shouldnít the voice of God outweigh and overrule anything our wisdom tries to explain? Oh thatís right, I forgot. Those of us who have claimed to be wise only listen to Godís voice on Sunday or in other spiritual settings: our wisdom is there for all the other times.
5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding, 6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Ė Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP
Hereís the bottom line. We cannot rely on our knowledge to get through life. We can attend college for twenty years and have eight degrees in several different fields. But we cannot rely on that. We can work one hundred hours a week at three different jobs to provide a life of luxury to our family. But we cannot rely on that. The Word says that we have to lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all our heart and mind. This is where sometimes things can get dicey. All of us claim to have Jesus in our heart, and we should. But our mind many times sees the grim reality of a situation we are facing over the horizon. Our intellect kicks in and tells us that failure looms. That is where faith has to overcome fear. That is when we have to ask God. If we know we have heard from Him, we can tell our intellect to take a hike. Unlike our intellect, God knows the outcome. Believe me, I know about this very well.
The solution is simple. Do what David did. Ask God. If he asked God if it was okay to pursue and rescue his wives, how much easier will it be for you to ask Him about anything? Ask Him if itís okay to have McDonaldís for dinner. Ask Him how to discipline your children. Ask Him where to work. Ask Him where to live. Ask Him what church to attend. Ask Him whatever you want. Unlike your intellect or that voice of reason in your head, He has all the answers.