1 Kings 18:17-21 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (Emphasis Added).
Last week we discussed the importance of making wise decisions, because all decisions have consequences. We also discussed that avoiding deciding is deciding! Such was the case with today’s Scripture setting. The people of Israel remained indifferent while Ahab led them to follow his wife’s false worship. Their indifference, or unwillingness to openly decide to serve the LORD God, resulted in incurring God’s wrath and chastisement. As with all humanity, God brought them to a point where they had to make an eternal decision!
We must be trained how to make wise decisions. A child for whom every decision is made by his parent, will most likely grow into an adult who evidences anxiety when having to decide for himself. I have counseled with many such individuals in my 40 years of pastoral ministry.
I love the story of Moses in Scripture! One reason, of many, is we can learn much from Moses about the godly principles of making wise decisions. Please consider the following Scriptures…
Hebrews 11:24-28 (KJV) “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them” (Emphasis Added).
Almost everywhere we turn, we hear someone say, “Life is not fair!” Well, it isn’t! I believe Moses would say the same thing. None of us asked to be born, and we did not ask to be born both with a sinful nature and into a sinful world! It would seem justified to declare that “Life is not fair;” however, this is tantamount to declaring that the Author of Life is unfair!
IF God had not decided to intervene as the Offended, on behalf of the Offenders, I believe the accusation that He is unfair could be accurate. BUT, as we discussed last week, God proved He is not unfair or unloving in that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!”
Moses did not ask to be born in Egypt, and he did not ask to be born at the time wherein Pharaoh ordered that Hebrew male babies should be killed. Nonetheless, God ordained that Moses would be born in such a time with a specific purpose in mind. Of course, Moses’ parents were not aware that he would be “God’s Choice” to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage at the time of his birth. And, Moses was not aware that he would be “God’s Choice” to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage while he was being raised in Pharaoh’s “house” by Pharaoh’s daughter.
God decided to choose Moses and manifested His sovereignty by ensuring that the spiritual education of Moses would be accomplished by “moving” the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter to not only save the life of Moses, but to hire Moses’ mother to nurse and nurture him. I believe that it was during this time that Jochebed, the mother of Moses, instilled godly values into the spirit of Moses. Miriam, Moses’ sister, also continued to interact with his young life.
I believe that Moses learned early in life a very critical core value relative to making wise decisions – “You cannot control the circumstances of life, but you can control the principles wherein, and whereby, you will live.”
Jesus reinforced the “Life is not fair” issue. Matthew 6:34 (KJV) “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Emphasis Added). Jesus had emphasized the loving nature of the Father in providing all that is needed to “live life” successfully. This statement was made to reinforce the previous one – Matthew 6:33 (KJV)“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
I am challenged by what Jesus is teaching in Matthew 6:25-34. Everything He is teaching here has to do with making decisions. He is presenting the Biblical Principles of deciding where we will focus our attention and earthly pursuits, and whether we will allow the circumstances of life to promote the “Awesomeness” of God’s Care, or “Anxiety” over Circumstances. Jesus is saying, “You decide, because your decision will determine your destiny!”
Life “happens,” AND God is Faithful! Of course, adverse circumstances will be present, but so will God. The more I decide to focus on the circumstances of life, whether they be advantageous or adverse, the less I’ll focus of Christ. I admit, it requires effort to practice rehearsing God’s Promises in my mind more than the persistence of evil; but, I’ve learned that the more I practice, the more easily my mind turns to the direction I’ve trained it.
Jesus left us a wonderful promise – John 14:27 (KJV) “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
When I refer to “practicing” to rehearse God’s Promises, I am admitting that it does not come easily. Very little in life that has value comes easily! You see, I may know what Scripture teaches. I may have a theological understanding. The reality of the “Peace” Jesus promises is not manifested until my theology confronts my trial in the exercised decision of faith. I do NOT believe that Scripture is validated by what I “experience,” with Christ. It is rather the opposite! My “experience” is validated by the Word of God; therefore, it requires a decision as to whether to believe God’s Word, or not.
When we review the life of Moses, we discover there were very few of his decisions that had marginal impact. When he decided to identify, and involve himself, with the Hebrews (Exodus 2:11-15), it resulted in his fleeing for his life into Midian. I suspect that Moses wished he had not made that decision! But, God redeems all that He allows!
Moses made another monumental decision – Exodus 3:3-5 (KJV) “And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground” (Emphasis Added).
Both decisions transformed the life of Moses! The first decision resulted in him fearing man. The second decision resulted in him fearing God. When we study the core values that directed Moses’ decision-making, we will discover that He never lost His reverential awe and fear of God; and, that was the wisest decision of his life! Next week we will examine these core values.