Rash Decisions, or God Decisions?
This post will require some interaction on your part – and we do ask that you take a couple of minutes and do this, as it will provide some very good examples for the rest of the post. If you have a Bible somewhat handy (which you should – Bibles that collect dust or never see the light of day can’t do anything in your life), flip to the book of 1 Kings, chapter 18, and start at verse 20. Read to verse 40. If you don’t have a Bible, this link has the story: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings%2018:20-40&version=MSG . Remember the basics of that story, we’ll come back to it.
This story is in Hosea, chapter 3, verses 1-3. Feel free to use the index if you can’t find Hosea, although it is very good to know where things are located in the Bible without the index. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hosea%203:1-3&version=MSG for those who don’t have a Bible handy. Remember the basics of this one too, we’ll have one more example.
Our last story we’ll talk about is in Judges chapter 7, verses 2-8. Here’s the link if you need it: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges%207:2-8&version=MSG
There are so many more stories that fit this category – David vs. Goliath (1 Samuel 17), Jonathan and his armor bearer (1 Samuel 14), and Abraham leaving his homeland (Genesis 12) are just some examples.
So what is the point of these stories in this post? They are all stories about God leading or directly telling someone to do something that everyone else thinks is totally stupid. In the first story, Elijah (one man) challenges the prophets of baal (450 people) and the crowd, which at this point is for the prophets of baal and against Elijah. If Elijah was someone you knew, would you be calling them out, saying “You’re Insane! Don’t you know how bad of a chance you have!?” Think about it. But that’s not the extent of this situation – Elijah ask for buckets of water to be poured over his altar. I’m pretty sure we all know you don’t pour water over something you want to burn. What do you think the crowd thinks of him now? How about when he asks for water two more times?
Second story – Hosea and his decision. God tells him to go and find a prostitute, marry her and have kids with her (chapter 1). How many of you don’t think that’s a very good idea on your own? But God will use Hosea and his new wife as an example, a living metaphor of God’s love for wayward Israel. So what happens after that? Hosea’s wife, Gomer, goes back to other lovers. Ouch. In chapter 3 (what you read) God tells Hosea to go buy her back! How many people do you know who would go and buy back someone who ran away from them and have no desire to remain faithful?
Third story involves Gideon rising up against the Midianites. The Midianites were a formidable force, or else Israel wouldn’t have been under their control. I’m no military commander, but I know generally the more troops, the better. Gideon had 32,000 troops at his disposal, but he sends 22,000 away. 10,000 is still a good number – but Gideon narrows it down to 300 men. Why would anyone in their sane mind take only 1/100th of their available fighting force to hold a mass uprising?
In all three stories, God directed the actions of these men. To the human eye, God’s direction in these cases seem off-base at best, ridiculously insane at worst. Make no mistake, I’m not saying God doesn’t know what He is doing. His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. But God will sometimes call us to do something that seems ridiculous to the rest of the populace. There’s a lot of reasons why – for one, it builds faith when you step off of the metaphorical cliff and He catches you. It humbles you – you start to learn provision and deliverance comes by the Lord and not your own power. Without a doubt, many people will ridicule you. At best they will hold their tongue and only think these things, but often these people tell you their faithless, blind opinions and actively try to hold you back. Don’t get mad at them, they don’t know what you know. And when the Lord comes and rescues you or fulfills what He called you to do, these people start to see God’s power.
Let me share with you a bit of our story – those who know us either from relation or facebook can verify this situation is true. We felt God’s call to move up to an area 2 ½ hours away – no relatives live near there, we don’t have job leads there, we don’t have house leads there, we only feel called to a certain church up there, and believe this area is where we will start our ministry. Beyond that, we don’t know much. At the start of this calling, we were working at a YMCA camp which also provided our housing in our own 3-bedroom private house and paid all the related bills. How many people know that’s quite a good deal? But we knew we were not to be there any longer, and we needed to move to this other area. What’d we do? We left that job and house. We obeyed and took the initial step of faith. Neither job or house were lined up yet, so we were graciously allowed to stay with Courtney’s family in a basement bedroom (5 minutes away from our previous work/home). We are very thankful for this provision, but I believe every married couple needs their own house. It’s been a while now, and it’s been difficult and frustrating – we didn’t expect this situation to last so long, or contain so many ups and downs. But just because it’s going differently than we predicted does not mean we ‘misheard’ or made it all up. God works much differently than we expect, and this time has been a time of character development. We’ve grown tremendously while we’ve been here. However, as much peace God has given us that He wants us in that area and however well we try to explain following God’s will, others don’t understand. Some have just said comments of doubt, but others have told us we are naïve, making rash decisions, on the wrong path, following our own will, etc. It’s discouraging, but mainly because these people are living a life without faith, a life where God is just a Sunday acquaintance. In the end though, we know that God will pull us through to where He wants us in life. We will do what we know God wants us to do, no matter what people say. We encourage you to do the same in your life, as God can really start to work with you and bless you as you step out of your comfort zone.
The BOTTOM LINE: Do whatever God leads you to do. Don’t despair when others criticize your choices, as they don’t yet understand a life of faith. Give them a good example of someone who trusts God.