I must admit that often when I ask someone a question, I don’t listen well to their response. Am I really interested in the other person or preoccupied with my own plans and thoughts? Or have we ever asked someone’s advice and then turned around and done the other thing?
Jehoshaphat began his reign over Judah very well, but then he married into the family of the infamous King Ahab of Israel and got drawn into some unwise situations. Ahab proposed that Jehoshaphat go to war with him against another nation. When Jehoshaphat wanted to first get God’s guidance on the matter, Ahab provided him with 400 lying prophets who enthusiastically promoted Ahab’s plan. Jehoshaphat saw through that and asked for a real prophet—one who would give God’s word.
I have to smile at Ahab’s response: “Yes, there is one, but I don’t like him because he never prophesies anything good about me; always bad.” Well, duh!
So Micaiah is called and eventually predicts how Ahab is going to be killed in the proposed battle. Ahab locks Micaiah up ignoring his warning, and—what does Jehoshaphat do? He wanted to know God’s decision, didn’t he? He asked for it, didn’t he? He heard it, didn’t he?
But he ignored it and went ahead to do what he’d already decided to do beforehand! He had a close call that day in the battle (Ahab was killed), but God was merciful. (Read about it in 2 Chronicles 18.)
So when I ask God for His guidance, am I really listening and willing to follow? Or do I just want His blessing on my own plan?
If one believes the proverb, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” then I ought to be doing pretty well right now. Jet lag is luring me to bed way too early in the evening. (My husband had to keep waking me up as we watched a documentary last night about diamonds.) And in the morning I’m popping out of bed too early again. (That’s why I’m writing a blog in the morning!)
But as for being healthy, wealthy, and wise—my Scripture reading just now reminded me of the real secret of success in all those areas:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
WISE: Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
HEALTHY: Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
WEALTHY: Honor the LORD with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine. (Proverbs 3:5-10)
So, Benjamin Franklin, move over. Here’s a better plan for success!
Is fire good? It’s good under my cooking pot (I like a gas, rather than electric, stove) but not inside a pan of grease. It’s great to have as a campfire, but not loose in the forest. Fire is awesome, powerful, purifying, destructive, fearful, enlightening….
In Exodus, God appeared as fire several times. First to Moses in a burning bush (Exodus 3), commanding his attention and obedience as He commissioned him to go to Egypt to rescue his people. Imagine listening to a fire and even arguing with it, as Moses did!
The next time Moses encountered God as fire was when the Israelites left Egypt (13:21-22). God led them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day which turned into a pillar of fire at night. This fire guided them and gave them light, comfort and protection. God’s presence was actually visible to them.
Thirdly, God appeared as a fearsome, blazing fire that came down onto Mount Sinai (19:16-18) producing thick, black smoke and causing the whole mountain to quake. The terrified people were forbidden to come near, nor did they want to.
Is God a tame God whom we can control like a campfire or a flame under our cooking pans? As the writer of Hebrews says, “Our God is a consuming fire.” No, I can’t control God, nor would I want to. My prayer is that He will control me!
Here’s an article that has more on this topic: http://www.gotquestions.org/consuming-fire.html
Stay tuned for another post on the other side of God’s character which was revealed on top of that fiery mountain.
We took a two-hour nature hike the other day. It was gorgeous but tough, too. At times it seemed like the trail must end at the top of a hill or at a rock face—but we had confidence it would continue and it would be okay. Why?
1) This trail was designed and maintained (to some degree) by a reputable resort.
2) We could see the footprints of others who had gone that way recently. In fact, we’d gotten a recommendation of that trail from friends who were just leaving as we arrived.
3) My husband was with me, to give me a hand in the more treacherous places.
The spiritual applications should be obvious.
And as we went, a song kept cycling through my head:
Footprints of Jesus
Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.
Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.
Then at last when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.