Wednesday, October 6

God's Stamp of Approval

The men of Israel sampled their provisions, but did not inquire of the Lord. --Joshua 9:14

News of Joshua and the Israelites' victory over the great stronghold of Jericho spread quickly to other nations in Canaan. People had heard of how powerful these God-fearing people were, and they were afraid of losing their cities to the Israelites if attacked. The Gibeonites decided that they would trick Joshua's army into making a treaty with them. They pleaded with Joshua and his men to spare them, and an agreement was made. Unfortunately, neither Joshua nor his men checked with God on this matter. As a result, the Israelite army was put between a rock and a hard place. God had commanded them to take over the land of the Gibeonites, but Joshua was bound by his agreement with them to not attack. Check out the rest of Joshua Chapter 9 for the details.
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No matter what decisions we make, we need to check with God. We must bathe even the simplest of matters in prayer, particularly if we are still trying to learn how to recognize God's voice. We may think that we are doing the right thing, but unless it is from God, we will be setting ourselves up for failure. As we saw in the story about Joshua, it seemed like he was being a good guy to promise to help out another group of people. However, it was God's will that the lands in Canaan belong to the children of Israel. By not spending some time in prayer, Joshua lost out on a part of what could have been a big blessing.

Every day we make decisions. I'm not suggesting that we need to spend time contemplating whether God wants us to wear blue socks or white socks , but we do need to involve him in the decisions we make. The more we talk to him in prayer, the better we will be at listening to him and recognizing how to apply his will to our lives.

This story about the Israelites makes me think of a particular time when I forgot to involve God in a big decision. A guy I knew pretty well asked me if I wanted to date him. Since I knew him from an on-campus Bible study, I figured that he was "approved" dating material. I did not spend much time at all asking if God thought that this would be a good way to spend my time. After only two dates, I realized that even though this young man was a Christian, he had some very different ideas than I did when it came to letting God be involved in his life. When he asked if I thought we should continue dating, I had to be honest and tell him that because I had not spent time in prayer regarding the relationship, I felt that I should not continue in it. I'm glad that he respected that decision and we have no regrets about the short time we shared together.

After that brief dating experience, I made a commitment to check with God before I accepted another date with anyone else. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to the man who is now my husband. One of the amazing things about our relationship is how God brought us together, and how much we prayed about our relationship before it even started. My husband told me that a few days before he asked me out on our first date, he spent more than an hour just walking around and talking to God about me and asking if it was God's will that we be together.

God wants to be involved in our lives. By including him in our decision making processes, not only will we be able to have more peace about the decisions we make, but we will have a chance to see some blessings we may not have found otherwise. He cares about the little things that matter to us, and he most certainly cares about the big things that could possibly change the direction we take in life's journey. It is important to get his "stamp of approval", especially for those big decisions.

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