Thursday, January 18, 2007

But God #3

But God #3

But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. -- Exodus 13:18; English Standard Version (emphasis mine)

Recently I was playing golf with some friends in a charity tournament. We were perplexed about a certain situation we were in, wondering whether we would break the rules if we proceeded with that which we had in mind to do. There was no one around to ask at the moment. I reasoned that we should do one thing; one of my teammates agreed; one of my teammates thought we should pursue another course; the final teammate said he honestly didn't know what to do. As we reasoned one of my teammates suggested that another team had followed a certain course of action; I said that method would constitute cheating. There we stood, four Christian men, honestly wondering what to do. I said, "Listen, those guys have to sleep with their own consciences, but we have to answer to God." We agreed to pursue what seemed to be the most ethical course BECAUSE of our love for the Lord and His truth. The moment we agreed a tournament official came by; we asked which course of action was correct and he confirmed that we had selected the correct course of action.

Golf is a silly game and that was a long illustration to make what I hope to be a very good point.

In seeking what to do, where to go or in every decision of life we should consider the "But God" factor. In this case I am simply talking about entering God into every aspect of our thinking...even silly golf games.

Think of the Israelites wondering around in the Wilderness in the years between Egypt and the Promised Land. We often make it sound like they just roamed around from here to there; groping for direction. Not so! They had the "But God" factor in full effect!

Physically, they were literally following God by a pillar of fire at night and pillar of smoke during the day. Spiritually speaking, God gave them His law during this time and helped them figure out how to follow Him through it. They had physical, moral, legal, and spiritual leadership in God. Through that, God took all of the mystery out of discerning what to do in life.

Now, we often think our decisions are clouded by ambiguity, and we usually call such things "gray area". There are plenty of principles AND precepts to cover gray areas if we will but hunt them out. Not to mention the wonderful privileges of prayer and wise counsel. Also, in making moral decisions it is ALWAYS better to err on the side of caution until clarity comes.

Back to the is clear that our lives should be led and ruled by the "But God" factor. In that I mean to assert that we should constantly consider what God would have us do. That should overrule logic and feelings.

I believe, like the Israelites, that God would NOT have us wondering around aimlessly. He desires to give us direction! Like the Israelites, we have God's law. Unlike the Israelites, we don't have God's presence going out before us (at least we don't have only if only is not enough); we ALSO have the Spirit of the Living God in us! That is an important difference!

The points I want to make are simple...

I didn't know what to do with my life, BUT GOD did.

I don't know what do with a lot of things that are happening in my life, BUT GOD does.

I don't know what is going to happen between now and heaven, BUT GOD does.

I am not alone. I am not without purpose. I am not without direction. I am not without help. As long as I have breath I can seek God's face and presence and KNOW that He desires to intimately lead me where only He knows is right to go. I may DECIDE to go this way or that or DECIDE to do this or that...that is the wonder of free will...


Think about that for a moment.

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