Monday, September 10, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 162

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Joshua continued...

If we are honest with ourselves, and think back just on the last week, we will be amazed at how many decisions we’ve made without consulting God, or asking God whether or not we should proceed with a given idea or plan.

One decision without consulting God leads to two, two lead to four, and only when we’ve thoroughly dug ourselves a hole big enough for a semi to drive through do we realize the error of our ways and cry out for God’s help.

Digging ourselves holes we must subsequently climb out of is a waste of the most precious resource we have been given in this life, time.

Would not our time be better spent in prayer, than in attempting to undo what we, of our own volition attempted to do in the first place?

Would it not have been more productive for Joshua and the people to come before the Lord with prayer and supplication before going off to conquer Ai than wallowing in self-pity and doubt after having been defeated?

We learn from those who came before us so we don’t make the same mistakes as they did. If we fail to learn, then we will tread the same ground, weep the same tears, and suffer the same heartaches.

Nothing in life is more futile than making plans without consulting God, or making decisions without His counsel. If God is not in it, then no matter how much we toil, no matter how much we labor, no matter how much we sweat and bleed and ache, it will come to nothing.

It is the same for individuals as for entire nations. When both individuals and nations alike seek the counsel of God and obey His guidance, even the most difficult of tasks seem easy, and absent complications. When God is ignored, and His counsel is disregarded, the best laid plans crumble in on themselves, because His hand is not in it.

Examples are plentiful, both on a national scale, as well as individual ones, but I’m certain you have your own personal experiences to draw from in regards to the wisdom of obeying God in all things, and asking Him which way to turn.

God is vexed when we do not take counsel with Him, and when we prefer the counsel of others over His.

Isaiah 30:1-2, “Woe to the rebellious children,’ says the Lord, ‘who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who walk to go down to Egypt and have not asked My advice, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadows of Egypt.’”

By now we ought to know that when we read the word ‘woe’ in the Bible, it is not a good thing. In fact, woe, means great sorrow and distress, misery, misfortune and calamity. So when God says ‘woe to the rebellious children,’ He means great sorrow, distress, misery, misfortune and calamity to the rebellious children.

Why? Why ought all these things to come upon them? These things ought to come upon them because they took counsel, but not of God, and devised plans, but not of God’s Spirit. They found their strength not in God, but in the strength of Pharaoh and of Egypt, excluding God from their decision making process, walking to go down to Egypt of their own volition.

God’s people chose to trust in the visible strength of Pharaoh – which God would later tell His people would be their shame and their humiliation – rather than in His strength and providence.

God does not take being ignored, disobeyed, brushed aside, and slighted lightly.

He doesn’t just shrug His shoulders and say, ‘well I would have preferred it if you’d come to Me, and taken counsel of Me, but I’ll bless you anyway.’

‘Woe to the rebellious children,’ says the Lord. God sees taking counsel with another instead of Him, as rebellion. Whether we take counsel with ourselves, with our spouse, or with our friends and omit taking counsel with God, it is catalogued as rebellion.

Taking this thread to its rightful conclusion – since rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft – what we are doing when we devise plans but not of God’s Spirit and take counsel but not of Him, is practicing witchcraft.

‘But Mike how can you say something so mean?’

Not I, but the word of God said it; I just brought the idea to its rightful conclusion.

It is God’s pleasure to commune, communicate, and fellowship with His creation. It is God’s pleasure to do, as any good father would, and direct His children in the way the must go. To warn them of the pitfalls they ought to avoid, and remind them of the dangers lurking in the shadows throughout their journey.

By the same token, it is God’s displeasure to be ignored, disregarded and unheeded, all the more when we prefer the counsel and direction of another over Him.

Not only was God upset with His people for not taking counsel with Him and devising plans by His Spirit, He was likewise upset because His people had chosen the counsel of Egypt and Pharaoh over His own.

One thing is certain. We cannot fault or blame God for our failures if we disregarded His counsel and disobeyed His commands to begin with. We cannot fault God for the shipwreck our life has become if we discounted His voice from the onset.

It was not God that led us to the edge of the precipice, and we know this because we never once asked God which road to take, or which task to undertake since beginning our journey. It is both futile and foolish to stand at the edge, stare off into the abyss, and blame God for our predicament when He had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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