I was reading my Bible this week and a couple of things struck me all at once. Too often, I think, we rely on our eyes–our logic, what we see, what we think–to make decisions, rather than relying on God.
Exhibit A. Joshua, back in Joshua 9, makes a big mistake. The Gibeonites, who live in the land that is supposed to belong to Israel, are scared. They’ve seen other tribes nearby destroyed by Israel and their God. So they make it look like they live a long way away, and come to Joshua, and ask for a guarantee of peace. Joshua, it says in verse 15, “did not ask direction from the Lord.” Instead, he relied on his eyes. These guys had a convincing story. It added up. There was no reason to doubt them.
Except that they were lying.
Exhibit B. Solomon, writing in Proverbs 5, is telling men to stay away from loose women. He says this, “for the lips of a loose woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil.” Now, personally, I’m not tempted by loose women. But we can take the analogy to apply to us wives and moms, too!
And add the two together, and it’s obvious that we can do the wrong thing because either: our decision looks logical; or our decision is very attractive.
In other words, we can’t rely on our brains or our desires to always tell us what the right thing is. Sometimes our brains are rather smart, and I’m not saying we should disregard them altogether. And quite often what our heart wants to do is also the right thing. Just because we want something doesn’t make it wrong.
But before we make any major decision, these passages tell me, we need to go to God, and not assume that we have within us all the capacity for making the right decisions. We don’t.
I see this so often in marriages. Many women feel, it doesn’t make any logical sense to stay with my husband. Or obviously, using logic, I am right and he is wrong. Or perhaps it’s with parenting: I know this school would be the best one for my child because it’s a Christian school. Or with working: it makes no sense to quit now because I’m about to get a raise, and we really need the money.
We’re using our brain power, and not God, to make those decisions. We have to go to Him first.
I get that. I really do. But here’s my problem: how do you hear God afterwards? Once you’ve asked Him, how do you know which way you should go?
Well, first, I think the episode in Joshua 9 is a rare one. Obviously we can’t always depend upon our logic, but that doesn’t mean that logic is usually wrong. So I think that if we are about to make a really bad decision, and we go to God, it’s incumbent upon Him to let us know. And He will. If you pray, you’ll get a sense of it. He’ll use someone else to give you a word of wisdom. You’ll sense a sign. After all, if He really doesn’t want you to do something, it’s in His best interests that you figure that out, right? So He isn’t going to torture you about it.
That being said, though, we do need to spend more time in prayer, both to hear God, and for a simple renewal of our minds. Why does a loose woman seem so enticing (not to me, but to Solomon)? Because the person hasn’t handed his heart over to God recently. And when we stop going to God, we squeeze Him out.
Look at that article I commented on earlier this week that denigrated stay at home moms. They didn’t mean to; they were just using the logical position of our society: work is good, and day care is good, and parents aren’t enough. But that position, while it may be widely believed, is not right. Similarly to another post this week about that meme in movies that says that every woman just needs to have sex to get over bumps in her life. We know it’s not true, but it’s all around us, and part of us, I think, buys into it.
And that’s why we can’t rely on logic. Our logic is tainted by the society we live in. We need to be renewed by God, and that means talking to Him, reading His word, taking time just to listen, and surrounding ourselves with friends who are also engaged in the same pursuit. Do that, and it’s unlikely you’ll make a really bad decision. Rely on yourself, and you probably will!