My default setting when problems arise in my life is to figure out how I can fix it. I will come up with several ideas on what I can do, bounce my ideas off of Sarah for her input, research ideas that are not even agreed upon, and I will usually pick a favorite or best idea. There have been several times when this hasn’t worked for me on bigger issues, because for me to proceed with an idea that will be life-changing and a great undertaking, I have to have peace about it. There have been many times when I felt restless and didn’t have peace from God on proceeding with one of my many solutions. I get frustrated in these times when God isn’t on the same page as me, and after griping for a while to Him about it, I always come back to the conclusion that it’s my job to get on His page, not the other way around. So then I pray and ask for guidance. I consult the Lord. The time between recognizing the problem and consulting the Lord keeps getting shorter, which is good. I want it to be my instinct to seek Him first when problems arise, not after I’ve exhausted my mental efforts.
Not only are the solutions God often provides not what I came up with, but His solutions have often been something I would not have wanted. They solve the issue, but they stray far from what I wanted and what makes sense to me. I like doing what makes sense to me. It’s comforting, and I tend to trust my own intellect, reasoning, and problem solving skills. But sometimes what makes sense to me isn’t exactly as it seems, because I’m not perfect. I can’t always see the big picture. I don’t know everything going on behind the scenes of what I see before me.
In Joshua 9, the people of Israel were in the process of taking the land of Canaan. God had instructed them to not make treaties with nations currently living there, because He did not want their false religions tripping up the Israelites. This meant that Israel was either going to take the land peacefully, or there was going to be war, but there weren’t going to be any allies but God. The Gibeonites didn’t like their prospects, so they set out to deceive the Israelites. They lived in the land Israel was taking, and they knew Israel wasn’t making any allies. They didn’t want to give up their land or their lives. So they put on old clothes, worn out sandals, and packed some moldy bread, and they went out to meet the people of Israel. They told the Israelite leaders that they were from a far away land and had traveled a great distance to make peace with them, because they knew they were a mighty nation. They asked how they could know that the Gibeonites were really from far away, so they showed them their clothes, sandals, and their food. They looked road weary, their clothes and sandals were old, worn, and dirty, and their food was spoiled. It all made sense, so they entered a peace treaty God had forbidden.
Joshua 9:14 says, “So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord.” They stepped outside of God’s will, because they did what made sense without so much as asking God. We must be careful not to fall into the same trap. We just don’t know everything, cannot see everything, and are in need of His guidance. We must be careful to consult the Lord first, seek His guidance first, and do what He instructs us to do.