There is a litmus test in the bible for every decision we must make – a biblical scale on which we must weigh our plans before we act on them: “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Making a decision within the will of God.
Life is full of decision making. Sometimes we make major decisions upon which we hang our destiny and the fate of others, even including generations yet unborn. When we make decisions that are outside of God’s will, God cannot accommodate our mistakes or misjudgments on His agenda, though He will help to put us back on the right path if we ask His assistance. He always will insist on His purpose for us. We are vessels that He wants to use and He will wholly and uncompromisingly use us for that purpose when and how He wants. Even though we may not be comfortable with our current station, still, we need to patiently wait on God and resign to His will and way.
Stop and think of how Abraham succumbed to Sarah’s pressure and made the poor decision of taking Hagar to wife instead of waiting on God’s time to have Isaac of whom God had assured him shall “come forth out of thine own bowels … (as) thine heir.” Genesis 15:4 Although for a season, he was satisfied with the birth of Ishmael but that satisfaction was short-live and too weak to meet his heart’s yearning for many reasons:
First, it was not God’s will for him. Yes, Abraham married Hager and had Ishmael. He only temporarily wetted his desire for a child. But he had deviated from God’s will. Following immediately for him from within and without were incessant domestic rivalries and suffocating discomforts. Abraham was forced to separate from Hager and Ishmael and to severe his relationship from them. Now think of his anguish and travail which might have been avoided had he waited on God. Not only did Abraham have to live with that pain all his life; but ensuing from his bad judgment are needless but disturbing bloodsheds and violence now in the Middle East.
“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Genesis 21:11-12
The second reason that Abraham’s decision did not give him lasting satisfaction was that he made it in the flesh. He shifted from God’s plan and focused on his condition. Earlier he had asked God if “the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus” considering that he had no child and was concerned of who would be his heir – a stranger? Another concern was if his father’s inheritance would terminate in him. The law governing inheritance in biblical Israelite society provided that inheritance should not be passed to aliens. Numbers 27: 8-11. Specifically, God had told Abraham “he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir”.
Again and again, God had assured Abraham: “in Isaac shall thy seed be called” Genesis 21:12 Hebrews 11:18. But Abraham had pressures from within and without, such things that are equally not strange to us. Thus, he compromised. But we can learn from his mistakes. That is why the bible is unique. We need not be mindful of human pressures or traditions to the neglect of God’s word. Nor should we, like the ancient biblical Israelites, exercise poor judgment as they did in asking God for a human king because other nations had kings. Thus, they rejected the overpowering provision of God with devastating consequences.
There is a litmus test in the bible for every decision we must make – a biblical scale on which we must weigh our plans before we act on them:
“whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
We need to prayerfully act after we have obtained all the facts and weighed them on the scale of God’s word. Will it be of good report? Is it praise worthy? Is it just? Is it lovely? Then think on these things.
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