Do you remember a time when you did something without asking for God’s direction first? I’ve done it. And, just being honest, sometimes it works out just fine.
There have been times in my life where I just acted or reacted, and when the dust settled, I remembered that I hadn’t asked God what I should do first. I just did it. And God has always been gracious with me and has always gone before me in every situation I’ve encountered. But it’s a bad habit to get into, running ahead of God.
The irony is that if we’d just ask Him, if we’d just talk to Him, He would answer.
Today’s verses are Joshua 7:7, 10-12.
Then Joshua cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side!
But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings.
You can’t really get the whole story from these few verses, because it’s a long one. You can find the whole ugly deal in Joshua 7. Basically, a dude named Achan disobeyed God and stole some things that he shouldn’t have. Yeah, stealing from God is a big deal, and lying about it is worse.
But that’s not the only point of this story. See, the Israelites were going from city to city, conquering who God told them to conquer. And Joshua had just taken the reins from Moses. He hadn’t been a leader very long. So he was still learning.
And after the city of Jericho fell, the one success no one thought they could achieve, I’m sure they were all hyped up and ready to move on to the next city. So they did. Joshua sent people to scout it out, they said it would be no problem, he sent his army, and they failed. Miserably.
Then, and only then, did Joshua go before the Lord and ask what he should do. But why hadn’t he thought to ask God first?
This isn’t the only time in Scripture where people screw up big time because they didn’t stop and take time to ask God’s advice first. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, there are many, many examples of people who just forged ahead and did whatever they thought was right, only to discover that they weren’t on the same page with God. They thought they were, but if they would have asked, they would have realized they were walking a separate path. And it wasn’t the path God wanted them on.
It’s surprisingly difficult to ask God, though. It’s so much easier just to do it. You know, better to beg forgiveness than ask permission? But that’s a foolish way to live your life, especially when all the answers you need are right at your fingertips.
I know, for me, I can be completely lost and frustrated, and all I have to do is sit down and start talking to God. It doesn’t even have to be about anything in particular. Just talking to Him. Just thanking Him for being there for me. And all of a sudden, I’ll think of a solution I hadn’t thought of before.
That’s not an accident.
Neither is that truth you discovered in your Scripture reading that you’d never seen before.
When you ask God to answer your questions, He always does. Sometimes it’s in your own spirit. Sometimes it’s revealed through Scripture. Other times it’s revealed through circumstances or through the actions of people around you. God has ways of communicating to us that are undeniable, so we have no excuse to not ask His advice.
He’s the God of the universe. He created you and me and everything, and He keeps everything running. We’re crazy if we don’t ask Him for the answers we need. Maybe He won’t give us the answers we want, but since when has getting everything we want when we want it ever been good for us?