How do you choose? Part 2

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When God called Abraham, He told him, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) Abraham left Haran as he was instructed, but he took Lot, his nephew, with him. That was not in God’s plan. Lot must have been Abraham’s anchor man, but not for long. All of a sudden however, things began to fall apart. The problems increased and so also the tension. Abraham had to let go off Lot. He said to him. “Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” (Genesis 13:6)

Lot could not help choosing the best part of the lush property. “Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord… So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out towards the east. The two men parted company.” (Genesis 13:10-11) Lot’s choice brought him only problems. War erupted where he had settled and he was taken captive. Abraham had to mount a rescue operation to save him. (Genesis 14:14-16) When God’s anger ‘rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah’ (Genesis 19:23), it was Abraham’s intercessory prayers (pleadings) with God that spared his life.

Lot was not a God-fearing man, thus he acted selfishly, with little regard for his uncle even. Abraham did not choose his portion of land, God chose for him – and we know that God cannot go wrong. God said to Abraham after Lot had left him: “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” (Genesis 13:14-15) Lot chose the east. Abraham’s portion covered all four corners of the land – north, south, east and west.

How do you choose or does someone choose for you? When God chooses for us needless to worry about how things would evolve. What will become of it? Would it last? Would it be damaged by fire or flood? Will Government claim possession of my land? All these worries were already taken care of by God, the Provider. When we leave our choices to God out of total dependence on Him, who is Omniscient (All-knowing), we can be sure He will make the right choices on our behalf. Sad to say, our intelligence cannot take us far into the future.

In another incident, we find the prophet Elijah putting his feet down because of the nonchalance and divided loyalty of the people of God. They had nurtured a bad habit of flirting with idols – one day they were praising God, the next day they were bowing to Baal. Their minds weren’t firmly made up yet. So He summoned all the prophets of Baal – the god of the Canaanites – to a showdown, a decisive one. “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21)

To compel the prophets to stop wavering, each deity was supposed to manifest his power for everyone to see. This was intended to influence the choice. The god Baal was ineffective in burning up the sacrifice made to him despite prolonged appeals by his prophets; the God Jehovah, after the sacrifice made to Him was doused with twelve ‘large jars’ of water, answered by fire and consumed not only the bull that was being sacrificed, but also the wood - ‘licking up’ the water it was drenched with. The duel ended with the victory of the God of Elijah over the god of the Baal worshippers. None of the prophets of Baal escaped the wrath of the prophet Elijah; all were slaughtered. 

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made a show of His power over every idol god. Yes, all power belongs to Him. He will bring to naught any force that seeks to rear its head against Him. Paul vehemently condemned this practice of idolatry and declared as fools those who “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:21) They have no excuse!

How did you choose your spouse; from a catalogue or upon recommendation? Did you find time to study his/her character before you took the plunge or was his/her profile enough? Did the Spirit show you who your spouse should be by divine order? Anything but the latter choice must have been the cause of the myriad problems you have been encountering. Many people would accord the least importance to that, yet it should be deemed vital and essential for God’s hand to be in it.

Abraham wanted a wife for his son Isaac, so he sent Eliezer, his servant, on a mission to his hometown. As his servant set out, Abraham prayed that God “will send His angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.” (Genesis 24:7) Eliezer did not just depend on his intuition or on chance. As he approached Haran, he too prayed: “O Lord God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See I am standing beside this spring and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’ – let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.” (Genesis 24:13-14) God granted Eliezer his wish and spotted Rebekah - who displayed a willing and servant spirit – as Isaac’s future’s wife. Eliezer’s task was accomplished with the greatest ease because God Himself intervened. What better choice could there have been? 

When our Lord Jesus was about to select the Twelve, He withdrew to a mountainside and prayed all night. In the morning he had no qualms whatsoever choosing them out of a host of probable candidates.

Our best choices are made with God in the picture and at centre stage. God never commits errors so why do we have to go through a guessing streak only to regret our choices afterwards. Today, make a choice with God as your Guide and believe He is able “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Author: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye