Have you ever had an opportunity cross your path that seemed like a “no brainer” to say YES to, something you didn’t even need to THINK about — let alone PRAY about? But after saying YES, you wish you could turn back time and say NO instead?
As we have been planting The Eastside Vineyard Church, one of the verses I have gone back to again and again is Joshua 9:14: “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD.”
(By the way, if you’ve never read chapter 9 of Joshua I encourage you to pick up a Bible and do so today. It’s a fascinating story).
Why is Joshua 9:14 so significant, not only in planting a church but in how you and I make everyday decisions? Because when an opportunity crosses our path, we often rely solely on our own wisdom to determine what we should do. In other words “we sample the provisions” and we make a decision based solely on how we feel about it, but we don’t “inquire of the LORD” — we don’t pause to pray — to see how God may be leading us, especially if the opportunity that crosses our path is a “no brainer” to say YES to.
When the Israelites did not inquire of the LORD back in the days of Joshua, it got them in a whole heap of trouble that had negative ripple effects for centuries. If they simply paused to pray about it, the history books would have been rewritten.
Sometimes when we pause to pray about an opportunity, something that seemed at first to be an obvious YES becomes a NO. Even when you don’t know why. Here’s a flashback that came to mind as I started writing this blog…
Around 8 years ago I just moved out of my parent’s house and was living in my apartment. I remember sensing that God was telling me to take the next Monday (a paid holiday — birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) and spend it praying and fasting and reading my Bible. I wasn’t sure why but I had the strongest sense I was supposed to “give” God that entire day.
As that day approached my phone rang and a friend of mine invited me to a Pistons game at The Palace. Not in the nosebleed section. But in a suite. And I had NEVER been in a suite at The Palace before.
There was just one problem. The game was on that Monday. But it was an obvious “no brainer” to say YES to this, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it an obvious sign of God’s blessing? Several hours hanging out with a friend, watching a game, eating food… all for free!
Before saying YES, I took some time to pray. As I prayed I felt a nudge from God saying, “Give me that Monday.” So I called my friend back and told him I couldn’t go to the game.
So I didn’t.
And he thought I was crazy.
So when Monday came around I was expecting a burning bush moment in my apartment. I was expecting God to speak to me in a significant way. After all, I sacrificed a Piston’s game!
That Monday came and went and nothing extraordinary happened. I read my Bible a bunch that day. I prayed. I fasted. But no mountaintop experience with God. I was simply obedient, doing what He asked me.
And that’s how it is sometimes.
Our job is simply to be obedient, to pray about everything, to do what we sense God telling us to do, but to leave the results up to Him.
My encouragement to you…before you say YES to something, even if it’s a “no brainer” of an opportunity . . . pray about it first. And if you feel a nudge from God to say NO to the opportunity, even when it doesn’t make sense to say NO, trust God.
***Join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. We are in week 3 of our CORE series, looking at the core values of our church. This week is all about “Reconciling Community.” Plus, Chris Cheshire will be leading us in worship once again. November 13. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***