Bible Reading: Psalm 32:8-9; Acts 16:6-10
Yesterday we looked at some of the key points in making righteous decisions – praying, examining motives, seeking mature counsel, understanding God’s timing and allowing His peace to rule in our hearts.
I want to continue this theme and consider that God gives us more freedom in decision-making than some people think. He did not create us as robots but gave us the freedom of choice. A Rabbinical interpretation of Psalm 37:4 is “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you His desires.” God puts desires in our heart. It is quite clear from Scripture that God led the apostle Paul, but at the same time he made his own decisions. Paul planned to go first into Asia, but was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go and preach the word there [Acts 16:6]. He then tried to go into Bithynia but again the Spirit did not permit him [Acts 16:7]. Paul then had a vision of a man from Macedonia, pleading with him to “Come over to Macedonia and help us” [Acts 16:9-10].
What fascinates me is that Paul’s heart is to minister to and bless others, and that he plans where he goes, but if it does not fit in with God’s plans then the Holy Spirit is quite capable of telling him and stopping him. That gives us so much freedom in guidance!
For many years I have bought my cars and had them serviced at the same garage. Sometime ago they told me it was the optimum time for me to change my car. They have never let me down and always proved trustworthy. Fairly soon after that we went to Singapore, and committed the need to the Lord. I looked at many cars in Singapore and especially liked the Honda Jazz. I saw one with leather interior and lots of extras, and thought that this would really suit my wife and myself. I rang the garage in the UK and asked them if they could find one for me. They were surprised at my request because they had just bought one that morning – a two year-old top of the range model with only 7,000 miles on the clock. I asked the Lord to show me it was right by sending me ?5,000 in sterling within 24 hours. Remarkably that happened as two people blessed us. Then the garage even sold me the car at trade price.
Recently I have been saving up for some months to replace our old three-piece suite. I had ?1600 and was ready to buy our new furniture, when a lovely young couple told me that they wanted to go on a Christian rescue mission trip to India. The cost for the two of them would be ?1600. After prayer we felt that the Lord wanted us to give them the money for their mission trip, and a few days later, without us saying a word, an elderly relative gave us a large gift to cover the cost of a new three-piece suite.
What lessons of guidance and making righteous decisions can be learned from the story of the car and the sofa?
Why is it important that God’s will is flexible and allows us to make our own plans and decisions?