(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 8)
Whether it’s a decision in relation to marriage, a job or any other choice that we have to make, God wants to be enquired of. As the source of all wisdom and because he loves us, he wants us to get it right, to make the right decision and in his love, he is available to advise and guide us.
It is folly therefore to ignore his counsel, to disregard it, to treat it as not important and to forge ahead according to our own counsel or that of others. Worse yet when we leave him behind and go to the enemy’s camp for advice.
In 2 Kings 1 for example, it tells us that Ahaziah, the son of Ahab who was king over Israel, became ill after having fallen down from a lattice in his upper chamber. He wanted to know whether he would get better or deteriorate and die, so he sought counsel on the matter. However, he did not seek it of God. Instead of enquiring of the Lord, the God of all wisdom and all knowledge, what his portion would be and even asking him, the God of all power, to help him to recover, he sent his messengers to a false god instead. He therefore sought answers of satan.
The scripture in 2 Kings 1 reads:
- “And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.” (vs. 2).
Of course, this was most insulting to the God of Israel and indeed, the God of heaven and earth. As the God of all knowledge, he knew what Ahaziah had done and so, sent his servant Elijah, a Prophet, to meet the messengers while on their journey with a message for Ahaziah.
The scripture reads:
- “But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.” (vs.3)
Just as God stated because life is in his hands and as God over all, everything living is under his control, Ahaziah died.
In another example, Saul, who was also king of Israel at one point in time, made a similar mistake. He was in a state of ongoing rebellion against God’s commands, living his life for self, instead of to please God and even fighting against God’s will. When he enquired of the Lord over a matter therefore, without first truly repenting of his disobedience, his wickedness and his waywardness, God chose to be silent.
For, he Saul, had the audacity to seek counsel from God without repenting of his sins, like when, in a desperate, jealous, paranoid and vindictive rage, he killed eighty five priests of the Lord, who were innocent and then went on and slew an entire village where they had lived, including women, children and the animals.
God remaining silent therefore, was his cue to humble himself, to engage in introspection, to go to the Lord with a sorrowful heart and repent of his great wickedness. However, he did not do that. Instead, he determined within himself, that since God was no longer answering him, that he would go elsewhere for answers and so, he went to seek counsel from a satanic source.
This was not surprising. For, in his lust to hold on to power, Saul had started to fight against God, killing his priests and seeking relentlessly to kill David, who God had anointed to replace him. He had therefore taken on the agenda of satan, who sought to fight against God in heaven and after being defeated there and thrown out, along with his followers, has continuously been seeking to fight against him, his people and his purposes, on earth, ever since.
When Saul was faced with a battle from the Philistines who he was afraid of, he did not go to God to repent of his evil way and then to seek counsel, strength and to ask him to give the Israelites the victory. No. Instead, he sought to replace God by seeking counsel from a diabolical source. He sought counsel from a woman who had a familiar spirit, meaning, who dealt with the occult. In his mind therefore, God’s wisdom was replaceable and he did not need him, as there were other ways and sources, than the true and living God, from whom he could get what he needed. He therefore asked the lady to bring up a dead Prophet, Samuel, so that he could ask him about the battle.
Of course, Saul was deluded in his pride and rebellion. What he did was folly and he eventually paid for it, in addition to all of his other sins for which he remained unrepentant, with his life. Like Ahaziah, God determined that he would die and used the very means by which he sought counsel, to tell him so. Through Samuel, the dead Prophet that Saul had caused the woman to bring up, God pronounced judgment on him, letting him know that by the next day, he Saul and his sons would be dead, just like Samuel.
The Word of God states in 1 Samuel 28:4-20:
- “And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.
- Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.
- And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.
- Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.”
Two things are therefore clear from this account on Saul. Firstly, we cannot expect to enquire of God and to get an answer if we are living lives in blatant disobedience to him and where we have not first repented (even as Christians) of our sins. We must get things right and make sure that we are in right standing first, before we enquire or else, we will be wasting our time. For, God will not hear us or he may choose to remain silent.
This was the situation with the Israelites in Ezekiel 20. They were living rebellious, wayward lives and although they had not repented of their wrong, they were still seeking the Lord for answers.
In verses 13, 30 and 31, God stated through his Prophet:
- “But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them…Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God… when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will NOT be enquired of by you.“
This reminds us that God is not mocked and whatever we sow, it is that, that we shall reap.
Secondly, from Saul’s example, we learn that seeking counsel from other sources and not God is not wise. Furthermore, ignoring God in unrepentance, turning a blind eye to his Word and instead, seeking counsel from a diabolical and ungodly source is to no profit and there will be serious consequences to pay.
Like king Ahaziah and king Saul, the Israelites also learned this painful lesson, many years later. In Isaiah 30, they did a similar thing. When they were vulnerable and afraid of being attacked by enemies, instead of seeking God, repenting of their rebellion (which was why they were vulnerable to attacks in the first place), asking him for help and to protect them, they sought help from Egypt instead.
Egypt was an ungodly nation and not a friend. It was the nation from whom God had delivered them from after many years of bondage in the past, yet, in their trouble, they did not run to God and seek solace but went back to Egypt. Egypt being an ungodly nation and symbolical of the world wherein we as Christians were once in bondage and enslaved, the Israelites therefore forsook the opportunity they had to get things right with God, to ask forgiveness for their backsliding and to seek him for protection and instead, went further in sin, by continuing to ignore God and to choose to go back to the beggarly elements of the world.
Like Saul and Ahaziah, God pronounced judgment on them for their folly and whatever he stated, as the God of all power, came to pass. God stated through his Prophet Isaiah in verses 1-17:
- “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
- Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your SHAME, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your CONFUSION. For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes. They were all ASHAMED of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a SHAME, and also a REPROACH. The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, THEY WILL CARRY THEIR RICHES UPON THE SHOULDERS OF YOUNG ASSES, AND THEIR TREASURES UPON THE BUNCHES OF CAMELS, TO A PEOPLE THAT shall not profit them. For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: THEREFORE HAVE I CRIED CONCERNING THIS, THEIR STRENGTH IS TO SIT STILL.
- Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
- Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.
- For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.”
In a fourth example, although Joshua was a man of God, he and the Israelites that he was charged to lead after Moses had died, neglected on one occasion, to seek counsel from God on a matter. As a result, there was an unfavourable consequence. While he and the Israelites had not been disobedient like Saul and did not seek counsel from a diabolical source, as Saul and Ahaziah had done, they still moved unwisely, by making a decision over a matter, presuming that they had all the facts and did not need to involve the Lord in it.
They were supposed to destroy all those around them as they advanced to the Promised Land, including the Gibeonites but they ended up being unable to do so because they were outwitted by them. They were outwitted by them because they did not seek God’s counsel as to what to do, when the Gibeonites approached them deceptively with a proposal.
They pretended that they were from a far country and therefore, gave the impression that they were not a threat to the Israelites and did not need to be destroyed, when in truth and in fact, they lived close by.
Joshua and the Israelites under his leadership, made the wrong decision and God saw to it that it was recorded in the scriptures, that this was because they neglected to ask him for advice on the issue.
The scripture states in Joshua 9:1-20:
- “And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof; That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord. And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
- And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye? And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the Lord thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt, And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.
- And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.
- And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim. And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes. But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them. This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.”
Joshua and the people of Israel therefore found themselves in a fix or in a bind where they had to tolerate the Gibeonites. They could not destroy them because they had entered into a covenant or league with them.
Their experience is a reminder to us, that God wants us to seek him on all of our life decisions, even those that we consider minor or think are unimportant and even where we feel we have sufficient facts and intelligence of ourselves, to make the right choice.
Unlike him, we would do well to remember that we have limited knowledge, limited intelligence and the ability to be deceived by others and even our own selves. We cannot therefore put confidence in anything of ourselves or even in how circumstances appear, to make the right decision. We must seek God and his wisdom. It is the only way to avoid the pitfalls of this life.
We must seek God in prayer on issues and wait on his answer. We must also seek answers from his Word, the Bible, in which contains a wealth of HIS wisdom. Once we are sure, after seeking him, that he has answered, we must be careful to do all of his counsel. In short, we must obey. Anything else is sure to lead to disastrous and self-detrimental consequences.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
It thereby follows, that when we read the Word and the true historical accounts given there of what people went through and the experiences they had, we are expected to take note and to apply the lessons to our own lives.
With this in mind, Proverbs 3:5-7 admonishes us:
- “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.“
God therefore wants us to trust in him completely in every circumstance, to put no confidence in our flesh, our intelligence, how things seem or our abilities. He wants to be acknowledged not just in some things but in everything that we do and he admonishes us not to think in our pride, that we have things handled in our own strength, or that we can get by on some matters without him and therefore, do not need to seek him.
In his faithfulness, he guarantees that if we acknowledge him in all our ways, if we put his wisdom and his counsel above our own and wholeheartedly trust him, that he will direct our paths. He will show us the way to go. He will give directions for our life and guide us aright.
David was a man that sought the Lord before making decisions. No wonder, God called him a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). He did not, in pride or with any sense of self-sufficiency, think that he could ever get by in life without enquiring of the Lord and seeking him first for advice.
For example, when David came to Ziklag and found the area on fire and in ruins and that the Amalekites had taken the wives, family members and possessions of he and his men, naturally, David was greatly distressed. However, he remembered that God was still on the throne. He therefore encouraged himself in the Lord by faith and then sought him for advice on what to do.
The Word of God states in 1 Samuel 30:8 “And David enquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.”
David obeyed and he was indeed victorious, he and his men recovering everything that had been taken.
On an earlier occasion, in 1 Samuel 23, we see where David enquired of the Lord again. When a situation arose, he did not take matters into his own hands and hastily begin to act but first sought to obtain God’s divine counsel. This was generally the pattern of his life. He was always careful to seek the Lord before doing anything major and did not presume to know the answer, according to his own wisdom or how things appeared.
In 1 Samuel 23:1-5, when the Lord told him to go but his men expressed doubt, he went back to the Lord again for confirmation, to make sure he had heard him right and God gave it. He then obeyed, irrespective of what those around him thought and God secured for him the victory.
The scripture reads:
- “Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors. Therefore David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the Lord said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah. And David’s men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? Then David enquired of the Lord yet again. And the Lord answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand. So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.”
David did not also presume that if God had given an instruction before and he obtained victory by it, that he just needed to do the same thing again, when another problem arose. No. David understood that one victory did not necessarily guarantee another and that even if God said yes to something before, he could not assume that he would say yes to another situation that looked similar. David therefore sought God for each situation, open to obeying whatever God determined. Where a fresh situation presented itself, even if it looked like the one before, he sought the Lord before acting.
In 2 Samuel 5:17-25 for example, it reads:
- “But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold. The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto David, GO UP: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand. And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there, and said, The Lord hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baalperazim. And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.
Yet, when the Philistines came back again for a rematch, David did not presume to just go up and fight against them. He did not presume that God would want him to do exactly as he did before, given that it was the same Philistines, fighting against the same Israelites in the same valley of Rephaim. No. He sought the Lord again for his counsel and God gave it, this time, advising him not to go up but to take a different strategy.
The Word of God states:
- “And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David enquired of the Lord, he said, Thou shalt NOT GO UP; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for THEN shall the Lord go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines. AND DAVID DID SO, as the Lord had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.”
Also, on another occasion, in 2 Samuel 2:1-2, it reads of David:
- “And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the Lord, saying, shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the Lord said unto him, go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron. So David went up thither…”
Unlike Saul, David was also repentant when he sinned, realizing his dependence on God, his strength and his divine wisdom. In Psalm 32, for example, he spoke of how he had repented of his sins before God and had been forgiven and God in his faithfulness, stood ready to continue to guide him in life and give him good counsel. He told him:
- “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.”
This is what God desires to do for all his children, to instruct, teach and guide us through this life. In light of this, the prayer of our heart should be: Father in heaven, help us to seek you on every life decision and to wait on your answer and when you have answered, help us to obey whatever you have commanded us to do, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
(Written on 4th and 5th January, 2023)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following under the ‘SINGLE Daughters’ page:
- Note 12 -‘Placing God At The Wheel Of My Future Love Story’
- Note 87- ‘I Lost All Control When I Asked God To Take The Wheel’
- Note 137 – ‘Who To Marry?’
- Note 268 – ‘Making The Wrong Decision Can Be Costly – When You Don’t Wait On God To Introduce You To Your Spouse.’
- Note 274 – ‘I Being In The Way, The Lord Led Me – A Match Made In Heaven’
- Note 317 – ‘God’s Choice = The Best Choice’
Additionally, under the ‘BROKEN Daughters’ page:
- Note 34 – ‘Wisdom Is The Principal Thing’
Also, under ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ page:
- Note 185 – ‘The Sheep And The Shepherd‘
- Note 263 – ‘Why We Should Let God Direct Our Path’