Two powerful questions that will prevent your worst decisions…
Have you ever been on the precipice of a bad decision and God seemed to stop you—to prevent you from what you later came to view as a very bad mistake? These are grace moments for sure. They are times when God says, “Hey! Wait a minute on this. Think it over again!”
This week on Enough for Today we’ve been in Psalm 4, a prayer of David as he’s been dethroned by a coup led by his own son Absalom. In the prayer, he’s rhetorically asking his son (and other enemies) to “Stand in awe and sin not. Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still.” (v. 4)
A paraphrase of that verse could read something like this, “Hey! Wait a minute! Why don’t you subject your present anger and agitation to a greater awe and reverence of God. Bring your frustrations into His presence and settle them down. Then, with a clear head, like at the end of the day when you finally lay down (you know, that moment when it’s quiet and you are alone—free from outside voices and agitators), in that moment, talk it over with yourself. You know that thing you are tempted to do—considering seriously—that thing that will go against God’s plan and purpose for your life and won’t end well? Talk it over with your own heart—your conscience and deepest thoughts. Ponder it deeply in view of your awe of God. You’ll probably decide to be still—to not do what your passions, anger, and tempters were pressing you to do.”
Ok, that’s a long paraphrase, but true to the context. David was hoping his son would repent and stop the process before God intervened. Well, if you know the story, you know that Absalom did not repent, God did intervene, and Absalom died an early death. Sad story, in part because it was so very preventable.
So it is with many of our greatest temptations and potentially worst decisions. When we act in passion, in haste, and out of external pressure, we usually regret it and have to face painful and destructive outcomes. But when we slow down, quiet down, lay down, and talk it through in our own hearts before the face of God, we see more clearly. We see differently—through the lens of wisdom and understanding. And we see the long-view. In other words, we see the ten-year view of our present decisions.
These are powerful questions: In ten years, will I regret doing this or be glad that I did? In ten years, will I want to live with the fruit that this decision produces?
These questions are what verse 4 requires us to face head on. These questions have life-shaping force, if we wrestle with them honestly before God.
So, if God is saying, “Hey, wait a minute!” Listen up and let Him give you a sacred pause. Maybe He’s preventing a really bad outcome.
My friend, perhaps this post was for you. Perhaps it was for a friend you will forward it to. Either way, I hope you will slow down, quiet down, and talk through a big decision—with your own heart in the presence of God. Maybe God will give you a green light, but maybe He will slow you down, turn you around, or somehow reroute you. Whatever the case, He is good and His plans are always in your best interest.
“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.”—Psalm 4:4–5