When the Answer Seems Obvious

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

We know that 1+1=2. We also know that 5+5=10. There are many math problems that are simple, and we know the answers. There are other complex math problems that we figure out, and we are sure of the answers. In a similar fashion, there are issues in life that come our way, and we resolve these issues knowing that the resolution is simple. Is it possible, though, that issues present themselves to us and we assume the resolution is simple and act hastily, but later we realize that the resolution was not as simple as we thought?

In Joshua chapter 9, we come upon the Israelites as they are entering and conquering the Promised Land. The Israelites were moving forward, as they had just conquered Jericho and Ai. As they advanced, all the kings in the area were making plans together to fight back against Joshua and the Israelites. All, that is, except the Gibeonites.

The inhabitants of Gibeon realized they could not fight against the Israelites and have victory. Therefore, they came up with a different plan. We read: “they worked craftily” (Joshua 9:4). The Gibeonites came up with a cunning plan to fool the Israelites into thinking they came from a faraway land. They took old, worn-out sacks, worn-out sandals and old food, and with these things they approached the Israelites. They then lied to them and said that they came from a faraway country. The Israelite leaders, seeing their possessions and hearing their story, believed them. Since the Gibeonites were no threat to them, so they thought, the Israelite leaders made a covenant with them. 

As the story continues, we read these unfortunate words: “Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord” (Joshua 9:14). Everything seemed clear to these men. The Gibeonites seemed honest in all their discussions. It was obvious what they should do. It was clear that they could make a covenant with these people, which they then proceeded to do. We read that after three days, they realized that they had been fooled, but the damage had been done.

Has this ever happened to us? Have we ever been in a situation where the answer or the solution was so obvious? Perhaps it was a once-in-a-lifetime situation. Or perhaps we have known people for a long time, and we assume they will be totally honest with us, and we proceed. I think this has happened to all of us. Some solutions seem so right and straightforward that we don’t hesitate to move forward. Or we may give advice that seems so obvious to us. We know that 1+1=2, and we go ahead.

The Israelites did not seek God when dealing with this issue because the answer was obvious, or so they thought. However, they then had to deal with the consequences of this decision for a long time. What about us? Have we ever made decisions that seemed so obvious to us, and later we realized that we should have asked God for advice? We read in Proverbs 3:5-6 these familiar words: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” We have read these verses many times, and perhaps we have memorized them. But do we do what these verses say? When you as a young person are starting out in life and are seeking an educational path, should you ask for God’s input and guidance? When you as a young person are looking for a life partner, should God be involved in the search? In life we also come upon questions of work and where to live. I would encourage you to place everything before God and seek guidance from Him, regardless how obvious some things may seem.

Let us learn to present the big and small issues to God daily. When something comes up in our lives where the solution seems obvious, let’s ask God. Usually we do have a bit of time before making most decisions, and God certainly knows the best solutions for all our issues. Before we go out into the day, we can present our daily plans to God and ask Him to guide us as we go through the day. When we are planning to purchase something, we can also ask for help. When we are making the small decisions in life, we can include God in our decision-making. God is highly interested in the minute details of our lives. I have found that nothing is too small for Him. God doesn’t want to be just a silent observer; He wants to actively accompany us in our daily lives!

Sieg Schuler

Calgary, Alberta

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