“And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, ‘Inquire first for the word of the Lord.’”
2 Chronicles 18:4
This short little word of wisdom turns out to be pretty difficult for Ahab, the king of Israel, to whom Jehoshaphat is speaking. He is trying to decide whether or not to go to war, and Jehoshaphat tells him that before he will go with him, Ahab must inquire for the word of the Lord. The rest of the story doesn’t go very well for Ahab on account of his history of evil, idolatry, and neglecting the word of God. Regardless, this verse will always ring true.
When we’re making big decisions, we usually ask for advice. We ask our friends, our spouse, our parents, our family, and sometimes even paid advisors. In short, we seek the guidance of people that we trust so that we can make the best decision. It doesn’t even really have to be big decisions. We make choices every day based on the input of people that we trust. A friend had lunch at a new restaurant and swears it was great, so you go eat there. The radio tells you there’s a traffic jam, so you take a different route. The weather man tells you it’s going to rain, so you bring an umbrella. The examples are endless.
The point is, we make our decisions in life with the input and guidance of people that we trust. So why isn’t God more involved in our decisions? Jehoshaphat wisely advises that before any other considerations are taken into account, inquire for the word of the Lord. God should be our first and most important advisor. The truth that he provides, whether it’s what you wanted to hear or not, will always be the right way to go. But how do we ask him? How do I get his opinion? Great question.
First, use the scriptures. God gave us the incredible blessing of having thousands of years of recorded interactions that we can learn from. From the scripture you can get to know God, and his will, intimately and personally so that it becomes a part of your very own decision making process. Weave scripture into your life and God will be informing every choice you make. Second, surround yourself with trusted advisors. That doesn’t mean surround yourself with people that will always give you the answer you want. Surround yourself with people who know scripture, who have fellowship with God, and who love you enough to speak the truth, even when it hurts. God speaks to us through the people he places in our lives. Listen. Finally, pray. Spend time in prayer asking God for his council. Usually when we pray we’re too busy talking to list. Talk to him, but also spend time listening for a response. Be still and wait for God to speak. It probably won’t come in a big booming thunder, but it will come if you trust and listen.
I know that you have authority over all things, you know all things, and you are working all things to the good of those who love you. Help me to keep you first on my list of advisors. Help me to immerse myself in scripture, surround myself with your people, and spend time in prayer. I want to know you and your will for me.
In Jesus’ Name,