God always surprises me with how bad of a story teller He is. A good story teller will cover all the details that make his side look bad, or that make the other side look good. God never does that. He just lays the facts out as they are, and leaves it up to us to make of it whatever we will.
Take this story, for instance. The Hebrews are marching through the land, and a lot of the nations are deciding whether to fight them or surrender to them. One group comes and acts like they are from far away to fool the Hebrews into a peace treaty. The Israelites listen to their story, and are doubtful. Check out what the story says next:
“14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. ” (I added the italics) They have doubts, but trust what they see, and then don’t stop to pray and ask God what they should do. They act on their own. They know what God has told them to do, they have a “gut feeling” (which is God trying to talk to them), but they ignore it and act on their own. They end up getting burnt by the plan and made fools of.
But then, there’s more to the story. Later, when they confront this group of people about their lies and deceiving them, look at what they tell the Jews:
“24 They answered Joshua, “Your servants were clearly told how the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this.” (Again, the italics are mine).
Did you catch that? These people who were Israel’s enemies had heard the same info that the Hebrews had heard. They hadn’t heard it from God or experienced it themselves, they heard it all second hand as rumors. But they believed it AND acted on it. They were saved because of it.
So, God shows us that the people He chose still aren’t smart enough to stop and listen to Him, and the people who are not God’s chosen hear second hand about Him and act in obedience to Him.
That’s a messed up story.
But the bigger question at hand is, which one am I going to be? Will I be the one who knows what is right, or the one who does what is right? There is a HUGE difference! Titles, knowledge, belonging to a group, none of that matters in the end. It’s what we do with what we know.
There is something in your life that you’re wrestling with today, that you are worried about. Are you going to do what seems like the best choice to you, or are you going to stop, and ask God for advice, and then take it, whatever it is?
Sometimes the stories don’t change very much, even 4000 years later, do they?