We all have those moments in life where it seem that we are on the precipice of a major decision. Although we may not be able to clearly articulate all that the moments signifies, we are well aware that the decision we make will have a significant impact on our immediate and long-term future. If you are anything like me, during those times, you strive hard to make the right decision. The evidence is examined, wisdom from others is considered, and the pros and cons are carefully weighed. The risk of making the wrong choice seems too great, so we carefully contemplate the next move that we will make.
During their exodus from Egypt, the Israelites faced such times of momentous decisions. One such occurrence happened at Kadesh Barnea (Numbers 13-14). The Israelites were told to subdue the enemies that were before them, but when their recognizance team brought back a description of the people they were to fight, they quickly grew afraid. Instead of placing their hope in God, they trusted only in their own abilities and analysis. Unwilling to venture out in faith, the entire generation, save the two spies who trusted in God, was punished.
We are often tempted to make a similar mistake:
- We trust in our ability to discern what’s happening, instead of the God who holds the future in His hands.
- We rely on the wisdom and experience of others, instead of the One from Whom all wisdom comes.
- We place our hope in our own abilities and competence, rather than in the One who can do all things.
In short – our hope rests solely in us, rather than in the One who alone deserves to be our confidence and strength.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t exercise wisdom and discernment when making decisions – we should. But it does mean that ultimately we have to look at what or Who we are placing our trust in. As much as we might consider and ponder plausible outcomes, the truth is that we will never be able to completely accurately assess what will happen if we make one decision over the other. That’s why our hope can’t be in our excellent decision-making; it must be in the One who is able to work all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). Our confidence can’t be dependent on our ability to make a rock-solid decision, it must be in the One who is our Rock even during the tempests and the storms.
If our hope for the future is rested in our carefully-considered analysis, then as the Israelites demonstrated, our hope is misplaced. We serve a God who specializes in doing the extraordinary. Whatever we face on the path that He has called us to walk, we can trust that although it may not be easy, He will faithfully provide. When He has clearly told us which way to go, we must faithfully follow after Him. And even when the way is uncertain and the future unclear, when the obstacles seem insurmountable and the difficulties abound, may we like the Psalmist say “For you, O Lord, are my hope.” (Ps. 71:5a)