Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me…that walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth (Isaiah 30:1-2).
The Assyrian army was going to attack Israel first and then Judah. God already knew what Judah was going to do. They were going to try to make their enemy, their friend. They thought they would have greater success if they joined forces with Egypt, but it was already prophesied that Egypt would fall to Assyria, which meant that when Egypt fall, Judah would fall also. God didn’t have to send a prophet to His people, but because He loved them, He warned them.
Judah was aware that they needed help, but they were asking for advice from everyone except God. They never asked God if it was okay to go to Egypt. They just made a decision without Him. They thought Pharaoh was the answer, but Pharaoh was really the problem. Egypt couldn’t protect them and in the end, they would only be disappointed and embarrassed because the Egyptians are only men, not God (Isaiah 31:3).
The reason why some of us don’t ask God for advice before we make certain decisions is because we are afraid He is going to say no. We are afraid that God is going to tell us something that we don’t want to hear.
Let’s say for example, you’re dating someone. Because this is the person YOU want to marry, you refuse to ask God for advice because you don’t want Him to tell you that this person is not the wife or husband He picked for you. You’ve already made plans and you don’t want God’s plan to change your plan.
Maybe you’re tired of being single and you think you’re ready for marriage now, but God sees what is going to happen in the near future if you make a decision without consulting Him first. What you think is going to be an answer just may become a problem. Remember, the person you are about to join yourself to is just a man or a woman. They are not God. They are not a Healer and they are not a Savior.
If you’re not sure about anything else, know that God loves you. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t warn you before you go in the wrong direction or convict you when you do wrong. He does care for you and He doesn’t want you to make a decision that will only bring you disappointment and shame.
Jesus is called our Counselor and God has placed counselors around us. I know Proverbs 11:14 speaks about the condition of a nation without wise leadership, but even in your personal life, where there is no counsel, you will fall.
Before you make a permanent decision, seek godly counsel, ask for advice and then follow the advice.
Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sit not down first, and count the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:28)
I was 23 when I got married. I think I got married seven or eight months after meeting him. I’m not sure why there was a rush, but we didn’t take the time to get to know each other. We lived in two different states. There was no pre-marital counseling. I can’t speak for him, but I know I didn’t count the cost and before we reached our first wedding anniversary, my vow changed from ‘I do’ to ‘I don’t’. I was ready to pack up my things and move back home. The only reason why I stayed as long as I did was because my dad wouldn’t come and pick me up. (You laugh, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).
When I said my wedding vows, I was just repeating what the preacher said. I never thought about what I was saying or what those words meant. I made a promise in the moment that I couldn’t keep once I was out of the moment. Preparing the wedding was easy, but I didn’t know what it took to build a marriage and I didn’t know the work that was involved in staying married. It’s easy to be faithful and committed for better, but what about for worse?
Jesus never told anyone who made the decision to follow Him that it would be easy.
And a certain scribe came and said unto Him, “Master, I will follow You wherever You go”. And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Matthew 8:19-20).
And He said unto another, Follow Me, but he said, Lord, let me first go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God (Luke 9:59-60).
In Luke 14, Jesus was teaching great multitudes about discipleship. The number of people following Him increased, but Jesus wasn’t impressed by the numbers. Not everyone following Him wanted to be discipled. To become a disciple, you had to be made a disciple and not everyone wants to go through what it takes to be made. Jesus tells them three things that will keep them from being true disciples:
1) If your relationship with others (parent, spouse, children, etc) can easily affect your relationship with Him and if you can’t love Him more than you love your own life, you can’t be His disciple (Luke 14:26).
2) If you are not willing to endure whatever may come, you can’t be His disciple (Luke 14:27).
3) If you don’t forsake or give up all, you can’t be His disciple (Luke 14:33).
To explain it further, Jesus used three examples: building a tower, a king making war against another king and salt. Let’s address the builder. First of all, you must save your money because it takes money to build a tower, but this is not the only cost you must consider. Building a tower also takes time. How long will it take? It requires a lot of work. How many hours a day will you invest in this project? Also, you can’t do this alone. You will need the help of others (architects, contractors, landscapers, etc). Can you be trusted with this task? People are depending on you. You can’t just quit on them. Yes, the enemy will tell you that it’s too hard. He will even send people to discourage you – to get you to focus on what you see (or don’t see yet).Things may go wrong in the building process and things may not go as smoothly as you thought it would, but that doesn’t mean you should ‘pack your bags and go back home’. This is not the time to quit! Preparing the site and laying down the foundation is the easy part, but will you be able to finish what you started?
You got saved through faith. If it took faith to start, it is going to take faith to finish. Count the cost. You will have to invest time in reading your bible and in much prayer. You will need the support and help of other believers (Hebrews 10:25). It will not always be easy. In this world, you will have tribulation, the world will hate you, you will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, you will be betrayed, men will say all manner of evil against you falsely (for Christ’s sake), but you will have to learn how to endure some things. Endure means that you don’t let anything or anyone stop you. What you go through may seem difficult, but don’t stop. Go through it patiently. If you decided to believe God yesterday, then decide to believe Him today and believe Him tomorrow. Do not quit. Stand firm in the faith so that you can say what Jesus said – It is finished.
There was a time when many of Jesus’ disciples went back and walked no more with Him (John 6:6). Some of us are thinking about going back because someone offended us at church or your marriage failed or you lost your job or because God’s way seems too difficult. He has already promised that He will never leave you. Don’t leave Him just because it feels like He left you. He never left. God is telling us the same thing that Elijah told the prophets of Baal – Make up your minds! If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him (1 Kings 18:21).
Are you ready to fully commit yourself to Him? Are you ready to present your whole body as a living sacrifice? If you are going to follow God, follow Him all the way. He doesn’t want you to put your hand to the plow in the beginning only to look back in the middle. Anyone who does this is not fit (useful or qualified) for the kingdom of God. Last month, I was sad and disappointed about something and the Lord said to me, Just because you haven’t received what you prayed for yet, doesn’t mean that I don’t care. I cared enough to spare you. He had a very good point. If you don’t get the things you want or if things don’t go the way you think they should go, will you still love Him? Will you still trust Him? Will you still obey Him? Or will you leave Him also?
You may not understand the price Jesus paid, but what He endured was worth it and when you count the cost of following Him, you will realize that it is worth it also. To follow Christ will cost you something, but the cost of following Him is much better than the cost of not following Him.
Be encouraged…and finish it!
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith ~ 2 Timothy 4:7