West Point graduates celebrate around the world an annual banquet called Founder’s Day. Within this fellowship tradition is another tradition in which the youngest and oldest graduates in attendance are asked to give a short speech. Recently at a Portland, Oregon gathering, retired Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Knight, class of 1952, delivered the “old grad” speech. He shared a story of “but for God’s grace,” he should not even be in attendance. His soft spoken delivery gave all of us pause to consider the simple importance of asking the right question.
Before Christmas in 1951, a special opportunity was afforded cadets whose homes were on the West Coast to catch a military Douglas C-47D flight from Massachusetts. Cadet Knight was excited about the opportunity to get home for the holidays without having to purchase a commercial ticket. But before he placed his name on the manifest he asked what flight arrangements were made to return the cadets back to West Point? The answer he received was that no arrangements were made. Afraid that he might be late in returning to school and potentially get into trouble, he declined the offer. On December 30, near Phoenix, Arizona, the west bound flight crashed. Nineteen young cadets on board who decided it was not so important how they got back all perished.
1 Samuel 23:10-12—Then David said, “LORD God of Israel, Your servant has heard that Saul intends to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me. Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down as Your servant has heard? LORD God of Israel, please tell Your servant.” The LORD answered, “He will come down.” Then David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?” “They will,” the LORD responded.
David and his band of followers saved the citizens of Keilah from the attacking Philistines. The natural assumption would be that the grateful townspeople would at least make some provision to protect him from King Saul. What made David such a great leader was that he rarely made assumptions. Instead, he asked God questions. Rather than taking matters into his own hands or solving problems by his wits, he asked God what he should do.
It is an American joke that men may get lost when traveling because they are too proud to ask for directions. Instead of seeking help, many males will just drive thinking eventually they will figure out how to arrive at their destination. I suspect there are many women who could share with us hilarious stories about their “lost” spouses! The simple truth is not only is there no shame in asking for directions, we would all negotiate life far better by querying God for His wisdom. Jesus said, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7,8). Words to live by . . .
Always beware when you are perfectly certain you are right, so certain that you do not dream of asking God’s counsel. Our confidence rests not with our wits, but with God. We must never depend on our own moral judgment or our intellectual discernment or our sense of right and justice. All these are right in themselves, but not right in us; we can only be right as we remain absolutely confident in God.—Oswald Chambers in Not Knowing Where
©2011 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)