By June of 1997 our church was $11,000 in debt to a property owner who raised our maintenance costs. Because of the $3000 monthly property bill I went six months without a salary as the pastor. God sustained my family through the generosity of a senior citizen who attended Horizon Community Church. An opportunity arose for us to merge with another wonderful church that served in a nearby community and, like ourselves, was about five years old. We prayed. We held several meetings. I championed the plan and was supported by many people who eagerly shared Scripture and a sense that the Holy Spirit was directing us. It seemed that God had given us a great opportunity. So we dissolved and were absorbed into a larger, healthier body of believers.
Looking back many years later, I believe our decision was a good one, but not the best one. I wish that instead of merging the elders and I had called for a prolonged time of fasting and prayer and even with mounting debt continued to rely upon the Lord for relief. I believe we took the easy way out, the expedient path. In the process we terminated the life of a vibrant, young church and missed the opportunity to experience a greater deliverance.
1 Samuel 26:8--Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!”
Twice God provided David opportunities to end the life of King Saul, a leader bent on destroying him. The prophet Samuel, in obedience to God, had already anointed David and declared His rejection of Saul as king. Yet, David refused to take Saul’s life. Instead he said to Abishai:
But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.” (1 Sa.26:9,10).
Saul was later killed by the Philistines in battle. David waited over seven years before becoming Israel’s king.
God created the conditions for David to take action. He literally put Saul and his men into a deep sleep (vs. 12). I believe He often works to give us what we want or need. But what is expedient and seems providential may be a test. What is good may not be what is best. We honor God when we do what most honors Him. Sometimes that means waiting instead of acting. Sometimes it means choosing the harder right instead of the easier right. Sometimes it means accepting prolonged suffering instead of opting for immediate relief. How do we know what to do? The first three phrases of the Lord’s Prayer give us our clue.
Beware of saying what is expedient from your own commonsense standpoint, especially when it comes to the big truths of God.—Oswald Chambers in The Servant As His Lord
©2004 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)