So…..do you ever have days when, having read your Bible, sung a few praise songs, and talked with the Lord…..the poop still hits the fan in some form or fashion? I have. In fact, I had a number of them in the past weeks. These are frustrating days when I find myself saying, “Okay, what did I miss?” Well, in the midst of that fog, I came across a daily devotional I received years ago from Dwight Clough called “Discoveries.” I was encouraged by it and wanted to pass it on in case any of you ever wrestle with the same feelings.
The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. — Judges 20:18
Today I want to take on the myth that if you do God’s will, everything will go smoothly. Sorry, folks, it just doesn’t always happen that way.
Judges 19-21 tells the sad story of a violent crime and a quest for justice. Evil men were shielded by the tribe of Benjamin, and the rest of the Israelites went to war with them. Is this a good time to seek the Lord? You bet. Why do you inquire of God before a battle? Because you want to make sure you’re doing the right thing. Because you don’t want to get killed or wounded. Because you want to win. Those seeking justice inquired of God. God said go for it. They went for it and lost. So they inquired of God again. Again God said, “Go up against them.” (Pretty clear answer if you ask me.) Again they lost. Now 40,000 men are dead. And the men still alive and gloating over their victory are the very men who committed the crime.
I bring this up because some of you may have inquired of the Lord, got His direction, ran with it, and now everything is going wrong. Those around you are saying, “See, there’s something wrong with you. You didn’t get it right.” And inside there are voices that say, “I must be a fool. I must have thought I heard from God, but I didn’t.” Not necessarily. David followed God and went from the frying pan into the fire. Moses did what God told him to do and things only got worse for the people of God.
We all want the will of God to make us healthy, wealthy and wise. But sometimes it doesn’t, at least not at first. Sometimes the will of God takes us on difficult paths that we would not choose for ourselves. It’s easy to jump to conclusions when we see people in trouble and assume that they’ve missed God. But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes they are in the exact center of God’s will.
God does straighten it all out in the end. The Israelites triumphed on the third try. David became king. Moses brought his people out of Egypt. Jesus rose from the dead. And so will you. Be encouraged!
(Dwight Clough, Discoveries 09-07-06.
I am praying that this week is one in which we all walk in His will in spite of how it may look around us to do so!