DayBreaks for 9/15/16 – Foreknowledge or Faith?
I’ve got to tell you that there have been many times that I’ve asked God to show me what He wanted me to do in a given situation. Sometimes I’ve received very clear guidance. But more often than not, I’ve received an answer that amounted to this: “No, I’m not going to show you what will happen if you do this or that. I’m not showing you the future. Just follow me when the time comes.” I’ve not always liked that answer.
At times like that, I think how great it would be to know the outcome in advance, to have a clear picture of what would happen if I chose option X or option Y…that then I’d be better equipped to make a wise decision, and surely God wants me to make a wise decision, right?
Well, consider the Biblical track record of those to whom God granted such a vision. Balaam was told by God what would happen with Israel and that he should not curse them. But Balaam went his own way and did what would make him rich…he even worked directly against the interests of God and Israel. Even though Balaam knew in advance what the long-term picture would look like, he wound up being executed as an enemy of Israel.
Perhaps even a better illustration of how knowing the future wasn’t a blessing, but a curse, was in the case of Hezekiah. Up until the time that God told him he was going to die, and Hezekiah pleaded for more time, Hezekiah had been one of the best kings that Judah had experienced. God granted Hezekiah’s request and told him he’d have another 15 years of life. But what did Hezekiah do with those 15 years? He wasted them, and as he did so, he sowed the seeds for the future demise of Israel and their subsequent captivity.
“I once viewed foreknowledge as a ‘genie in a bottle’ gift of magic that affords the recipient an enviable advantage. I now see it as a rather demanding test of faith. David in exile dreaming of his coronation, Hezekiah debating 15-year plans, the apostle Paul riding out a Mediterranean storm, even Jesus praying in them, but that hardly made the process any easier. It takes an extra measure of faith to endure with patience and obedience the long hours or years that precede whatever future you know about in advance. Ask the Old Testament prophets.” – Philip Yancey, Finding God in Unexpected Places
If we knew the road in advance there would be no room for faith. We’d be walking by sight, not faith. And chances are, like Hezekiah, we’d squander any advantage in knowing what lay ahead. God desires faith, not sight – that’s why He often doesn’t give a clear picture to us.
PRAYER: Lord, may we be content to walk by faith when you don’t give us specific answers about future outcomes. When we can’t bear the vision of the future and we have to wait for it to unfold, give us patience and wisdom to continue to wait. And when you do reveal future plans to us, may we walk faithfully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.