When You Ask a Question…

I love reading 1 Samuel and the following several books of the Old Testament. The narrative sections are so instructive to my life, even though the events are thousands of years away. In 1 Samuel chapter 4 we read where the Israelites were defeated by the Philistines in battle. And then in verse 3 we read this: And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.”   In the midst of defeat the Israelites ask the right question: “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines?” That’s the right question. They seem to recognize that God went before them into battle. But they don’t wait for an answer from God. Their answer is absurd. They think that by bringing the ark of the covenant with them, it will save them! That goes against the nature, character and instructions of God in so many ways. They should have known better. Why ask God a question if you’re going to not listen for an answer…and then come up with a crazy one of your own?

But wait a minute…how many times do I do this…and perhaps you as well. I’m asking for God’s help or God’s guidance…and I give Him all of 5 minutes to make it happen…and then go in a different direction. Or I give Him longer than 5 minutes or I don’t like the answer and I do what I want anyway. When I ask a question of God shouldn’t I wait for and follow His answer? The Israelites were soundly defeated again, even with the presence of the ark in the battlefield. When you and I come up with our own answers, we are not going to be happy with the outcome. When you ask a question, listen for the answer from God and His word…and then obey.


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