1 Samuel 14
Saul demonstrates rash decision-making and lack of wisdom in this chapter. Instead of boldly confronting the enemy, he’s hiding in a cave. When he hears of Jonathan’s victory and the Philistines vulnerability, he attacks but requires his soldiers to swear an oath not to eat until the battle is over. But the battle apparently stretched on, leaving his soldiers weak. He demonstrated his foolishness is swearing that even if it was his son Jonathan, he would put to death the man who had violated his impulsive demand. And he provided an object lesson on how the impact of making foolish decisions expands like ripples in a pond, as the soldiers, in their hunger violated God’s command not to eat meat with the blood still in it.
In a difficult situation, we often make rash decisions without considering the consequences. But Saul’s story teaches us that we are not the only ones who suffer from the impact of our foolish choices. There are two ways that come to mind to help us avoid similar impulsive decisions. The first is to allow God to change our natural responses. We must be so steeped in God’s Word, as our pastor JD Greear has said, that “when life squeezes you, you ooze the gospel.” The more we read and apply God’s Word to our lives, the more it becomes our natural response to do so. The more we turn to God in prayer over every decision, the more prayer becomes our first response rather than our last resort. The more we surround ourselves with gospel community, expose our weaknesses and vulnerability, and seek the godly counsel of fellow believers, the truer our moral compass becomes.
Second, we must pause and consider our options and their consequences thoughtfully and prayerfully before making broad decisions. Some questions to ask yourself:
If I continue down the path I’m considering, where does it lead?
If I make this choice, will it bring me closer to God?
What is the worst possible outcome of this choice – and is that a price I’m willing to pay?
Although it’s become cliche, what would Jesus do? What would you do if Jesus were standing with you in this moment – because He is.