Links Daily Devotional

Direction and Action, Part 2

I also told them about the gracious hand of God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. (Nehemiah 2:18, NIV)

One of the men in our group was troubled. In a life that had included more change over the past 12 months than anyone would dare ask for, he wanted to know whether he was giving God His due. He was wondering, in so many words, just how we’re supposed to find the balance between “take the bull by the horns” and “let go and let God.”

Great question!

If you play golf, you recognize the need for balance in your game. How much do you practice with your driver, say, before you need to get busy with your putting? And certainly you do yourself no good in your fitness sessions to concentrate repeatedly on one set of muscles when golf places its demands on so many parts of our body. So you maintain balance in order to improve your play.

Maybe that’s what our friend was doing—applying what he knows to be true about golf to the whole picture of his life.

Surely we recognize that God does not intend to dictate our every step like a micromanaging boss shadowing us around the office. There is no evidence of any person in the Bible receiving this sort of moment-by-moment direction from God—although there is certainly evidence that God can give detailed plans when He wants to. Ask Noah about the ark or Moses about the tabernacle! But even these plans were limited in their scope to a particular project.

Surely we also recognize that the gravest errors of Israel’s ancient kings occurred when they failed to consult the Lord (or at least the Lord’s prophets). We know we should be asking God for direction. In  doing so, however, some people are scared to death to act, afraid they will outrun God.

In times like these, what we may need is a dose of balance, for both the person who consults God before every breath and the person who never consult Him at all end up accomplishing little of worth. The person who tends toward “making it happen” needs to spend intentional hours in prayer and listening to God to make sure the Lord is in the plans. And the person who tends to ask and ask and ask but hesitates ever to act needs to takes some steps of faith and see what God reveals at each new level.

Nehemiah knew that with God’s hand upon him, his own hands would do their best work. So he folded his hands in prayer, and when he had been given the go-ahead by God, he unfolded them and got busy. That’s a lead we can follow!

Jeff Hopper

October 26, 2011

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