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Week 17 Day 5 – Listen to the Trees

1 Chronicles 14:8-17

Recently I had a chance to interact with a business man who started his own business twenty years prior and had built it up to being an international success.  As he was talking about his life he mentioned that in the next ten days he was going to be in two different states and a European country.  I asked him how that kind of travel impacted his family. With that question the look in his eyes betrayed the fact that a deep chord had been struck.  In a strained voice he described how his second wife of one year did not like the situation at all.  His only response was, “hey, she got to play in a big city for four days in the nicest hotel…for free.  She has to choose…if you want to play, you have to pay.”  As I watched this man operate for two days it became apparent that there was something attached to his shoulder, whispering in his ear, driving him to make the next deal, at any cost.  The eyes of this driven man seemed tired and lost.

In contrast, I had a conversation with another man who has been on a heart-journey over the past few years and has come to a place of turning his career and goals over to the Lord.  He wakes up every day and says, “Good morning Lord, what is the plan for today?”  With a genuine peace in his eyes, he reports that his family life has never been better, and that, by committing to leave the office at a set time each day and not overwork, he is actually more productive at the office when he is there.  He has taken his eyes off of physical goals and has seen the spiritual dynamics at play in every aspect of life. The wonderfully ironic part of the story is that he has had a better year financially than he has ever before experienced. 

In the 1980’s, Gordon McDonald wrote a book titled, Ordering Your Private World.  One of the most compelling parts of that book is when he discusses the difference between being driven and being led. When someone is driven it is as if something inside of them, or behind them, is sticking them with a red hot cattle prod, whispering into their ear, “if you do not jump on this opportunity right now, you will be a big, fat failure.  You must move now and create your own destiny.”  While on the other hand, a person who is led has placed her destiny into the hands of God and is always in a spirit of receptivity, keeping her eyes on God and waiting until it is clear that God has said to move ahead.  This is the story of the two men we have discussed above; one was driven, one was led.

In today’s reading we see an excellent example of what made David a man after God’s own heart.  Whenever David went into battle, he would always first inquire of the Lord, even when the battle seemed like a no-brainer.  In this particular battle against the Philistines, notice how God instructs David.  “When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees” then you can go in.  It’s as if the army of God was marching out before David, and he was simply to follow behind and claim the victory.

It would do us well to remember this basic lesson that is a recurring theme in the Old Testament.  The battle belongs to the Lord.  Too many times well-meaning Christians experience defeat in battle because they violated this basic principle.  They may be battling for a noble cause, but they have not waited on the Lord.  Too many times we see a problem and we use our human wisdom and problem-solving skills to rush in and fix it. We do this “in the name of the Lord,” but in reality we are doing it in our own strength.  While our motives may be right at first glance, our timing may be way off. 

This week, let’s make sure we take the time to pray and ask God for guidance and wisdom before making decisions.  Let’s get the driver out from behind us and fall in step with the Shepherd who is in front of us leading us to the place we need to go.

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