“You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you” (II Chron. 20:17)
Do you trust God?
This isn’t a trick question, and our gut response is “Yes, of course!” But it’s actually a more complicated question (and answer) than it appears at face value, isn’t it?
We don’t have God literally talking to us every day, telling us what’s on His mind and what plans He has for us that day. We want to involve Him in our decisions and understand His will, but it’s not always clear how involved He is in day-to-day details.
Does He want a say in every decision we make? How much does He care about the daily “small stuff” versus the big picture? Does He expect us to solve most of our own problems, or does He reward those who ask Him for help in every small issue?
More questions than answers, right…?? What I wanted to dig into in this study is how we approach “problem solving”, through the lens of some examples in the bible. Do think about waiting on God and trusting that He has things under control, or do we seek out worldly, human solutions?
This is one of those studies that’s intended more to share thoughts and spur your own thinking, rather than provide a specific point of view or “how to”. I’d consider it a combination of pointing out what can happen when we try to solve problems our own way and on our own timetable, and a meditation on the balance between relying on God and abdicating responsibility for our lives and decisions. This is a longer one, but only because there are a number of examples provided for context.
“Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord…”
A lot of these questions ultimately boil down to trusting in God’s timing and approach rather than giving in to human reasoning, impatience, and impulsivity.
But that requires us to believe that God knows each of us personally, that He is in control, knows what we want (and need), and wants the absolute best for us.
And I think that last bit (that He wants the best for us) is actually much harder than it sounds to truly grasp. It *sounds* completely logical, but when you’re in the middle of something and don’t see a good solution or understand why it’s happening, or when you want something so badly and don’t get it, that belief is a difficult thing to maintain.
There are many parts of the bible where God’s advice is effectively “be patient”. Many times His people were told to stand still and wait for Him to act on their behalf. Sometimes that was a literal physical command to stand there, but sometimes it referred more to their emotional state—just stop, don’t let your emotions run around like Chicken Little screaming “the sky is falling!”.
This is a topic I’ve been musing on for some time. It’s not clear-cut, and there is almost never an easy answer when we’re right in the middle of a situation. When something happens, what is your first instinct? Where do you look for solutions? How do you go about making decisions?
So I thought it would be good to show some examples from the bible of people who didn’t trust in God and figured out their own solutions (and how that turned out). Then because I’m not all Debby Downer, I wanted to showcase some great examples of people who did wait, and looked to God to accomplish His purpose in His time.
And of course—because it’s me—I have some thoughts on practical applications for our own modern lives at the end for us to consider.
Worldly solutions to (real or perceived) problems
First we’ll look at some examples of when people decided to find their own solutions to problems that were either real, or that they perceived to be real.
It’s kind of sad how easy it is to think of examples for both of these areas…but to be fair, the bible is written for our instruction, so it stands to reason that there are a lot of cautionary tales in there. Most of these are well-known stories, so I’m just going to highlight the important points rather than tell you the whole story.
These examples pretty much boil down to: Do you trust God to take care of you and help solve your problems?