Right, or left? Go on, or turn back? Take a stand, or give ground?
Sometimes in life we face decisions like this. And it’s not always easy to know the correct answer.
It may be that we feel like we lack the information we need, or the wisdom required, to make such a decision. And sometimes we worry that our emotions are getting in the way of a rational decision (or is it, instead, that our our head is getting in the way of where our heart wants to lead us?).
David was under constant pressure from his rivals and enemies. He was also quite aware of his own sin and how undeserving he was for the position he’d been given as king of Israel.
Many scholars believe that David wrote Psalm 143 in his desolation after he had been driven from Jerusalem by his own son, Absalom. David knew that he had to deal first with his own sins, and then determine how to respond to this crisis in his leadership.
Not an easy decision when your own son is creating the crisis!
When big, crucial decisions loom, the place to go is to your knees. Seek God in prayer. Martin Luther, the great 16th century reformer wrote: “A man can say to his God, ‘Behold, take my heart, and lead me according to your will. I surrender myself completely to you.'”
This is what David said to God as he was facing his crucial decision. And this is what we can still by grace say to our Lord, when we face crucial decisions in our own lives.
Jesus, our Savior, makes such prayers possible. But even more, he guarantees that our Father’s ears are wide open to our pleas for forgiveness and guidance.
As David promises us, he will show you the way you should go. He will lead you onto level ground.
Lord, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you…
Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground (Psalm 143:1-2, 7-10, NIV).
Prayer: Pray Psalm 143.
Our Bible reading for Tuesday, December 15, is Malachi 1:1 – 2:16, Revelation 6:1-17 and Psalm 143:1-12.
Header image based on "decisions" by Martin Fisch, CC By-SA 2.0