Facing Critical Moments

When we became followers of Jesus something inward happened in us that changed the way we approach life. First of all, spiritually speaking, we passed from death to life. We became someone we have never been before. We have a new identity. “…even when we were dead in our transgressions, (God) made us alive together with Christ…” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Secondly, because of our new identity, we have a new belief system that drives our decision making. God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s guidance becomes our new standard for decision making and handling life’s critical moments.

The Scripture plays a big part in our framework for how we make decisions. I use to wonder why God allowed all those stories of failure to become part of the cannon of Scripture. Then it dawned on me one day that all those Bible characters were just like us. We fail in a similar manner. The Scripture records many examples of failure and its consequences. We read of God’s instruction, His promise of blessing if we obey, and His warning of judgment if we disobey.

Throughout our life we have all faced critical moments of decision. These events are often designed by God to be pivotal moments in our life. These are moments when our walk with God is challenged. It becomes a pivotal moment by how we respond. Are we going to wait on God and trust Him, or are we going to take things in our own hands?

This is where the examples in Scripture become valuable instruction. In 1 Samuel 13 King Saul faced a critical moment. He was facing the Philistine army and there were only two swords among Israel’s army, one for Saul and one for his son Jonathan. Everyone else had to use makeshift weapons, such as wooden spears or crude farm tools.

A week earlier, Samuel had warned Saul to wait for him at Gilgal before going into battle with the Philistines. The prophet had said he would arrive after seven days to make the proper sacrifices to the Lord.

When the seventh day came and Samuel hadn’t arrived, the soldiers began to scatter. Saul didn’t have God’s direction for battle. At this point Saul had two choices. One, he could stand firm and wait on the prophet Samuel for God’s direction. Or, he could go ahead and have the local Priest make his own sacrifices. Saul chose the latter.

Saul panicked. Because of his impatience he decided that he couldn’t wait any longer. He manipulated his way around God’s Word. He took things into his own hands and ordered the on-site priest to make the sacrifices without Samuel. He allowed himself to be overwhelmed by his circumstances. In doing so he committed a grievous sin against God. To him, in that moment, his circumstances were bigger than God’s ability to deliver.

This was Saul’s pivotal moment. He chose not to trust God to deliver him. Because of Saul’s impatience and willful disobedience, God took away his kingdom. Soon after, he committed suicide when he fell on his sword during a battle.

Bottom Line
When we are facing a critical moment, like Saul, we have two choices. We can choose impatience and fear or we can choose to wait and trust God to deliver us. Just as God knew that the Philistines were pressing on the Israelites, He knows every detail of our predicament. Every crisis has the potential of being a pivotal moment. These pivotal moments are our tests from God to propel us to new heights of trust in His power and ability.

The Lord chooses crisis moments to bring us to a deeper fellowship with Him. He wants to know, in our moments of crisis, if we will trust His ability to deliver us more than we trust the Devil’s ability to deceive and destroy us. Remember, God is fully aware of every element of our life. Choose to trust Him and, “trust in the Lord with your whole heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 -NAS)