In most situations in life, we are met with two paths to take, two decisions, two sides, or two opportunities. Some presented are straightforward: for example, “to sin” or not “to sin,” evil vs. good, or what is fruitful or not. These are not hard choices; instead, the good vs. better options laid before us make decisions challenging.
I recently had to choose between something good and something better. It was hard because in many ways the good would have met the current need we have, yet, accepting it would have taken away the energy and focus I needed for God’s calling on my life.
Confused, I prayed, “God, what do I do? Is this opportunity an answer from You? Am I ungrateful for what You have provided? Or is this a temptation taking me away from Your purpose?”
The answer to that prayer did not come quickly; however, what was clear to me were my feelings of uneasiness. Every time I thought of saying “yes” to this one opportunity, my inner peace withdrew, my anxiety increased, and I became discouraged. Was there something to this? Where were these feelings coming from? Was it fear, or was it the Holy Spirit speaking to me?
With Raised Hand, I Have Sworn an Oath to the LORD
Our good friend, Abram (in Genesis 14:1-16) defeated Chedorlaomer and the kings; he rescued his nephew Lot from their attack, resulting in helping the King of Sodom, where Lot lived; he assembled his men of valor to defeat their enemy. They won!
After the victory, two kings visited Abram: The King of Sodom and the King of Salem (Melchizedek).
After Abram returned from defeating Chedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the King’s Valley. Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.”
But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me…” (Genesis 14:17-24).
Making the Better Choice
The King of Sodom represents temptation.
The King of Salem represents God’s will.
Abram was tempted by the King of Sodom, “keep the goods for yourself.” If Abram had taken this offer, he would have settled for less than God’s best. Thankfully, the presence of the Lord, Jesus, in the form of Melchizedek, was with Abram; God’s blessing battled the temptation with a reminder of the oath Abram made, “I have sworn an oath to the LORD, God Most High.”
Abram chose the better over the good. What King of Sodom offered Abram was due to him and his men for their services. But he did not want anything to tempt him away from seeing God as His provider and His rewarder!
Go for God’s Best
I declined the opportunity offered to me yesterday. In faith, I remembered my oath to the Lord; I choose to live out His call on my life. It is better; it is real; the strengths He has given me are to be used for His highest purpose.
After refusing the position, I felt peace and my hope restored. I no longer looked for confirmaton, but last night as I was reading my book, Jesus Life Coach, written by Laurie Beth Jones, God graced me with His beautiful affirmation. Jones writes:
“Every temptation that Jesus faced in the wilderness was related to His higher gifts. Could he have turned those stones into bread when he was so hungry? Yes. But He didn’t. In every case where He was called to use His higher gifts for a lesser purpose, Jesus refused. That restraint allowed Him to use His gifts in their highest form.”
I realized, in that moment, if I would have said ‘yes’ to the opportunity presented to me earlier, I would have used God’s gifts for a lesser purpose.
And I would have none of that! Amen?
Jesus and Abram knew their mission. They knew Whom they served. Their oath to the Most High God was better than meeting a temporary need on earth. I want to be like them, how about you?
Are you facing two decisions? Is the King of Temptation visiting you? No worries, temptation does not come alone. Jesus is right there with you. Choose what He wants. Go for God’s best. In the end, you will reap a greater faith and a richer harvest.