In our frenetic high pressure culture let us take a look at verse in Isaiah that provides a much needed perspective.
16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.” Isaiah 28:16 (NKJV)
This verse, in particular the phrase, “Whoever believes will not act hastily.” impacted me about 30 years ago when I was listening to a teaching series on discernment. The speaker’s point was that when we are paying attention to His voice we don’t rush into things – we make wise decisions. As someone who has many times placed unnecessary pressure on myself from taking on too many things I speak from the place of experience. Yet while knowing this in my head frequently a gap appeared between my knowing and doing. Over time I have come to a deeper appreciation of what Isaiah wrote and have learned to walk more fully in what the verse is about. Following His leading rather than my own wisdom.
The idea of not acting hastily doesn’t’ mean we never need to make quick decisions or react quickly in a crisis. It instead focuses on the bigger picture. In context Isaiah is pointing to the eternal reality of Christ as the cornerstone in contrast to the false gods the leaders in Jerusalem had made a covenant with. We need to look to Him for wisdom rather than relying on our own wisdom.
A great example in scripture of someone ignoring godly wisdom, acting hastily and it leading to disaster is King Saul. He knew the proper protocol from his first encounter with Samuel. Here is what was told to Saul before he first met Samuel.
13 “As soon as you come into the city, you will surely find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up, for about this time you will find him.” 1 Samuel 9:13 (NKJV).
Saul was told of the need to wait for Samuel’s blessing. That reality is reinforced here in what Samuel later said directly to Saul.
8 “You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do.” 1 Samuel 10:8 (NKJV)
Later he lost everything because he ignored this protocol and failed to wait.
9 So Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. 11 And Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, 12 then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:9-14 (NKJV)
There are some critical points here. Saul acted in haste and not wisdom because he ‘felt compelled.’ In verses 13-14 we find that the covenant God later made with David was available to Saul and lost because he refused to wait. Now clearly not every hasty decision carries this degree of consequence. However the principle is there.
In our era we are called not to wait for Samuel but to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We need His leadership in our lives. This means learning what it is to wait upon Him and putting it into practice. Scripturally waiting is not a passive acquiescence to circumstances, it is a heart looking expectantly to Him and waiting for His inner prompting and guidance. We pray, lay things before Him and go about our lives. However we don’t make major spiritual decisions without a sense of His inner leading.
In my own practice of seeking His wisdom I often turn to and pray two particular verses from Psalm 25.
4 Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. Psalm 25:4-5 (NKJV)
I want to walk in His paths and truth, so I wait for Him and trust Him to lead me in His paths and to reveal His perspective on truth.