Choose Your Own Adventure: Wednesday in the Word

Do you remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? I don’t know if they came out or just became popular when I was growing up, but everyone wanted to read them. The idea that with a simple choice, the story could pivot in an unexpected way captured the attention of reading children everywhere. I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books. It never read the same way twice.

Of course, I find that with regular books too. Something that jumps off the page at me now, I might have missed completely ten years ago. I’m a different person now. Of course, I gravitate to certain elements more than I used to. It’s only natural. But that’s different than the excitement that came when reading the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

With those, each choice had a consequence. (Maybe we NEED these books in the hands of our children and even adults today, as that seems to be a hard concept to grasp.) Oh my disappointment, when three pages in, I’d already killed off my main character due to poor decision making. But the disappointment didn’t last. I could start all over. Choose a different path, a better path.

My quiet time reading of 1 Samuel 24 reminded me of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books. David, hiding in a cave with his men, is faced with a choice. God has already told him Saul (the king who wanted to dispatch with David so David couldn’t assume the throne instead of Saul’s family) is going to be delivered into his hand and the kingdom will be his. The prophet has already anointed David. There is no doubt that David will one day be king.

So, hiding in this cave because Saul is trying to kill him, David is handed the opportunity of a lifetime. The man seeking to kill him saunters into the cave to … well, to answer nature’s call. Could not have been a comfortable situation for David and his men being essentially forced to stay in the restroom with Saul. Gross. But I digress.

Anyway, David’s men remind him that God has already promised to deliver Saul into David’s hand. THIS is that time. Kill Saul. Assume the throne. Let God’s plan be realized and allow himself and his men to come out of hiding.

At that moment, David could have done exactly what his men proposed. God had spoken. This situation seemed God ordained to deliver on God’s promise. The enemy literally strolled into David’s hiding place and was preoccupied enough to give David time to kill him. The deadly game of hide and seek would end. And I believe, based on God’s previous promise, David could have done so without wandering into the realm of sin.

But David went beyond hearing God’s promise and simply going with it. He relied on that still voice inside that said he would not have a clear conscience if he killed the man God had appointed to the throne. Essentially, he listened to the Spirit to know there was a better path available if he would only take it.

If David killed Saul at that point, none of Saul’s loyal men would have been pleased with David’s assuming the throne. They would have seen this evil man, bent on the death of their true king, finally gaining the upper hand. And, as David himself stated, his own conscience would have convicted him. Face it, David only cut off the corner of Saul’s robe, and he still felt bad about it.

By refusing to choose the quick and easy path, David accomplished something bigger than ascending the throne. When he confronted Saul with the truth of the mercy shown him that day, Saul, in front of those following him, admitted David’s innocence toward him. He acknowledged, in front of those present, that David would one day hold the throne. David showed all in attendance that he was not the enemy as Saul told them. He showed strength of character that would go a long way in securing the people’s loyalty.

I believe David could have taken either path and been in the right. But I also have no doubt he chose the best path.

How often do we, do I, look at something God has said or some leading God has placed on my heart, see the circumstances align perfectly and then rush to act without a further prayer for God’s best to happen? Am I assuming that because I’ve felt the call to go one way and then seen situations work out to make that happen, that I am to go that direction? Do you?

Do you assume every open door is the right door to His purpose? Or do you pause long enough to ask God if this possible way is His best way to accomplish the purpose He has for you?

I don’t want to be guilty of staying when I should be going. But I also don’t want to jump the gun and take the less perfect path to the place God is leading. In everything I do, I want His will. I don’t want to Choose My Own Adventure. I want to Choose God’s Best Adventure for me. What about you?

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