BY PASTOR T.O. BANSO
“On the seventh day of the feast, when King Xerxes was half drunk with wine, he told Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven eunuchs who attended him, to bring Queen Vashti to him with the royal crown on her head. He wanted all the men to gaze on her beauty, for she was a very beautiful woman. But when they conveyed the king’s order to Queen Vashti, she refused to come. This made the king furious, and he burned with anger” (Esther 1:10-12 NLT).
Decision-making is an important aspect of human life. We make decisions every day, and some decisions are more important than others. God gave the Bible to His children to direct every part of our lives, and there are principles from the Word of God that will guide us to make the right decisions and protect us against the consequences of wrong decisions. The Bible contains records of people who made both right and wrong decisions, with each having far-reaching consequences on their lives.
In the scripture above, King Xerxes made a wrong decision when he was half-drunk – he asked that Queen Esther be brought so that all the men would gaze on her beauty because she was a very beautiful woman. What would he gain from such a demonstration of lack of discretion? Obviously, he was not in his right frame of mind when he gave that order, but his officials, probably half-drunk too, had no option but to carry out his order. The word of the king was law. “Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say to him, ‘What are you doing?’” (Ecclesiastes 8:4 NKJV).
Queen Vashti, however, rejected the strange order and refused to be brought out to show her beauty to the all-male party. According to a school of thought, Vashti probably refused to obey the king because it was against the Persian custom for a woman to appear like that before a public gathering of men. However, Vashti’s insistence on obeying the custom (if that is true) was a disobedience of the king’s command, a blatant breach of protocol.
This unfortunate dilemma happened because the king took a decision under the influence of alcohol. One of the king’s officials advised him to dethrone the queen. The king was surrounded by wise men, but they didn’t advise him not to dethrone Vashti. She was eventually deposed. However, Esther 2:1 says, “But after Xerxes’ anger had cooled, he began thinking about Vashti and what she had done and the decree he had made” (NLT). That sounds like regret. You must avoid making rash decisions you’ll later regret.
Having said this, I want to share with you some tips that will guide you in making biblical decisions. I pray the LORD will use this to help you avoid wrong decisions and the attendant consequences.
1. Consider what the Word of God says on the issue and readily do it. The Word of God is unambiguously clear on some issues, either through direct instructions and commands or principles, and you don’t need to pray to God again to find out His mind before you make a decision on such issues. God’s Word is God’s will, and should also be your will. You should be able to cheerfully say, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10b NKJV). It is hypocrisy to know what the Word of God says and still be praying to find out His will. Just like Jesus Christ, your attitude should be “Nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42b NKJV). Your food should be to do the will of Him who sent you and to do finish it (John 14:34).
Be sure that your motives agree with the Word of God. God searches all hearts and examines secret motives (Jeremiah 17:10). He examines the motives of our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4). David says, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8 NKJV). Let your decisions about your life agree with what is written of you in the volume of the book – to do God’s will (Hebrews 10:7).
2. Take the issue to God in prayer. Your brain alone is too small to run your life. Don’t assume you know the right decision to make. There may be more to a matter than you understand. Many have been deceived by the assumption that they know the right decision to take only for them to regret it later. There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (NKJV).
Ask for wisdom from God who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5). Daniel and his other Hebrew colleagues prayed to the LORD for the revelation of Nebuchadnezzar’s forgotten dream and the LORD answered them (Daniel 2:17-19). As you pray over the matter, be patient to hear what the LORD will say in hours, days, weeks, months, or even more. The weightier the matter, the more patient you should be. Don’t be hasty.
3. Consider the facts. That you want to take biblical decisions doesn’t mean that you ignore the facts. Don’t rush to take decisions without considering the facts – you’re likely going to be wrong if you ignore the facts. Proverbs 18:13 says, “What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts!” (NLT). Lack of knowledge will lead to destruction (Hosea 4:6). “Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts” (Proverbs 24:3-4 The Living Bible).
The facts may not be the only basis on which you make decisions, but you should look at them first. The facts may have to do with the persons, places, figures, options, experts’ opinions, etc. The facts may help you to even pray accurately, thereby helping your decisions. When you’re in doubt about a certain fact, don’t conclude on it; seek more light.
4. Count the cost. Luke 14:28-29 says, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him” (NKJV). Before you make a decision, calculate or estimate what may be the consequences of your decision. Find out what price you have to pay and if this price does not violate the Word of God, if it honours and glorifies God and if the decision does not harm others. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV).
Also, find out if the option you’re considering is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Don’t let this scripture guide only your meditation; let it guide your decision-making. If your decision-making process passes this test, the probability of making the wrong decision is remote.
5. Deal with your emotions. Don’t allow your emotions to cloud your judgment. Don’t allow your emotions have the better part of you.
King Xerxes took a rash decision when he was merry with wine or half-drunk (Esther 1:10). He commanded the seven eunuchs who served in his presence to bring Queen Vashti before him, wearing her royal crown, to display her beauty to those present because she was beautiful to behold (verses 10-11). Evidently, he wouldn’t have given such a command, but he was under the influence of alcohol. That was why Queen Vashti refused to be brought by his eunuchs, which angered the half-drunk king.
The king eventually deposed Vashti as queen. But he later regretted his action – the removal of Vashti as queen. Unfortunately, he couldn’t reverse or rescind it because the law of the Persians and Medes could not be revoked (Esther 1:19). Don’t be emotional when making decisions.
Herod was carried away by his emotion when he asked Herodias’ daughter who had danced and pleased Herod to ask him whatever she wanted and he would give her swearing even to give her anything up to half his kingdom (Mark 6:22-24). This unfortunate decision led to the untimely death of John the Baptist against the wish of the king who felt sorry. “And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb” (verses 26-29 NKJV).
If the king had controlled his emotion, Herodias who had an axe to grind with John the Baptist wouldn’t have taken advantage of his rash decision to tell her daughter to ask for the head of this prophet of righteousness on a platter.
Be careful of the decisions you make when you’re tired, joyful, excited, sad, disappointed, angry, or under pressure. If you don’t control yourself, you’re most likely to take wrong decisions. Ensure you’re clear-headed when making decisions.
6. Take counsel from the right people. Nobody has a monopoly of wisdom; a wise person benefits from the wisdom of others. “Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others” (Proverbs 12:15 NLT). Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success” (NLT). There’s safety in taking counsel, especially from those you can trust their judgment (Proverbs 11:14).
Since nobody knows it all, take counsel from others, but make sure they’re the right people because ultimately you’re responsible for the decision you make. You may blame others for the wrong advice they gave you and the attendant negative consequences, but such blame doesn’t achieve anything.
After Queen Vashti disobeyed the king’s command, King Xerxes took counsel with his wise men, his advisers, on what to do to Vashti (Esther 1:13). One of them, Memucan, advised the king that she should be deposed to serve as a deterrent to other women in the kingdom. The king accepted this advice and implemented it. Beware of those who advise you to seek revenge. Don’t take any counsel that doesn’t help you to walk in love, forgiving others.
The older men, who had advised his late father, King Solomon, advised Rehoboam. Nevertheless, he chose to follow the advice of the young men, like himself. That decision led to the division of the kingdom (1 Kings 12). Be careful whose advice you follow. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Psalm 1:1 NKJV). Ensure you’re persuaded about any advice you receive; let the Holy Spirit confirm it – as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God (Romans 8:14).
7. Silence the voice of fear. Take the bull by the horn. Fear is a sin – whatever is not from faith is sin (Romans14:23b). Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Fear has a way of paralyzing people from taking action even after they’ve done all they need to do to make the right decision. This is another extreme, just as taking a rash decision is one extreme. Fear can make you excessively or unduly careful such that you do nothing and you become nothing. Don’t let fear keep you on the drawing board forever, always planning, but never implement.
When you’re persuaded about the right decision to take, take it by faith and trust God to help you handle whatever may be the outcome or fallout. “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5b-6 NKJV).
Conclusion: Nobody gets decision-making right every time, but you’ll not maximize your life if your decisions are often wrong. Therefore, you have to train or develop yourself to make the right decisions nearly all the time. If you’ve made some wrong decisions in the past, and they’re reversible, don’t be afraid or ashamed to make what you considered the right decisions. Only God cannot be wrong.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523