WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 16, 2021
TOPIC: WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO
BY T. O. BANSO
“O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help” (2 Chronicles 20:12 New Living Translation).
When someone comes to you confused about what to do in a situation, how do you normally react? When people come to you to discuss a problem, do you look down on them? Do you talk to them as if you’re a superior person? Do you look at them as unintelligent people who cannot handle the challenges of life and need others’ help? Do you see yourself as a superman or someone who has a solution to everybody’s problem and doesn’t need anyone’s help?
I have seen people who behave as if the reason they’re not experiencing certain negative things in life is that they are better than others in intelligence, prayer, holiness, carefulness, and so forth. However, it is not in all cases that people are responsible for the challenges or negative experiences they’re passing through.
People who don’t understand this may not be compassionate or empathize with such people. They could be judgmental. Even if people are responsible for their plights, it is not helpful to talk down on them, condemn them, or torture them with what we say to them.
People may come to you today for counsel, direction, or encouragement; it may be your turn tomorrow. The challenges of life are no respecter of persons. Not everyone who is facing some challenges or undergoing some problems is responsible for it. Sometimes a wise person could be faced with a situation that he doesn’t know what to do. Don’t treat such a person as a fool.
Sometimes, the person who counsels others or other people consult can also be faced with issues of life that he is confused about. That’s a reason for one to be humble and not feel that he is superior or better than those who come to one for help or talk to them without compassion or be judgmental. The three friends of Job manifested this behavior in their lengthy conversation with him during their visit to him to comfort him over his trials. They condemned him instead of encouraging him. They criticized him instead of comforting him. When a man is down, it is unfair to trample on him.
In Job 16, Job reacted thus to what his friends had said: “I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all! Shall words of wind have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? I also could speak as you do, if your soul were in my soul’s place. I could heap up words against you, and shake my head at you; but I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief” (Job 16:2-5 New King James Version).
You are not better than someone facing one challenge or the other. Don’t regard him as a fool or careless person. Don’t jump to conclusion that he is at fault. You may be wrong. A grieving person does not need criticism or condemnation. Most of them have already admitted their faults. You don’t have to rub it in.
Life can throw some hard stuff at anyone at any time. Sometimes one can find oneself in a situation that one doesn’t know what to do. It’s not because one is weak, unintelligent, not prayerful, or sensitive spiritually. In 2 Chronicles 20, three nations, Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, came against Judah. King Jehoshaphat was told that a great multitude was coming against him from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they were in Hazazon Tamar also known as En Gedi.
Jehoshaphat was afraid because of the news and sought the LORD for guidance. In addition, he ordered that everyone in Judah should observe a fast. The people came to Jerusalem from all the towns of Judah to seek the LORD. Jehoshaphat stood before the people in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the LORD and prayed to Him.
While praying, Jehoshaphat said, among other things, “O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help” (2 Chronicles 20:12 New Living Translation). You could find yourself in a situation that you’re powerless in relation to the challenges you’re facing. You might not know what to do. Someone, who has been advising others or giving them direction, may not know what to do. What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
Some people do everything except what they should do! They could cry, lament, grumble, or go about talking to people; especially those who can’t help them. Some people could even engage in substance abuse because they want to live in denial.
But in 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat did the right thing when he didn’t know what to do. He knew Judah could not confront and defeat the three nations. He didn’t go to seek the assistance of other nations but went to God to seek God’s assistance. He went to pray to God who didn’t allow the ancestors of the Israelites to invade these nations when the Israelites left Egypt. He told God these nations were paying them with evil for the good their ancestors had done by not destroying them but following another route. Jehoshaphat committed the problem into the hands of God and asked for His help.
When you’re confronted with a situation you don’t know what to do, take the matter to God in prayer. Ask for His help. You may not know what you should do but God does. David said in Psalm 108:10-13, “Who will bring me into the strong city? Who will lead me to Edom? Is it not You, O God, who cast us off? And You, O God, who did not go out with our armies? Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies” (New King James Version).
Don’t pretend you’re a superman when you don’t know what to do. It may not be wrong to talk to people and ask for their help but make sure you talk to God first about the situation. Sometimes the people you think know or understand, may not. They may just be as confused, helpless, or powerless as you are. Indeed, their condition may be worse than yours!
Jeremiah 17:5 says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD” (New King James Version). Verse 6 says he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.
In contrast, verses 7-8 say, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit” (New King James Version).
When you don’t know what to do, put your trust in God and call upon Him for help. You can pray with fasting as Jehoshaphat did. “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” (Proverbs 3:5-6 New King James Version).
When Jehoshaphat called upon the LORD, He answered him. The Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel and assured Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah and Jerusalem of victory. “And he said, ‘Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you:’Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you’” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17 New King James Version).
When you don’t know what to do, call upon the Lord. David said, “Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies” (Psalm 60:11-12 New King James Version). He said the same thing in Psalm 108:12-13.
Peter, acting upon the instruction of Jesus, began to walk on water toward Him. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid. He began to sink. Obviously, he didn’t want to drown. But he didn’t know what to do. The only thing he did was to cry to Jesus to save him (Matthew 14:28-30). Jesus rescued him. Also, when a great windstorm blew against the boat of the disciple while Jesus was sleeping, they didn’t know what to do other than to wake him up. He rebuked the wind and commanded it to be still. The wind ceased and there was a great calm (Mark 4:35-39)
When you don’t know what to do, look up to the Lord. Cry to Him. Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (New King James Version). Your help is in the Lord. Lift up your eyes to Him. You may be confused but He is not. He has all answers to the questions bothering you.
Psalm 124:6-8 says, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth” (New King James Version).
In Exodus 14, one could say that Moses didn’t know what to do as Pharaoh’s army pursued the Israelites and the Red Sea was before them. They didn’t want to drown in the sea and they were afraid of the Egyptians catching up with them. In other words, they were between the devil and the deep blue sea. The children of Israel cried out to the LORD for help. But they also complained to Moses!
Moses told the Israelites not to be afraid but stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He would accomplish for them that day. He said the Egyptians they saw, they would see again no more forever; the LORD would fight for them and they would hold their peace.
The Bible says that Moses cried to the LORD because of the dilemma they were in. “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen” (Exodus 14:15-18 New King James Version).
The LORD came to the rescue of the Israelites. They walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, as the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. But all the horses, chariots, and charioteers of Pharaoh were drowned in the Red Sea. All the Israelites were saved but all the Egyptians pursuing them perished. The Lord will fight all the enemies pursuing you and all shall be well with you.
When you don’t know what to do, call upon the name of the Lord. You can pray and fast during which you prayerfully study your Bible. God can give you instructions from His Word or give you specific directions. The psalmist says the Word of God is a lamp to his feet and a light to his path (Psalm 119:105). Call upon the Lord. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13; Joel 2:32). Your present condition may be such that you are powerless but you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit 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 resurrected 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.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, when I don’t know what to do, instruct me. My help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. I call upon Your name, O Lord, save me. Let my soul escape like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; let the snare be broken; help me to escape. I will not be stranded in life in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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