Choices reveal character
After all the land was divided among the tribes; the Israelites gave a piece of land to Joshua as his allocation. For the LORD had said he could have any town he wanted. He chose Timnath-Serah in the hill country of Ephraim. He rebuilt the town and lived there. – Joshua 19:49-50
5 Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents.
6 But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together.
7 So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.)
8 Finally, Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives!
9 The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”
10 Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the LORD or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
11 Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram.
12 So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain.
Considering all that Joshua had done in service to the Father and for the nation of Israel, you might anticipate two outcomes. First, he would take the best for himself. After all, he deserved it. Right? And second, the children of Israel, out of appreciation, would give him the very best of what was available. But this was not the case. Joshua’s choice was far from the best. He chose a hard, barren place. His choice revealed his heart. It also revealed the hearts of the children of Israel. They were perfectly willing to let the man of God get the leftovers. Sadly it seems little has changed in 3500 years.
REFLECT & PRAY
“Your ideal is what you wish you were. Your reputation is what people say you are. Your character is what you are” (anonymous).
Father I desire to fall in love with Your Word and consume it as food for my spirit. Give me Jeremiah’s passion and David’s love and delight for Your Word.
We are fallen people living in a fallen world. Fallen DNA influences our thoughts, emotions, and actions. If our choices reflect our essential fallen nature, there should be no surprise. They show who and what we really are. Our self-absorbed motivations are clearly seen.
This is evidenced in everyday life. When the family lives together in a small home with one bathroom, who gets to use it first, second, . . .? When chicken is served, who has the first choice of the preferred pieces? When it’s turkey time, who gets the legs?
Stress and risk often disclose character. “True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature” (Robert McKee).
Risk is a vital element that demonstrates character in action. The question is, what are people willing to lose. Some are committed to going all in. Others are pretty reserved and seek safety and maximum protection.
If you want to make better, unselfish, godly choices, it begins by developing a godly character. “By making choices consistent with eternal truth, you will develop righteous character” (Richard G. Scott).
Psalms 119:9 How can a young person his way pure? By living according to your word.
The Hebrew word translated as way is orach. Orach typically referred to a path. In the Old Testament, orach is frequently used figuratively to describe a way of life. Here it connotes a way of living, behavior, or life course.
The Hebrew word translated as pure is zakah. Zakah is used only in poetry and always in a moral sense (UBS). It means to be clear, clean, keep clean or make clean. Pure here means free from sin, free from fault.
Psalms 119 suggests that we can keep our lives and behavior clean and pure. Is this even possible? Solomon has his doubts.
Proverbs 20:9 Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”?
The answer is that no one will ever be perfect in their purity because of our fallen DNA. But we can set perfection as a goal and strive for it. It is like aiming for the bull’s eye, knowing we will not always hit every time.
David shows the way.
Psalms 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
To make choices according to the word of God, you have to know what it says. But knowing is not enough must be internalized.
But there’s more. Memorizing the word of God by rote is one thing. Falling in love with and taking great delight in it is entirely different. David had fallen in love with the Father and His Word.
Psalms 119:47 How I delight in your commands! How I love them!
He made it his goal to study and reflect upon the Word of God. He chooses not just to read it and meditate on it but to commit it to memory. Can you imagine loving the Word of God enough to consume and lock it in your heart and mind?
15 I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.
Jeremiah had great passion for the word of God. It seems beyond belief.
Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!
It is incumbent upon every child of the King to commit to memorizing the word of God. Memorizing the Scriptures and living according to them is the key to making better life choices.
© Dr. H 2022