How many people in here have every taken a big decision to the Lord? have you labored over it, and set it before Him? When you finally made the decision, did you do it in full faith that it was the thing God was calling you do do? Of those people who have, how may of your plans went exactly how you hoped they would go? How many went the opposite of how you had hoped they would go? How did you process that decision? Did you doubt your ability to hear from God? Did you doubt God’s Love for you? Did the outcome have an impact on your faith? We’ll, I hope that we can all see from today’s text that God’s direction in our decisions is always what is best for us, but not what is easiest for us.
So, what we have in this narrative is Jesus making a step to solidify his inner circle. He has been amassing a number of disciples over this time and he was to choose 12 disciples to be His Apostles, which means “Messenger, one who is sent out” These 12, presumably to reflect the 12 tribes of Israel, were to be The ones who would be tasked with going out with the gospel after Christ’s death and resurrection and they would be the ones who primarily recorded the teachings of Jesus. These Apostles had quite a role in the early church and were privy to some of Jesus’ most personal moments. They were with him pretty much all the time and would hear his teachings over and over and convey those teachings as they went across the known world. Now, if you were Jesus, and you knew this how would you approach the decision?
1. Earnestly lay it Before His feet: “all night he continued in prayer to God”. Lest anyone believe that prayer is not important for us, look at the example of Jesus. He had a robust prayer life…here, and elsewhere, in the garden… If you are facing a decision, or are beginning a process, or looking for a spouse, put it before the Lord. Ask him to show you any improper motives, ask for insight, as Him to take the desire away if it is not from Him.
2. Move forward in faith with peace in your heart: “When day came he called his disciples and chose from them 12, whose he names Apostles.” Many people wait for some golden moment when they know that they know that they know what they are doing is from God. I have found that there are times I know things for certain, and there are times, I just have to walk through the next door.
3. Trust that the outcome is about God’s plans and not yours: “and Judas Iscariot, who would become a traitor”. There are times that we move forward in faith, believing that God has called us into a particular place and we are met with failure, or betrayal, or brokenness. The men that Jesus chose to be Apostles were not smart, or brave. Besides Judas, Peter was a loud mouth, the brothers fought over power, and got their mom to talk to Jesus. I am sure there were many time in Jesus’ ministry that if I were Him I would have questioned if I heard right from God on that day. But, failure does not mean you didn’t hear from God. Because what we often fail to realize is that when God is working in our lives to lead us to a particular place, He is not seeing just the one decision we are making, He sees the way His plan is unfolding through time. This was exceptionally evident in the life of David Brainerd…