Decisions that Define Us
Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads, faced with a difficult decision and unsure of which path to take? Life is filled with moments where the choices we make can lead us down vastly different paths. It’s during these moments that we must seek guidance and make choices that align with our values and aspirations. I’ve encountered such a crossroads in my own life, a moment where a seemingly simple decision could have had life-altering consequences. Let me take you back to the year 2000, a year before the world would witness the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
A Personal Crossroad
In the year 2000, I had two tempting opportunities before me: a chance to work at an investment bank in Lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center, or a position at a bank located in Midtown. The distance between these two locations was about 8 miles, but little did I know that this seemingly mundane choice could have placed me either safely away from or directly at ground zero on that fateful September morning.
I weighed my options carefully; both positions offered great pay, but one also offered the promise of growth from temporary to permanent status. Without the foresight of what was to come, I made my decision and chose the temp-to-perm offer in Midtown. Little did I know that this choice would later be filled with significance. On the morning of September 11, 2001, as I stood outside my office building in Midtown, I could see the smoke rising from the collapsed towers in the distance.
Biblical Wisdom: The Tale of Absalom
Just like my own experience, the Bible is replete with stories of people facing pivotal decisions. One such story is that of Absalom, the son of King David, as depicted in 2 Samuel 17. Absalom was at a crossroads, torn between seeking vengeance for the wrongs committed against his family and usurping his father’s throne.
Absalom’s heart carried the weight of pain caused by his half-brother Amnon’s heinous sexual assault against their sister. Absalom had already avenged this injustice by having Amnon killed. However, his resentment continued to fester, and he began amassing support to rebel against his own father.
Seeking Counsel: Ahithophel and Hushai
Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Please let me choose 12,000 men that I may arise and pursue David tonight. 2 Samuel 17:1
In the midst of this turmoil, Absalom sought advice from his advisors. Ahithophel, a seasoned military strategist, proposed a plan to pursue and eliminate David, effectively ending his reign (2 Samuel 17:2-4). This plan seemed foolproof, but Absalom sought a second opinion. Enter Hushai the Archite, a trusted confidant of Absalom’s.
Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.” When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “Ahithophel has spoken thus. Shall we carry out his plan? If not, you speak.” So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the advice that Ahithophel has given is not good.”
Hushai, with wisdom inspired by God, pointed to flaws in Ahithophel’s plan. He detailed David’s prowess in warfare and cautioned that engaging David in battle would be akin to facing a fierce bear (2 Samuel 17:8). Hushai’s counsel was rooted in an understanding of the situation and the nature of David’s abilities. Yet, Hushai’s advice was given to steer Absalom away from Ahithophel’s successful plan. Husahi’s purpose was to thwart Absalom’s takeover and return David to power.
Choosing Wisely: The Impact of Counsel
Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” — 2 Samuel 17:14a
Absalom now faced a critical decision. The advice of Ahithophel seemed appealing, promising a swift resolution, but Hushai’s counsel carried weight as well. Hushai proposed a different strategy, one that would lead to a more protracted battle. In a moment of choice, Absalom decided to heed Hushai’s counsel, a decision that would ultimately prove to be his downfall.
Divine Intervention: The Hand of God
For the Lord had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring calamity on Absalom. — 2 Samuel 17:14b
As the events unfolded, it became evident that God was at work in the situation. The Bible reveals that the Lord ordained to thwart the counsel of Ahithophel, ensuring that Absalom’s decision led to his own calamity. This divine intervention underscores the truth that God uses various means, even deception, to fulfill His purposes and bring justice. God was at work in Hushai, Zadok and Abiathar to thwart Absalom’s unjust grab for the throne.
Making Wise Choices
The story of Absalom offers valuable insights into decision-making for our own lives. Just as Absalom had to choose between the advice of Ahithophel and Hushai, we too encounter choices that can shape our futures. Here are some ways we can apply these lessons to our lives:
- Seeking Godly Counsel: Like Absalom, we should seek counsel from trusted individuals who have our best interests at heart. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors, they succeed.”
- Aligning with God’s Word: It’s essential to measure advice against the principles of God’s Word. Psalm 119:105 reminds us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
- Considering Consequences: Hushai’s counsel emphasized the potential consequences of Absalom’s decision. Similarly, we should consider the potential outcomes of our choices, especially in light of our faith.
- Trusting Divine Intervention: Just as God intervened in Absalom’s situation, we must trust that God is actively involved in our lives. Proverbs 3:5-6 advises, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
- Learning from Mistakes: Absalom’s story also highlights the importance of learning from mistakes. We all make wrong choices at times, but we can grow from them and move forward.
Navigating Life’s Crossroads
Life is a series of choices, each leading us down a particular path. As we navigate these crossroads, we can draw inspiration from the story of Absalom. While his decisions led to tragic consequences, his story serves as a reminder that seeking wise counsel, aligning with God’s Word, and considering the potential outcomes are all vital aspects of decision-making.
In our own lives, we may not always have the luxury of hindsight, but we can rely on God’s guidance to make choices that align with His will. Just as I unknowingly made a choice that spared me from the horrors of September 11, God desires to guide us through our choices and lead us toward His plans for our lives. So, the next time you’re faced with a difficult decision, take a moment to seek counsel, pray, and align your choices with the wisdom found in God’s Word.