With school letting out for the summer, I am reminded of what my teachers used to say when I was in school: “Have a good summer and stay out of trouble.”
They knew that boys would be boys and trouble was almost unavoidable. As someone once said, “Getting into trouble is easy, but getting out is hard.”
Sometimes, you can get into trouble through no fault of your own. It could be because of something someone else did.
Trouble also comes in all shapes and sizes and sometimes can be very serious.
Getting into trouble (and staying out of trouble) usually comes down to the choices we make. The choices we make today can determine the kind of choices we will be able to make in the future. Therefore, it’s important to choose wisely and make the right choice.
Making the right choice isn’t easy for a variety of reasons, such as our own pride (“I can do this and get away with it because I’m so clever)” and the influences of others (“Who is going know and since you are not hurting anybody go ahead and do it.”)
All of us have made poor choices at times and good choices at others. It was the same way for some biblical characters, folks who are just like us.
Consider Adam and Eve. Eve was deceived into sinning by the serpent, but Adam chose to disobey God of his own free will and volition. If Adam and Eve could have looked down the road and saw what their decision meant to the course of mankind, they probably would not have made the choices they did. After all, hindsight is 20-20.
Their decision, however, did not catch God by surprise. The plan of redemption already was in place before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. God knew what they would do.
Another person who made a terrible choice that created all kinds of trouble was David. If he had been at war as the other kings were, he would not have taken a late night stroll in his palace and seen the beautiful Bathsheba; he would not have sent for her; he would not have impregnated her; and he would not have concocted a diabolical scheme to have her husband killed in battle to cover up his adulterous affair. (Read 2 Samuel 11-12).
If David could have known that the choice he made would eventually wind up splitting the kingdom of Israel, he probably would not have had sexual relations with Bathsheba. But again, this did not catch God off guard. He is not a reactionary. He is sovereign and knows the end from the beginning.
“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”
Finally, there’s Joshua and the choice he made to serve the Lord. After Moses died, God chose Joshua to lead Israel into the Promised Land. After the land had been divided, Joshua gave the people some instructions from the Lord.
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV)
Obedience is the best way to make right choices, whether it’s obeying parents or obeying God. Consider the example of the Thessalonians after they heard the gospel. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia–your faith in God has become known everywhere.
Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.
1 Thessalonians 1:8-9 (NIV)
So, while you’re out of school this summer (and at other times), choose wisely and try to stay out of trouble.
Rubin E. Grant
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