Interpreting Circumstances

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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When soldiers are behind enemy lines during war, communication with commanding officers and artillery is critical. During World War II, the U.S. Army directed Privates Ben Yahzee and Charlie Whitehorse to communicate with superiors on the radio using “The Navajo Code.” It was based on the Navajo language, containing a code embedded within each message. Even other native Navajo soldiers could not decipher its meaning. Only these two men could properly interpret each transmission and in turn enable their counterparts to act accordingly.

When King Saul saw David as a threat to his reign, he pursued David with an army of trained soldiers, intending to put David to death. David had done nothing to deserve such treatment. He had been a loyal and valuable subject. While David and his men hid in a cave, Saul came in alone. This was David’s opportunity to slay the one seeking his life and ascend to the throne. His men even urged him to do so, interpreting this circumstance as God fulfilling a promise to David to “deliver thine enemy into thine hand” (1 Sam. 24:4). However, David was very careful not to haphazardly interpret his circumstances by the counsel of other men, nor by his emotions, which surely would have drawn him into revenge out of self-preservation. Instead, he told his men that it would be wrong for him to slay the Lord’s anointed king (vv. 6,10). David was wise to choose not to interpret God’s will merely by his circumstances. He believed principles in God’s Word essentially “forbid that I should do this thing unto my master” (v. 6). He believed God had already revealed His will in Deuteronomy 32:35-36, when the Lord explained, “To Me belongeth vengeance and recompense…For the Lord shall judge His people….” This meant it would be wrong for David to “get even” with this wrongdoer from within his nation. Instead, David turned Saul over to the Lord and trusted the Lord to take care of his present needs.

In Christian circles today, it has become common for believers to almost flippantly interpret God’s will by their emotions, the counsel of others, or by circumstances which are often manipulated to one’s preferences. There is a better way! Like David, we need to develop a pattern of interpreting God’s will by God’s Word. We are behind enemy lines in Satan’s territory, where interpreting God’s will accurately, through Paul’s letters, is essential. Trust God’s Word to give you clear direction, and then act accordingly.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

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