Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Judges 2:1–15; 1 Kings 12:26–31; 2 Chronicles 33:9, 10; Jeremiah 2:1–28; 5:2, 3
How do you make wise choices (and avoid making bad decisions)? The news is replete with people who have made terrible choices. Consider these tips to lead you on the right pathway. First, remember what matters most. We can easily get sidetracked on the trivial and miss what counts. If you clearly know your core beliefs, you’ll more likely make wise choices.1
Another important part of making great decisions is learning from your past. You can pick up helpful ideas from your own previous experiences as well as others. What mistakes have you or others made that you should avoid? And keep a humble attitude! Some people think they need to be on top of everything, so they hesitate to seek help from others.
It’s also useful to keep a balanced view of your situation. Look at your challenge from different angles. Review the facts. Is your gut telling you something? Putting off a decision until you have everything lined up perfectly may never happen. Life is messy. At some point you need to do your best and jump in.
As we learn in our Sabbath school lesson this week, Israel broke all the rules for making good decisions. God’s people forgot what mattered most and focused on trivial issues that led them away from the Lord. They set aside their beliefs until they could hardly remember them. And they certainly didn’t learn from their past. Evil king after evil king led them deeper and deeper into a national crisis until the nation literally split in two.
When God sent a prophet to provide a balanced view of their situation, they were angry and tried to destroy him. Most of the kings who heard Jeremiah didn’t like him because pride ruled their hearts. The voice of the Holy Spirit was speaking to their consciences through the prophetic word, but time and again the man of God was shut down. Sometimes his written testimonies were burned. Another time he was thrown into mud pit and left to die. Even when it was time to make a decision, the last king of Judah fumbled.
The crisis in Israel and Judah didn’t suddenly come upon God’s people. It arrived after they made one bad choice after another. We’re no different in our own crises. We could learn a thing or two from Bible history. It would help us avoid catastrophe and make wise decisions.
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