September 12, 2011 by Chris French
In 2nd Kings we find the story of Athaliah. She’s not your typical grandmother. You wouldn’t want to eat the cookies she baked! When her son Ahaziah, king of Judah, dies she systematically starts killing her own grandchildren so she can claim the throne for herself. Ahaziah’s father, Jehoram, didn’t pick a wife very well. He went to the house of Ahab and picked one of his daughters. Bad idea! Had it not been for Jehosheba, Ahaziah’s particularly resourceful daughter, David’s line would have been wiped out. Jehoshbea takes her young brother Joash and his nursemaid and hides them in the house of the Lord…for six years! Eventually Athaliah is killed and Joash takes his rightful place on the throne. Athaliah is the perfect picture of making bad decisions so we’ve got a lot to learn from her mistakes.
If we want to make good decisions we need to ask ourselves three questions. What are they saying? Who does my decision serve? What is my motive for making this decision. First, what are they saying? We need to surround ourselves with people we trust who know God. Athaliah was her own counselor. That’s mostly true because she killed everyone else, but still. Reheboam is another good example. He had surrounded himself with people he trusted that knew God, his father’s advisors, but he didn’t listen to them. Proverbs 24.6 says, “for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.” What are the trusted spiritual people in our lives saying about our decision?
Who does my decision serve? Athaliah’s decision served only herself. We’re not here to serve ourselves though! We were made to bring glory to God! Make the decisions in your life that help people see how great He is. It’s really easy for me to think that I’ve gotten to where I am because of what I’ve done. I run a large corporation because I worked late hours to get there. People tell me that I’ve done well in all my pursuits and I begin to believe that I’m the cause of my success. When I make decisions that serve myself I’ll end up in trouble. Good decisions are made by thinking what will make the most out of God.
What is my motive for making this decision? This is closely linked to that 2nd question, but has a slightly different angle. You can’t judge a decision to be right or wrong by the consequences that action produces. Think about Jesus’ action on the cross. That brought negative consequences for Him: death! Even though the consequences from His decision were negative His motive was pure: He wanted to save us. I need to make sure my motives are pure and Godly before I make a decision. I can reap good consequences from a bad decision or bad consequences from a good decision, but my motive for making that decision is one of the ways I know if I’m making a good decision.