3 Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So, let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.
8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold, and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also. (2 Kings 7:3-8, NIV)
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. We all must make them at some point. Some of them are easy and remarkably simple. What should I have for dinner? Sure, you may waffle about it for a few moments, but the result won’t usually be life altering. Assuming you’re not going to choose something you’re highly allergic to. Other decisions are much more challenging to make because they could have far reaching consequences that will affect your life for the rest of your life. Shall I get married? Harvard or Yale? This job or that? Having to make those decisions can leave one anxious or filled with misgivings.
Many people have gotten their knickers in a twist because they don’t quite know how to navigate this “new normal”. Not accustomed to chaos, there’s a lot to navigate in the world. There are lies, conspiracy theories, and confusion about everything. AI, the Israeli-Palestinian war, politics and government to name just a few. With all the uncertainty, so many are stuck and vacillating, I wanted to share five ways to make a decision. Of course, I am reminded of a Bible story! This one is from 2 Kings 7.
There was a famine in the land of Samaria. Four lepers, who were quarantined according to the law, wandered to the city gate. They talked among themselves and said, “Why stay here until we die?” They identified a problem. They were in isolation, just outside the city and made it to the city gate. If they stayed in quarantine they would die, but if they went into the city the famine was there, and they could die also. Quite a hopeless dilemma.
The lepers had the wherewithal to assess the information they had. They knew that the Arameans were at war with the Samaritans and knew if they could make it to the Arameans war camp there was a possibility the Arameans would spare their lives. The other alternative would be that they would die. In the first scenario they knew they would surely die. In the second scenario, they weighed the evidence and realized they had a 50/50 chance of living. A fifty per cent chance of living versus a 100% chance of dying, what would you choose? Exactly! They acted because there was really nothing to lose.
The four men took their chances, went into the enemy camp, and found no one there. God had caused the Arameans to believe they were being attacked and they fled the campsite. The four men who had leprosy were able to enter the tents eat and drink, plus walk away with booty of silver, gold, and clothing. What a powerful lesson on decision making. I bet you thought the Bible was boring, didn’t you? Not! There is always a useful nugget of practical wisdom waiting for the reader to dig up.
As we navigate the ins and outs of a nation in chaos and confusion and the challenges of life in general, these are the five points to consider as we navigate the decision-making process.
· Identify the problem. Define the nature of the decision you must make. In the case of the four men with leprosy, there decision was simple. To take a chance on living or surely die.
· Access and assess information. Find the information you need to make an informed decision. What the lepers knew for sure was that the Arameans had set up a war camp in Samaria and at the camp there would be access to food and water.
· Determine the alternative. If they made it there, the men’s lives may be spared. The very worst that could happen was they would die. But death was certain if they did nothing.
· Move forward. Do not just stand there! Move forward and expect the best. Sometimes we allow inertia to set in, not trusting ourselves or the outcomes of our choices.
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. We all must make them and there is no fool proof method. Some decisions are simple. Others need a lot more time and thought. Even once we have decided, we will sometimes have to modify our plans as we move along. Further into the text, the four lepers decided it would not be right to have access to the food and booty while the rest of the people in the city suffered. That was not in the plan. They hadn’t planned beyond their own survival but were able to aid Samaria by making their way to king and letting him know of their good fortune. There are times in our planning when we must not only consider what is good for us, but also what is good for others. Only you can decide.
Happy Black History Month! Happy Love Day! See you soon.