The whole idea with pivotal decisions is that the important decisions are not the big ones but the most impactful ones. Now let’s pivot.
Do you have an important decision to make? What are you going to do? Are you going to list the pros and cons? Are you going to flip a coin? Are you going to ask for a lot of opinions until you find someone who tells you what you want to hear?
A bet the last one is something that we all have done. Actually, I’ve decided to stop giving advice because most of the times the people who ask for advice are just wasting my time.
I just give advice to someone who’s already doing something about it and who has the character to do what is needed.
As Jesus followers, we need God in order to make our decisions but also to discern which decisions are important and which ones are not because most of the times the important decisions are the little ones.
In this message, we are going to focus on the most important decision we can make which is to pivot.
For example, how we start our day is very important since it defines the direction of our whole day. That’s the idea behind pivotal decisions.
Our study about this simple but impactful decision is going to be based in a story that most of us ignore in the Scripture and it’s found in Judges.
The context of the story is that the people of God were going through a transition process where they didn’t have a king and they didn’t want God as their king.
The birth of a Nazirite
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.’ ” Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”Judges 13:1-8 NIV
I’m not sure what was in Manoah’s mind but I think that the information he got from his wife wasn’t enough especially when that man was talking about having a son that will deliver them from the Philistines.
Think about the scene. A strange man comes to your wife and says that she will get pregnant. That scene by itself is strange and infuriating if you are jealous.
This issue of information scarcity is what leads us to talk about the plan of God.
We may know that God wants to use us but it’s not enough information because we want to know how that’s going to happen.
In our world, a goal without a plan is just a wish. At least, that’s what we are told as entrepreneurs.
Therefore, the Manoah situation is very relatable and the next verse is very comforting because we get to see a God who listens.
God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field, but her husband Manoah was not with her.Judges 13:9 NIV
Through Christ, we know that God also listens to our prayers and that He’s always looking after us.
There’s also something very poetic about this which is that God knows our voice and He hears even our nonspoken words.
Another thing we learn from this verse is that even though God listen to us, He will not act the way we expect him to act.
It’s something obvious when you realize that God knows much more about us and about our situations than ourselves. Yet we continue to expect a god who does the things the way we want.
The great question to finish this idea is: Do you trust God?
The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!” Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?” “I am,” he said. So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?” The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her.Judges 13:10-13 NIV
When Manoah asked the man of God about his son is when the man of God pivots from Manoah to his wife. In other words, the man of God pivots from what Manoah wants to know, to what he needs to know.
If God isn’t telling you the plan is because knowing can destroy the whole plan. God will just reveal what you need to know now and no more.
By this verse, we are going to start analyzing the idea of pivoting which is the heart of this message.
In our life will happen the same thing as in the story where God pivots from what we want to know, to what we need to know. And we need to be fast to follow God when He pivots.
Besides, God is spirit so we shouldn’t try to understand by strategy or logic, we can only understand him by the spirit. That means to be open-handed and open-minded for his pivots.
The funny thing about pivoting is that it is a small movement that has a big impact because it defines the direction.
Manoah also tried to classify God as we usually try to do and it didn’t work. Hence, he didn’t realize that the man he was talking with was an angel of God.
Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.” The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.) Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?” He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.”Judges 13:15-18 NIV
Here comes our pivot. When we encounter God we also encounter these three words “beyond our understanding”.
We keep trying to make sense out of God as a 98 Mac trying to run the Mojave operating system. It’s just not possible. Our capabilities are obsolete and insufficient. Wildly insufficient compared to God.
Therefore, it’s just dumb when we try to understand God through logic. He governs beyond logic.
God works outside of any law we can think of and He controls it all. That’s the idea behind what happens next.
Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.Judges 13:19-20 NIV
Told you that we cannot explain the works of God, even when we may think of a way that it could be possible through the law of physics, it remains a miracle because even if it is possible it doesn’t mean that it is easy or common.
We may think of the theory of strings to explain it and yet not understand why it happened that way. There are so many variables of uncertainty that shows our limitations of understanding.
Science is built in the foundation of faith.
Now we are going to read in the story what reaction Manoah and his wife had.
When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!” But his wife answered, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.” The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him,Judges 13:21-24 NIV
Before we continue with the final verse of this chapter you need to know that Samson had a destiny planned before him but having a destiny doesn’t mean that your future is fixed.
Destiny is like a promise from God but yet you have the power and authority to make the decisions that you want. That’s what Samson did as we all know.
and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.Judges 13:25 NIV
Up until now, everything had been great for Samson but the things will change when Samson decides to pivot and that pivot is not far away, it happens in the next verse.
Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman.Judges 14:1 NIV
Oh, Samson. The destiny of Samson was to defeat the Philistines but now he desires one. Samson is starting to love what God called him to destroy.
His next step is to tell this to their parents.
When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.” His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)Judges 14:2-4 NIV
This last verse is amazing and I want to talk about it deeper.
Samson is making a very stupid decision yet God will still fulfill his destiny one way or another.
I mean, you can do whatever you want and yet God will fulfill his promise. The difference is where you will stand because there will be two ways to get to your destiny. One is like a king or the other one is like a beast.
Sadly, Samson chooses to fulfill his destiny in the worst way possible.
The good news is that even though we might make dumb decisions, God still will use us. The promise will remain and even those dumb decisions will serve a purpose because God can bring out the good from any bad decision we make.
That’s the beauty of this last verse in parenthesis which is a commentary from the prophet Samuel who wrote the book of Judges.
This also shows us that not everything good comes from the Lord, there are hard times that come from the Lord because there’s a purpose with all of that.
It’s easier to confront the hard times when we realize that God has a purpose with all of it but we need to trust him.
This is the pivot that we must make. I mean, to pivot from the uncertainty to God. Pivot from the hard times to God. That simple change of direction and focus will help you overcome whatever life has ahead of you.
When we pivot up to God is when we remember that there’s a purpose for all of this.
Instead of telling God what is best for us and instead of doing what seems right in our own eyes, we must pivot to the purpose of God.
God can and He will use the weirdest things about us. He made us this way because there’s a purpose for that. Every single detail exists not in vain. There’s a purpose for everything.
Pivot to pray
Father, I know you didn’t cause what only my bad decisions produced but now I also know that even though it’s my fault, you will bring out the best of it to give it a purpose that will be useful for my life and destiny. Holy Spirit, set this reminder in my heart to always pivot back to God so I don’t lose track of my path. Thank you, Jesus, for making all this possible to me, I believe in you and I will keep following you. Amen.
I want to clarify something very important because I’ve seen that some people may get confused. Most of the teachings I share are based on the teachings from Elevation Church which are mostly from pastor Steven Furtick.
This is not a copy-and-paste article but a study article where I try to sum up 50 minutes of teaching and to add all I have found during 8 hours a week of study, reading the original Greek/Hebrew Bible references and by studying each affirmation and claim.
I also translate it to Spanish so more people can benefit from this teaching and the only way I get money for this is by Adsense and the small books I publish at only $2.99.
Per teaching, I earn less than $0.01 dollar when I invest 24 hours a week (3 days full time each week) to publish just one teaching. So, it’s not about making money or trying to rip off pastor Steven. It’s about sharing God’s message to more people.
Actually, it all started because my mom doesn’t understand English so I translated everything for her. Then I thought, maybe more people could find this useful so I started this.
Elevation is my church and my family.
Now that I’ve said all of that you should know that this post was sponsored by Ulysses and not by money but by letting me use their writing app which I love. I wrote this whole post from my phone using their app and you can get it too from the App Store. It’s available for [iOS] and for [Mac OS].
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