The Valley of Decision
Regardless of the circumstances that we may be facing we must not delay the demonstration of our resolve. Following Dunkirk the future looked very grim for Great Britain. Their navy had been effectively destroyed, the Royal Air Force was disabled and many British citizens were starving as the Nazis prepared to advance. All they had left was their resolve. While speaking at his old school, Winston Churchill said the current struggles provided an opportunity for greatness. He said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Resolve does not allow a crisis to persist.
Our resolve determines everything, especially in the middle of a crisis. In Joel 3:14, God revealed that momentous days were ahead; when a final decision would be rendered. The passage refers to a place called the “Valley of Decision.” It had been a place where opposing sides had met before (II Chronicles 20). In that setting, a massive enemy army had come against Judah. King Jehoshaphat admits that all they had to resist the enemy was their resolve (II Chron. 20:12). It is in the middle of the crisis, whether personal, national or international, that we need to see most clearly. The crisis will show us for what we really are and what we really value.
Resolve does not deny reality.
In many ways, the contemporary Christian church is facing its own Valley of Decision. The truth must not be compromised for any reason. The doctrine of God’s Word is vital to maintaining a clear identity for any ministry. Doctrine must not be confused with denominational creeds, which may serve a limited purpose, but should not be considered in the same category as doctrine; that is to say the truth.
We must reaffirm that which God has established. God calls us to add our lives to what He has already done (Luke 1:1-4). We must add our exclamation to God’s offered solution in the Bible. The Bible calls its readers to be enthused about the possibilities, probabilities and inevitabilities of what it promises (II Chron. 20:26-30). Every great accomplishment will be the triumph of enthusiasm. Confidence is just a manifestation of being enthusiastic.
Strategy, style, standards.
We can be enthused about Biblical strategy because there is no wasted motion in it. If we take to heart and mind the lessons offered we become more efficient and accomplished in expedited fashion (Isaiah 30:20). Through explanation, example and exhortation (guidance) God promises to help us closely follow His strategy (Isaiah 30:21). True confidence in that plan is essential to finding the resolve that may have been missing.
In a world of ever changing fashion and trends God offers to settle the issue of style. Those that choose to follow the example of Christ will fashion themselves after His style. Jesus’ style drew people to Him. The way He handled Himself matched perfectly with what He believed. “We never saw it on this fashion,” (Mark 2:12). He equips us for the challenges of life by covering us with the always fashionable robes of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
Our personal standards should be tough so that nothing but our best effort will do. In the Bible, God never leads His people to do anything less than their best intellectually, emotionally and physically (John 16:13). When we know what the hope of our calling is (Ephesians 1:8), we will not let our standards slip. We must stay motivated beyond mediocrity.
The Valley of Decision must be a place visited today. Literally, it is a valley of incision because it is a place of separation. It is a place that separates the resolved from the dissolved. There are two gatherings in the Valley of Decision: one for those that reaffirm and exclaim and one for those that have lost their resolve. It is a place of literal gathering in the near future, but the real battle is determined by the decision(s) made today.
Dr. M. Hildon Guy is the President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary in Eagle River. He serves as a board member for Love INC in Eagle River.