WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!
To me, there are some real head-scratchers in the Bible – those “what WERE you thinking?” moments that God does not really explain for us.
Take Lot for example. He had an angry crowd outside is door, demanding he turn over the strangers he was hosting. “No can do,” says Lot, “but, hey, I’ve got two virgin daughters you can have, if you want, instead.” What WAS he thinking?
Tamar is another example. Rightfully, upset with Judah for not marrying his youngest son to her, she decides to disguise herself as a prostitute, tempt her father-in-law into having sex with her, hopefully get pregnant and then pray she can expose him as the father before he has her stoned for playing the harlot. What WERE you thinking, Tamar?
I wonder why Xerxes demanded that Vashti come over to his party. Maybe it was the liquor talking. I also wonder why Vashti didn’t go. What was going on in this seeming power struggle? We see God’s hand in saving His people through the book of Esther, but don’t you just want to get into their heads and hear what is going on in there to justify their behavior?
The Bible simply does not reveal what was going on in the minds of these folks that led them to these decisions.
But the strangest, most seemly inexplicable line of thinking (to a natural human mind) was God sending His only Son to die in my place. And then there is Jesus being willing to do it. That also doesn’t make sense for any human line of reasoning. I certainly am grateful for it, but I could never say it is logical to the human mind.
God tells us in Isaiah 58:8 that His thoughts are not our thoughts. His thoughts are so much more pure and love-fill than we, at least with our own human minds could possibly conjure up. It is like He is always thinking, “I love you so much.” In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Because His thoughts toward us are so loving, He crafted a plan for peace and eternity for us.
Thoughts are powerful things. Proverbs 23:6-7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Our thoughts drive our words and actions. Therefore, it is important that we train our brains to follow God’s own line of thinking.
It seems to me that Jesus quite regularly asked His disciples “what do you think?” See Matthew 17:25; 18:12; 21:8 and 22:42. When they got it right, He praised them. When they got it wrong, He helped them to understand what they should be thinking. In light of the fact that Jesus was aware of what people around Him were thinking, (see Matthew 9:4) it is interesting that He asked them to verbalize their thoughts, instead of just saying, “I know you think this.” It created teachable moments and an opportunity for them to train their thoughts to follow the right mental path.
In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells us what to think about. By focusing on things that are pure and good and lovely, we can retrain our minds. With determined mental focus and the help of the Holy Spirit in us, I believe we can have more of God’s thoughts than our own human, natural thoughts chugging around in our brains.
All this reminds me of a song we used to sing in Vacation Bible School, “Oh be careful little mind what you think. Oh be careful little mind what you think. For the Father up above is looking down in love. So, be careful little mind what you think.”
I would not naturally think God’s thoughts, or think godly thoughts, but with careful attention to what I’m allowing to rumble around in my brain, I can train my thoughts to be more in line with His.
Knowing God from time spent with Him, even if we cannot fully understand why He chooses to act or not act, how He intervenes or doesn’t, we can know that if we said to Him “Father, what were you thinking?” He would respond, “I was thinking ‘I love you’ and ‘I want you with Me for all eternity.’”
As always, be even more considering my subject this week, I’d love to hear your thoughts too. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org