What are destiny decisions?
Destiny decisions are those decisions we have made or we are yet to make which changed or will change our destinies. They are choices and decisions we make that take us to a different destiny, and most often we don’t even recognize how impactful that destiny decision was until we look back in retrospect.
No doubt you can think of some “destiny decisions” you’ve made in your life that, in retrospect, you see that they changed the destiny of your life. And no doubt you’d like to do some of those decisions over!
New beginnings has an appeal for us, does it not? Just the idea of starting all over again, making better choices, taking a different path, avoiding the mistakes we made, wiping out the past. It just sounds good.
Or maybe we’d just like something new and exciting in our lives. Something to liven things up and put a little “jazz” in our lives.
During the restless years of my life, when I was wandering far from God, I was always looking for something new to perk me up. My first choice was a man, but if no man was around, then some new clothes or a new adventure—go somewhere for fun. I changed jobs three times because I was restless and was looking for something new to make life more interesting, more exciting.
I remember that Saturday nights were particularly difficult for me. I never wanted to sit home on a Saturday night. I mean, if you were sitting home alone on a Saturday night, something must be wrong with you—that’s what I thought. So I always made plans for Saturday night, looking for something or someone who would fill my life with interest or excitement.
Sometimes people look for changes in their lives to get out of a bad situation. They’re in a job they don’t like, so they look for a new one. They’re married to a person who doesn’t suit them, so they have affairs or get divorced. How many people do you know who have made terrible decisions because they simply wanted to get out of a bad situation?
True, sometimes we need to get out of some situations we’re in, but if we move in haste or without God’s guidance, then we can make the wrong decision and choose the wrong road.
The Bible tells us of people who made poor destiny decisions. People like Eve and Esau, Sarah and Judas.
Case Study: Elimelech
There is another story in the Bible of a man who was looking for a change. His name was Elimelech, and he was a citizen of Bethlehem, somewhere between 1200 and 1300 B.C., in one of the most tumultuous times in Israel’s long, troubled history.
Ruth 1:1 – 2: In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
Elimelech made a destiny decision: He took his wife, Naomi, and their two sons, and moved from Israel to Moab, a neighboring nation. I’m sure he must have given it much thought and decided that a geographical change was exactly what they needed in order to survive. He had what would appear to be a good reason. There was a great famine in his land and he was having difficulty feeding his family.
It would seem a good plan to human logic. Yet when Elimelech left the borders of the Promised Land, he left the protection and provision God had promised to his people.
On Our Own Terms
What Elimelech did is one of those things we are all sometimes inclined to do under the stress of circumstances; we are tempted to step outside of God’s promise and seek solutions to our problems on our own terms. The Bible says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12). It looked right to Elimelech—going to this new place—but it brought him and his two sons actual death. They died there in Moab.
In our own lives, you and I may never face literal famines, but our “hungers” encompass more than food. We hunger in different ways. For example:
- We hunger for acceptance.
- We hunger for vocational fulfillment.
- We hunger for recognition and success.
- We hunger for sufficiency and adequacy.
- We hunger for love.
- We hunger for marriage and children.
- We hunger for financial stability and success.
And these hungers can lead us to make changes that simply make things worse. We try to satisfy these inner needs by going to some new place, or doing some new thing, or finding some new person, and it just doesn’t work. True, sometimes God’s plan for our lives takes us to a new place, but when we are frantically trying to fulfill our dreams and desires by our own manipulative means, we’re making things worse.
We set ourselves up for great disappointment and defeat because we expect to find our needs met by some new circumstance or some new person, asking of them what they can never deliver. Only the Lord can bring about true change and genuine fulfillment, and he does it from the inside out.
Nevertheless. . . there is an Elimelech alive in all of us; looking for a new time and a new place, on our own terms. You’ve heard it said in words like these:
“My spouse isn’t fulfilling my emotional needs, so I deserve–no, need!–those secret fantasies, that pornography or that adulterous affair.”
“It’s obvious I’m not going to find a Christian man to marry. Look how long I’ve waited. So, I’m going to take whatever looks good to me. It’ll work out in time!”
“I’ll never get ahead in this job by living by the rules. Nobody else does. If I have to cut a few corners to climb the ladder, so be it.”
“I know this movie contains a lot of explicit sex and illicit relationships. But hey, this is life the way it is now; you can’t watch a movie that doesn’t. And besides, I need a little excitement in my life, even if it’s vicarious.”
“I deserve some new clothes, a new car, a better place to live. I’ll pay these debts off somehow, some time.”
We sell ourselves on our need to make things happen—and many times we are living in self-deceptions. I mean, we really believe we have to take control and make things happen in our lives—so we move to our Moab to avoid the famine in our lives.
We all have free choice to make these kinds of decisions, but we can’t choose the consequences that result. Elimelech paid an incredibly high price for trying to solve his problem in his way.
Ruth 1:3-5: Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
Elimelech chased a rainbow and lost an inheritance. He took his family with him, and they lost everything too—including him. He had left the boundaries of God’s Promised Land and protection and found death. The passing of these men was not an act of an angry God, but simply a commentary on what happens outside the boundaries of God’s plan.
Jesus, who calls us into life, calls us within specific boundaries. He may have a new time and a new place for us, but only on his terms, not ours. When we step outside the boundaries of his covenant, of his terms as given in his word, we will suffer the consequences and fail to find what we are so desperately looking for.