Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Read: Genesis 23:1 – 24:51, Matthew 8:1-17, Psalm 9:13-20, Proverbs 3:1-6
Relate: 2064 years ago today the world drastically changed. Most likely it was a moment in history that came and passed by almost without notice. I’m personally of the opinion that the army simply camped there for the night and then struck out the next morning crossing the river, that was really little more than a creek, and continuing southward.
That’s what I think happened. But that is boring. History is never boring once the historians get their hands on it. That random moment along a minor river that today is in a completely different location (where it flows at all) has come to be known as the official start of the civil war that shaped the modern world. Let’s forget the fact that his rival had already thrown down the gauntlet, and that his supporters had already been chased out of the city, and that he had already been marching with his army to settle these affronts, and that we are talking about one of the most ambitious men to ever walk this earth. Let’s hear how a historian a few generations later marks the official beginning of the civil war that ended the republic and inaugurated the empire of Rome:
Coming up with his troops on the banks of the Rubicon, which was the frontier of his province, [Julius Caesar] halted for a while, and revolving in his mind the importance of the step he meditated, he turned to those about him, and said: ‘Still we can retreat! But once we pass this little bridge, nothing is left but to fight it out with arms!’
Even as he hesitated this incident occurred. A man of strikingly noble bearing and graceful aspect appeared nearby, and played on a flute. To hear him not only some shepherds, but also soldiers came flocking from their posts, among them some trumpeters. He snatched a trumpet from one of them and ran to the river with it; then sounding the advance with a piercing blast he crossed to the other side. At this Caesar cried out, ‘Let us go where the omens of the Gods and the crimes of our enemies summon us! THE DIE IS NOW CAST!’
React: True or not, it makes for a great story. It sounds like one Caesar himself would have told. He always did like to portray himself as the humble and hesitant servant thrust into greatness by the whims of chance and the will of the gods. I can also picture him there because I can picture myself there. I can so easily over think myself into a place of immobility. Go forward… stay back… if I do this… but if I don’t… what about… on the other hand… In the meantime life passes me by, the opportunity has moved on, and my indecision in and of itself becomes a decision. Always the wrong one.
99.9% of the time, leaning on my own understanding is going to point me in the direction of the safest choice. It will nudge me towards the easiest decision. Just as often, the road God is calling me towards, the Rubicon He is asking me to cross, is dangerous. It is risky. It is costly in far more than just a little money. Obedience demands my life. But if only we knew the way the world will change when we follow “the omens of the gods”, or rather, the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let’s do it. The die is cast. Let’s cross that river.
God, I ask for clarity and for courage. Give me the clarity to see the path You would lead me down. Give me the ability to know the difference between my own desires and rationalizations and Your leading. Help me to know with certainty not just where but how You would have me go. Then give me the courage to put one foot in front of the other to walk that road. I know it will not be easy. I know that it will not be safe. But You want to transform this world and help me walk out obedience in following You to accomplish it.