Circumstantial Awareness

I know, it sounds like a deep subject or modern-day jargon. Who goes around talking about circumstantial awareness, anyway? Yet, we’re always warning our kids to be aware of what’s going on around them in order to keep them safe from predators, so why can’t we think of it as adults?

I ask myself, am I aware of my circumstances, what’s going on around me, or do I just go through the day oblivious to everything that’s happening in my part of the universe? I admit, sometimes I put my head on the pillow at night and wonder what happened during the day. In those early days of grief I had an excuse for my awareness quotient. I was living in a fog, overwhelmed with the hurt brought on by my loss.

Now, however, I have no excuse.

Today’s Bible study at church was just another reminder of how God’s been speaking to me on this issue. I smiled as I listened to our teacher teach the lesson on Deborah, out of the fourth chapter of Judges. She was so excited and in awe of how God was in every part of that story, orchestrating events to bring victory to the Israelites, while using not just one, but two women, to bring it to pass.

While we talked about that most unusual fact in Old Testament history — the use of women in the story, my mind was drawn to the evidence of God’s work in circumstances, and Deborah’s willingness to be a part of his plan. Think about it, if you remember the story. If not, find a Bible and read Judges 4 and 5.

  • The Israelites were doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, but Deborah was faithful to do what was right.
  • Because of her steadfast faithfulness and ability to speak for God, the people came to her for help with their disputes.
  • When Barak didn’t answer the call from God to fight against King Jabin of Canaan, Deborah was not afraid to remind him of what God was saying and told him that God would bring the victory.
  • Barak still wouldn’t go to fight without her, so Deborah agreed to join him.
  • In the midst of all this, a Kenite, named Heber had moved away from his own people, pitching his tent in what would be a strategic spot for what was to come.
  • Though the Canaanites had 900 iron chariots, God sent rain to get them stuck, allowing the Israelites to defeat them in battle.
  • When the leader of the Canaanites fled, he thought he was going to a place of safety, but Jael, Heber the Kenite’s wife, killed Sisera in her tent.

This passage, like so many others in the Bible, is a great reminder that we serve a God of details, who works in the circumstances of our lives. There are two questions:

  • Do I see God’s hand at work in the world around me or do I despair when bad things happen, when I have to move, or when I’m faced with an enemy?
  • Am I willing to ask God what he’s asking of me in this situation?
    • Does he want me to step up and speak his truth into the life of another person?
    • Does he want me to pray for those involved in what’s going on — even when it’s across the ocean?
    • Does he want me to go into battle with another, to encourage them and remind them that the victory is the Lord’s?
    • Does he want to use me in a way I could not have possibly imagined, so he will get all the glory? (Think Jael…don’t think he wants us to kill someone, but I can imagine she shocked herself with her bravery).

As believers in Christ, we have a choice. We can go through this life, oblivious to what God’s doing and miss the joy of being a part of his amazing work in the lives of others. Or, we can ask the Holy Spirit to make us aware of our circumstances, watching for his hand in the thousands of little events and words that make up our day, and ask him to make us willing to be a part of His Story in our world today. That’s what history is after all.

Are you circumstantially aware or oblivious? Which sounds like the better position?

It’s your choice. Choose wisely.

Grace and Peace


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