15 March 2009

"...and [they] prospered and prevailed..."

Tim left with the three oldest kids today to preach out at one of the bush churches down by the Burkina Faso border. I’d planned to take the younger ones and head over to our church in Harobanda… but we don’t have a guard on Sundays and I couldn’t find the keys to lock up the courtyard… so we ended up staying at home. I decided to profit from this unexpected time to go back and look at, in more detail, something that l had read recently.

A few weeks back, I was studying the story of Deborah, found in Judges 4 & 5, preparing for a Bible. There was one part of that passage that really leapt right off the pages: at the end of chapter 4, in verses 23 and 24, we read:

“And so God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel and the hand of the children of Israel prospered and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.”

As I've meditated and mulled over that passage several times in the past few weeks, the following thoughts have crossed my mind:

  1. God does fight battles for us and He often subdues our enemies.
  2. A result of God’s victory on our behalf is that we are strengthened – and better able to fight that same enemy in the future. When God fights for us, we become stronger.
  3. Sometimes, however, we choose to fight battles on our own… … sometimes we may even win.
  4. Do those “wins” strengthen us so that we continue to prosper and prevail? … or does that type of victory actually weaken us (a friend asked that question), leading to future decline and failure?

I do believe we are in a battle (it has indeed felt that way in recent weeks), and we are called to be faithful soldiers. Today, however, I am prayerfully asking: “Are there spiritual battles that I’m now fighting where I’m striving for victory, relying on my own power, strength, endurance, wisdom and strategy… instead of allowing God to be my champion? And even if I would “win,” would I have accomplished anything other than weakening myself for subsequent combat?

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