Friday, May 30, 2008

No Guarantee of Success

Into the Unknown: Part 5

It was a bleak time in the history of Israel. God had finally given them the king that they longed to have, but their country was still occupied by a foreign power. The Philistines ruled the land and the and the troops and the equipment to enforce their rule.

King Saul, facing overwhelming odds, took his two swords and six hundred soldiers and hid. He was waiting for a better time, for God to open up a door. While Saul hid his son Jonathan acted. Taking one sword and his armor bearer Jonathan decides to engage the enemy. This is what Jonathan tells the young man following him:
6 Jonathan said to his armor bearer, "Come on, let's go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will intervene for us. Nothing can prevent the LORD from delivering, whether by many or by a few." (1 Samuel 14:6; NET)

Here is the fourth parallel I want to draw. God has not guaranteed success. It is quite possible that God will not come through for you. Your son who has walked away from Jesus may never return even with all your love and prayers. Your wife may go through with the divorce in spite all of your efforts to heal your marriage. Your church may continue to decline even with all of your hard work. So what is our response to this reality? To move forward and hope that God shows up to work on our behalf. God has given us no guarantee that if we live by faith things will turn out the way we want them to. I don’t know what God will do in you situation.

This is what I do know: unless we move forward in faith nothing will change, we will continue to decline. Only by moving forward in faith do we give God the chance to show up and work through our lives. There is no reason why we should expect God to work in our lives if we are not living by faith.

When the Philistines occupied Israel it seemed to be a hopeless situation. Men deserted the army to hid in holes, wells, and caves. The king took what men were left and hid waiting for the right plan that would guarantee success. Only one man in Israel looked at the vast Philistine army and had hope: Jonathan. Only Jonathan had enough trust in God to give him hope of an Israelite victory.

Sooner or later in our lives we will face a hopeless situation. People on the outside might think that we are done and that our faith is toast, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Remember God loves to come through when things are the bleakest. While there is no guarantee that God will do what we want Him to do, there is reason to believe that God will do what needs to be done. This is what I want you to remember this series of ponderings: When we trust God there is always hope!

The future is unknown to us. We don’t know what God has planned for our lives, for our families, or for our churches. We don’t know how He will use us to make a difference in our communities, schools, and church families. What we do know is that God always uses people who live by faith. Regardless of the situation we might find ourselves in we can be certain that God will use us in some way.

By living a life modeled after the actions of Jonathan, rather than Saul, we give God the opportunity to show up and make in difference in and through us. Will we live like Jonathan?

  • Point to Ponder: When we trust God there is always hope!
  • Passage to Remember: 1 Samuel 14:6
  • Question to Consider: Will we live like Jonathan?

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